Lightroom: Time for me to move on?

Quirkz

EOS RP
CR Pro
Oct 30, 2014
289
204
I've been a long term supporter of lightroom, especially the subscription model. However, I feel that what the doomsayers predicted has come to pass: Without the need to sell upgrades, there is no pressure to improve, and the product is just stagnating. It's slow, it's sluggish, and new features are few and far between.

It's making me cranky, and out of principle I want to say "This isn't good enough" and cancel my subscription (And give the reason why during the cancellation.)

Am I wrong about this?

Are there other library/editors that people use and find to be a good enough replacement that it's worth the effort of switching and learning a new platform?

thanks!
 

HenryL

EOS R3, R5
CR Pro
Apr 1, 2020
319
803
I had held off on the Adobe subscription until last year. I was then using a 7DII and 5DIV and Lightroom 6 perpetual license. No Photoshop - had Affinity Photo for those times I needed more than Lightroom could handle. I had tried ON1 Photo Raw since it's inception as it looked very promising, but gave up after years of buggy software and being told this or that would probably be fixed in the next version. While technically not a subscription, the net result is comparable. Played with the various other converters/editors over the years

Last year, with the purchase of the R5 which will never be supported in LR6, I started experimenting with Capture One and DXO Photolab and found both extremely capable raw converters and basic editors. I don't think either is as intuitive as Lightroom, but I'd been using that since v1.0 so I forced myself to give them both time. I tend to prefer output from Capture One in most cases, but Photolab does have better noise reduction tools.

That said, I have yet to find any library/catalog/DAM tool that comes close to Lightroom, so I got a one year subscription and updated. I found it a big improvement from v6, up to and including the current updates. I've been using it more for editing as well, and last month finally broke down and installed Photoshop for the first time in years. As I get more comfortable with Capture One, I may not renew my Adobe subscription, but even then I will continue to use Lightroom for it's catalog features.

So...if you are just looking for raw converter/editing alternatives, I can recommend Capture One (when you can find it on sale for 30% off) or DXO PhotoLab (also frequently on sale for 20-30%). You can continue to use Lightroom for cataloging your photos when you cancel your subscription, only the map and develop modules become inoperable. Also when you try other tools, make sure you give them sufficient time to really work with them and get familiar - they are similar but also very different from Lightroom so that first couple of days into a trial may be frustrating. Good luck, hope you find a tool/tools that suit your needs.

-H
 
  • Like
Reactions: snappy604 and zim

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,715
1,687
LR is slow for me to startup, after that, its much faster than other editors I've tried, and I don't have to deal with tens of thousands of sidecar files. My database is backed up daily and I keep multiple backups.

I'm curious as always about finding something better which includes a DAM and doesn't take forever to render a jpg image from a raw, and does not use sidecars. ACDsee is one that uses a database, but its very slow and not nearly as capable. I use it for simple jpeg's from my phone.
 

snappy604

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 25, 2017
588
480
I also avoided the subscription model from LR and when I took it for the rather short free trial it tried to charge me.. I'd cancelled but they claim it didn't take.. took 2 tried and a lot of angry email. I also found it didn't seem much improved over the perpetual version other than supporting new cameras

I have been using On1 since 2017 and fully get Henry's comments.. it is still maturing, think it's almost there, but it has been like a subscription... and it took some learning to ignore their camera profiles and do the RAW profile and build some presets for Canon... theirs are just garbage. I more or less can use it now and some of it's features are good, but the noise control and some of the ways it is inconstant with color bugs me.

tried DXO... found it... slow and not particularly better than anything.. it was ok.

Capture 1 I liked.. though has its quirks, but holy cow expensive. Perpetual license with only 1 yr of updates would be over $400 CAD for Canon bodies. Subscription is about triple Adobe's.. and worried about same 'want new features' type of high pressure sales that we see with on1 for perpetual. However it is snappy and its default colors and editing is much closer to what I want than the others .

Still sticking with On1.. I now more or less have it working and use topaz denoise on occasions noise is an issue... b ut have more or less tamed most of the color profile issues with canon raw (trick is using hte LUTs from canon and using hte raw profile)... wish they'd made more effort to match the cameras color profiles though, it's annoying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chris.Chapterten

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,522
5,774
I think you are mistaken, the number of regular upgrades and tweaks is astounding, the trouble is if you don’t educate yourself on each update it is too easy to miss all the improvements. I have long used LR basically as an overblown DAM with some cute and interesting side features. However I have recently been doing a few LR tutorials for some people and I am blown away at the increased functionality and ease of use in each module, but particularly the Develop module.

The grad filter with luminosity or color masking and brush touch ups is a fantastic tool and well implemented. The coming soon ‘Enhance’ feature is very good too, it might not quite match the level of some dedicated plugins but I have found it to be very effective on some of my images. But the list of upgrades and improvements goes on and on.

I recently saw a Capture One vs LR vs PS demo, there was nothing that was done to the image in C1 or PS that LR couldn’t do, and the end result from each could be tuned to effectively be indistinguishable from each other.

