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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Lightroom CC Review

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Lightroom CC Review  - Adobe has updated the desktop and mobile versions of Lightroom so, of course, we had to put it to the test.

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Adobe Lightroom Classic CC / Photoshop Lightroom 6 in Lightroom

Lightroom Classic CC /  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 7
 

You can almost set your watch by Adobe's Lightroom update and here we are, two years later since the release of Lightroom 6 (we know Lightroom CC has had a few updates in between but we're talking about the desktop-only version), and we have a brand-new version waiting to be installed. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Mobile (CC) Features 

As well as performance updates and tool enhancements, Adobe has changed the name of its popular desktop application so instead of having a number '7' after its name, you'll now know it as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC. The name change just groups the Mac and Windows version under one umbrella with the cloud version of the software which is known as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. For those who prefer to save things locally don't worry; the name change doesn't mean you suddenly have to use the cloud, like you do with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC, you can still create folders and manage things on your own computer. 

There are a few tools available in the Classic version that the mobile app doesn't have, something we'll be talking about further into the review.

An important note for those using Lightroom 6, new camera support for this will stop at the end of the year and from now on, Lightroom won't be available with the old-style 'perpetual licence' where you made a one-off payment and away you went. 

For those who haven't used Lightroom before, it's an image cataloguing programme that you can also use to make photo edits. It's also designed to be used alongside software that's specifically designed for photo editing such as Photoshop (hence why they're packaged together under the photography plan) so if you find you can't edit an image how you want to in Lightroom, you can move it into software that's designed to handle more complicated edits. 

You start by importing your photos into the Lightroom library which you can then sort, edit and export. We actually have an introduction to the Lightroom workspace and a guide on importing photos which will explain things in more detail if you've not used the software before. 

We've briefly mentioned the mobile version of Lightroom which is available on both Android and iOS and even though this version lacks some of the tools found in 'Classic' and 'CC', they're still really nifty apps for editing on the go. Plus, everything is connected via the Cloud (what isn't nowadays) so your work is available across all devices but you can also work offline should you be in a location without WiFi. 

 


 

 

So What's New?

In the Classic version, photographers will be happy to hear that Adobe had worked on the speed at which the software reacts, there's a new colour and luminance range mask available so you can apply masks to more specific areas and noise reduction has been improved when using an auto mask. 

As for Lightroom CC, the editing panel has been reorganised, preset usability has been improved, there is a new search function (iOS) and the most interesting update is that you can open and edit RAW (DNG) files. There's also a HDR function that captures three DNG files to create one, well-balanced DNG RAW file. Other updates include the introduction of keyword support and hierarchical album support while those who use iOS will see support for iOS 11 files and a better layout on the iPad. Tablet support is also now available for Android users. 

We'll be taking a closer look at the new features in the performance section of the review. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Mobile (CC) Performance 

 

Desktop Editing

Adobe has worked hard to quicken Lightroom up as its speed, or lack thereof, was a big bugbear for photographers. Adobe says it's now quicker to get into the software and load previews and in use, we have to agree that it is. Scrolling is smooth and responsive and so are editing tools. Moving from the Library to Development tab is an action Lightroom users do a lot and as a result, Adobe wanted to quicken this action even further and after going back-and-forth, opening different images, and we didn't experience any lag. The way you can review images after import has also been improved so you can begin working on your photos faster, too. 

The major tool update comes in the form of a new colour and luminance range mask which makes it easier to apply masks to specific areas. You couldn't do this before in Lightroom and it opens up the opportunity to select specific parts of your image based on colours and tonal range. It basically makes it quicker to make very specific adjustments to contrast levels or colours. How it works is you use the adjustment brush or radial/gradual filters to draw a rough mask then you use the new range masking options, found at the bottom of the local adjustment panel, to refine your selection. 

It's something you've been able to do in Photoshop for a while so to have it in Lightroom perhaps suggest Adobe wants Lightroom's editing tools to be even more powerful. The tools you use to apply these are really easy to use and familiar, too, as they're just a slider and an eyedropper tool. 

 

 

A tool used a lot is the Adjustment Brush and even though we've never really had a problem with lag or its responsiveness, Adobe says they have improved the way it reacts to the user which we're sure no one will complain about. 

Back in the Library module, you can filter the images you see in the import dialogue box by file type which comes in handy when you've been capturing RAW files as well as JPEGs and you just want to sort/edit your RAW files and two more criteria have been added to Smart Collections.

Other general fixes, as well as performance tweaks, have also been made to make the software, as a whole, generally feel more fluid, too. 

 

Mobile & Cloud-Based Editing

Lightroom Classic CC /  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 7

The upgrades that have been made to the mobile versions of Lightroom come partly because more people are using smartphones now to capture photographs so Adobe wanted to make it easier to go from capture to edit. You can open the app, take a photo and begin editing or you can open the app, pick an image from your photo roll and start editing that way. 

If you've used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC before, you may notice the editing panel has had a rejig and Adobe used the term 'intention based' when describing the changes. Basically, they just wanted to make it more intuitive. 

You can dive right into manual edits but actually, the presets are a good place to start, even more so if photo editing isn't something you do regularly. There are plenty on offer and you can copy across presets from the current version of Lightroom you're using, too. A nice touch with the presets is that the light, colour etc. sliders respond to the changes so you can learn what adjustments are made to create a specific effect. On the desktop version of Lightroom CC, you can also hover over presets to bring up a preview of them on your image and you can also hover over an adjustment name to learn more about what it is, how it works and what it does. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

 

A cool new function for search is the ability to use Adobe Sensei which automatically applies tags to your images without you having to apply keywords.  For example, you can search for the term 'cat' and find photos of cats in Lightroom CC without having to manually assign the keyword 'cat' to any photos as the app searches images based on what's in the image rather than with what words are assigned to them.  

As mentioned previously, you can edit DNG files which is a major plus point and DNG files can also be combined to create HDR images. Advanced tools such as dehaze and fix perspective as well as the ability to remove unwanted objects are still available, too. 

You also get 1TB of cloud storage with the Lightroom CC plan so you can backup and access your images from anywhere that has an internet connection. You can also create and manage an online gallery as integration with Adobe portfolio has been improved.  

If you decide you don't like the CC version, you can switch back to Classic and all the work you have in Lightroom CC will automatically sync back. Although, this doesn't include keywords. 

As for the mobile version, there are some limitations to using it, such as the smaller screen and the new colour and luminance range mask isn't available but overall, it's a decent enough for when you're on-the-go. Those with Android devices will also be happy to hear that they now get an adjustments brush, a tool that's incredibly useful. 

 

Value for Money

For a while now, rather than accepting a one-off payment for a license, Adobe has offered monthly/yearly memberships which give photographers access to their software. A bit like marmite, the plans are liked by some while others aren't too keen but it does look like this subscription model is here to stay. There are various price points available which include the photography plan where you get Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark, Adobe Portfolio, and 1 TB of cloud storage for £16.64 a month. If you don't require 1TB of storage, the existing Creative Cloud Photography plan is still available which gives you access to 20GB of storage Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark and Adobe Portfolio for £8.32 a month. There's also a Lightroom CC plan where you get 1TB of storage and access to Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Adobe Spark and Adobe Portfolio which is also priced at £8.32 a month. 

Which you go for will depend on if you want access to more storage or photo editing apps. However, as you'll still need software that can complete more complicated photo edits, you'll probably opt for the photography package rather than the one that gives you access to Lightroom, Spark and Portfolios only.

If you don't need a desktop version of the software there is a mobile-only package that gives you 100GB of storage and access to the Lightroom Mobile plan for £4.49 a month (iOS) or £4.39 a month for Android users. 

Alternatives include ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate which is priced at $159.99, On1 Photo RAW which is available for $119.99 and Corel AfterShot Pro 3 which is rather inexpensive in comparison at £54.99. 

(All of the Adobe prices quoted are without VAT.)