What is absolutely key to efficient running of LR is optimization. If you haven’t optimized your settings it will run like crap, but sort out your caches, your library, and your actual image files and I know of few who have reason to complain even when using comparatively modest computers.
 

snappy604

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 25, 2017
588
480
I think you are mistaken, the number of regular upgrades and tweaks is astounding, the trouble is if you don’t educate yourself on each update it is too easy to miss all the improvements. I have long used LR basically as an overblown DAM with some cute and interesting side features. However I have recently been doing a few LR tutorials for some people and I am blown away at the increased functionality and ease of use in each module, but particularly the Develop module.

The grade filter with luminosity or color masking and brush touch ups is a fantastic tool and well implemented. The coming soon ‘Enhance’ feature is very good too, it might not unite match the level of some dedicated plugins but I have found it to be very effective on some of my images. But the list of upgrades and improvements goes on and on.

I recently saw a Capture One vs LR vs PS demo, there was nothing that was done to the image in C1 or PS that LR couldn’t do, and the end result from each could be tuned to effectively be indistinguishable from each other.

What is absolutely key to efficient running of LR is optimization. If you haven’t optimized your settings it will run like crap, but sort out your caches, your library, and your actual image files and I know of few who have reason to complain even when using comparatively modest computers.
you could be right, 7 day trial didn't give me much time to look beyond the obvious.

many of the features you're indicating are also avail in On1 and have been for a while (luminosity masks, layers, gradiants etc).. while I get annoyed with their color profiles, there are some neat thing there and 30 day free trial vs 7 day
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,522
5,774
you could be right, 7 day trial didn't give me much time to look beyond the obvious.

many of the features you're indicating are also avail in On1 and have been for a while (luminosity masks, layers, gradiants etc).. while I get annoyed with their color profiles, there are some neat thing there and 30 day free trial vs 7 day
My point really was there are raw/DAM workflow options but they all work in the same marketplace and none is head and shoulders above the other, one program does one thing slightly better than another but something else slightly worse.

To say LR isn’t getting regular improvements is incorrect, it gets improvements all the time, the problem is keeping track of them all!

Bottom line for me, nothing touches PS for some of my work and I’m happy to pay $7.50 a month for that and get free LR, sure LR might not be best at everything, but it isn’t dramatically behind in anything, and the mobile integration is very cool.
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,522
5,774
I'm paying US$10 a month. How did you get it for $7.50?
At least once a year it comes up on special offer for $89 or $94 for 12 months, the deals are normally advertised here on CR. Even if you pay monthly if you buy the deal your monthly payment is suspended for a year.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,715
1,687
My point really was there are raw/DAM workflow options but they all work in the same marketplace and none is head and shoulders above the other, one program does one thing slightly better than another but something else slightly worse.

To say LR isn’t getting regular improvements is incorrect, it gets improvements all the time, the problem is keeping track of them all!

Bottom line for me, nothing touches PS for some of my work and I’m happy to pay $7.50 a month for that and get free LR, sure LR might not be best at everything, but it isn’t dramatically behind in anything, and the mobile integration is very cool.
Yes, I subscribe to a manual by Victoria Brampton aka The Lightroom Queen. Each time a update is released she has a in depth description of the changes, and of any bugs found / workarounds. There are a continual stream of changes and additions. The very recent one was to speed up response. I find that having a summary like that released at the same time the update comes out is worth the few bucks a year.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,715
1,687
Yes, I subscribe to a manual by Victoria Brampton aka The Lightroom Queen. Each time a update is released she has a in depth description of the changes, and of any bugs found / workarounds. There are a continual stream of changes and additions. The very recent one was to speed up response. I find that having a summary like that released at the same time the update comes out is worth the few bucks a year.
She used to pop in to CR to leave a comment, but I haven't seen one recently.
 
Sep 6, 2020
1
1
I'm on Linux so I can't use Lightroom (nor any other Adobe software.) Free Opensource software options are Raw Therapee or Darktable.
Of these two I find Darktable to be more to my liking. It seems quite complicated at first but there are online tutorials that make it much easier to understand and use. Especially Bruce Williams tutorials on Youtube. They are excellent and very complete. Darktable and Gimp may not perfectly replace Lightroom and Photoshop but for free Opensource software they come close enough for my needs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SteveC

stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
2,178
886
Davidson, NC
I've been a long term supporter of lightroom, especially the subscription model. However, I feel that what the doomsayers predicted has come to pass: Without the need to sell upgrades, there is no pressure to improve, and the product is just stagnating. It's slow, it's sluggish, and new features are few and far between.

It's making me cranky, and out of principle I want to say "This isn't good enough" and cancel my subscription (And give the reason why during the cancellation.)

Am I wrong about this?

Are there other library/editors that people use and find to be a good enough replacement that it's worth the effort of switching and learning a new platform?

thanks!
I don’t use LR Classic a lot. (I’m more used to PS.) But when I have used it, I have not noticed anything slow about it on my 6-year-old Mac.
 

Quirkz

EOS RP
CR Pro
Oct 30, 2014
289
204
ok folks, thanks for all the great responses here, and if I were to summarise, I'm hearing two things:
1. I'm being too hard on LR, and it IS getting significant new features, just not the fix I've been holding out for years for (the general sluggishness :) )
2. There's nothing else out there that is significantly better.

With that in mind, I'll stick with my subscription for another year, and reassess the landscape then.

Again, thanks for all your help
 

stevelee

FT-QL
CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
2,178
886
Davidson, NC
ok folks, thanks for all the great responses here, and if I were to summarise, I'm hearing two things:
1. I'm being too hard on LR, and it IS getting significant new features, just not the fix I've been holding out for years for (the general sluggishness :) )
2. There's nothing else out there that is significantly better.

With that in mind, I'll stick with my subscription for another year, and reassess the landscape then.

Again, thanks for all your help
Not knowing anything about your computer equipment, I was still trying to figure out what was slowing you down. I have four external hard drives boxed together. One has files from a previous computer. One is used for backups. One is mostly for archiving more recent files that don’t need to be cluttering up the internal SSD. They sleep most of the time, but sometimes the OS just needs to wake everything, and sometimes I do save files to one of them. So my computer does occasionally head to Never Never Land for several seconds. That is not unexpected, so I don’t perceive it as a slowdown for the software.

If your using spinning drives instead of an SSD, that will slow down a lot of things. If you are short on RAM, then big things get offloaded to disk, and if the disk is not solid state, that could seem long and slow by modern standards. I know Photoshop uses a lot of scratch disk space, so I wouldn’t be surprised if LR does that, too.

None of that may have anything to do with your problem, but I mention things you might want to check on.
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,522
5,774
ok folks, thanks for all the great responses here, and if I were to summarise, I'm hearing two things:
1. I'm being too hard on LR, and it IS getting significant new features, just not the fix I've been holding out for years for (the general sluggishness :) )
2. There's nothing else out there that is significantly better.

With that in mind, I'll stick with my subscription for another year, and reassess the landscape then.

Again, thanks for all your help
I’d agree with you on 1 in that I think you are being a bit hard as there are regular releases of good improvements.

As for 2 it really depends on what you mainly do with it. If you mainly use LR as a RAW converter and comparatively modest post processing tool then Capture One is easily ‘better’. If you use LR as a high volume DAM to ingest and cull thousands of shots per event then Photo mechanic is much ‘better’. But as a general do all photographers tool I think LR (combined with free PS and Bridge) is the optimal compromise for most users.

But the really important take away for happy LR use is to optimize your setup! Take some time to go through the setup options and your disc use and space, previews, smart previews etc etc. Those settings can make a massive Difference to your user experience.
 

cayenne

EOS R6
CR Pro
Mar 28, 2012
2,654
596
I'd been happy with ON1 RAW for a number of years, but I did a trial of Capture 1 and I really liked it.
I've almost completely been using Capture one now....the more I get to learn it, the more I like how fine the control is on things....yes, it has its quirks, but I find the tools and capabilities far outweigh those.

I like that it works VERY well in tethered shooting too with so many cameras.

I refused to go down the *rental* mode of software. With C1, yes, it was a bit $$ initial purchase.
This time around, I did not see any of the updates to be worth my spending any money for an upgrade.

However, we'll see what they offer next year....that's the nice thing about perpetual license, it gives you a choice.

And here's the thing about C! and now even ON1 RAW....they both offer you a choice of buying a perpetual license OR doing the rental subscription thing.

If Adobe would offer the choice, I might be tempted back by some of their tools.

Or I might not.

I have to say the more I've learned Affinity Photo over the past years, the less I miss Photoshop.

So far the Affinity tools during the pandemic have been like $50 each...I"ve been dabbling with Affinity Designer and Publisher each...and wow.

So far with Affinity Photo...free updates for all the years since I bought it first, which I think was like maybe 6-7 years ago? Amazing stuff.

Anyway, I digress.....I am happy that since Adobe went rental only, that real competitive products have appears on the market.
And several of those products offer a choice of rental or purchase.

I'd not be so anti-Adobe these days if they offered the same choice.

But over all it presents a great choice...is that not that long back, for professional tools, Adobe really was the only game in town.

Now, that is not the case....for pretty much every Adobe offering, there is at least 1 or more serious competitive alternate offerings, like the Affinity Tools, Davinci Resolve (and its included sound and motion graphics tools ), and OS X only tools.

It's a good time to be a creative.

Just my $0.02,

cayenne
 

Quirkz

EOS RP
CR Pro
Oct 30, 2014
289
204
Well, I just saw that the march update of lightroom classic has a bunch of performance fixes, according to the release notes, and loaded it up, and... huh. I'd become pretty jaded over time when adobe claimed performance improvements, but this time I can actually see it. Much better browsing through previews in the library module.

Feels less sluggish overall.

I'm pretty pleased.
 

Quirkz

EOS RP
CR Pro
Oct 30, 2014
289
204
I was sure that they had stopped caring about classic, but this shows otherwise. You don't bother with performance improvements for a product you're dead-ending.