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Mobile (CC) Verdict

When you think of any software linked to photography 'Adobe' is probably the name that comes to mind first. There's no doubting that the products they produce are excellent tools and that the latest upgrades to Lightroom, all versions, are welcomed and will make the photo editing and sorting process even quicker but the subscription-based fee is still slightly annoying. Yes, the monthly price is reasonable but when you start to add that up over 12 or 24 months, it soon starts to mount up. Is £16.64 or £8.32 a good price considering what you have access to? Yes, it probably is, but we know there's still a lot of you out there who prefer the, what's considered now to be, an old-fashioned method for charging. Some games and apps have also adopted this new charging method and there are even publications who charge you a monthly fee to subscribe so perhaps it's just a sign of the times and something we'll get to get used to. Subscriptions aside, Lightroom is still an excellent tool and one that most photographers will benefit from having on their devices. 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Mobile (CC) Pros

  • Brilliant at what it does
  • New mask tool is very useful 
  • Cloud connectivity 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC & Mobile (CC) Cons

  • Subscription format is still annoying

 

Features & Performance4.5/5
Ease of use4.5/5
Value4/5
Overall Verdict

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC / Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 7 Specifications

ManufacturerAdobe
Software Features
LayersNo
PathsNo
CloningYes
Required Ram2048mb
Trial Download AvailableYes

View Full Product Details

View Directory Page : Adobe Systems Europe Ltd.
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Comments


18 Oct 2017 4:06PM
Having just terminated my subscription for the CC package, I would point out that the price you are quoting is an ex.VAT price, the full price is 9.98/month, making it even more expensive. There is plenty of other software out there that, while possibly not being as good, yet, is far better value for money, IMO.
One of the reasons that Adobe use for their justification of the subscription model is that updates/improvements are automatically included and the software is always up to date. This is fine in principle as long as the are some advances. However it seems to me that most of the updates over the last couple of years have been bug fixes and camera support updates. At least with buying outright you can trial the latest version and then choose whether to buy the latest version.

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JJGEE 13 7.2k 18 England
18 Oct 2017 7:36PM

Quote:For those who haven't used Lightroom before, it's an image cataloguing programme that you can also use to make photo edits


Sad For over 10 ten years I thought LR was for processing RAW files / editing / exporting / printing with the cataloguing / keywording etc. as a secondary feature.
johnlw 11 1 10 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2017 9:11PM
I have used lightroom right from version one. I find the latest updates an improvement but a bit expensive. So I stopped my subscription this Spring. I tried other software for about
Four months. I must admit I regretted stopping my siubscription. And have gone back to
Lightroom and Photoshop subscription at a cost of 10.20 a month.

19 Oct 2017 8:14AM

Quote:I would point out that the price you are quoting is an ex.VAT price

Thanks, Alan, I've added a line in about VAT.
19 Oct 2017 9:48AM
I use the photography plan and whilst I can't say the monthly payment is my favourite way of getting software it is the way things are going and there's not a huge amount we can do about it. I also use Microsoft Office, and that's a monthly payment too.

It works for Office at least - it's cheaper than shelling out a few hundred every couple of years for the up to date version. I have to agree with Alan that in the case of Adobe the updates do seem to be pretty minor. I yesterday updated to the new versions and haven't yet used them so I don't know if there are significant improvements.

There are cheaper or even free alternatives. GIMP can be used for image processing, but has a user interface designed by monkeys on acid and only works on 8-bit data. The free office software is in my experience slow, clunky and antiquated - great if you're upgrading from Office 97, but otherwise a bit backward.

TANSTAAFL - if you want current features, you need to pay.
19 Oct 2017 10:20AM
As the software is an important part of modern photography wouldn't it be great if EPZ could do a comparison (testing as well as feature listing) of several of the programs available on the market rather than just review them individually as they are updated or released? GrinGrinGrin
19 Oct 2017 10:50AM
It's important even for those of us who still use film. I don't do wet printing and have no desire to, so my negatives are scanned, cleaned up, and inkjet printed.

Yes, a software comparison would be handy...
QUOTE
If you decide you don't like the CC version, you can switch back to Classic and all the work you have in Lightroom CC will automatically sync back. Although, this doesn't include keywords
END QUOTE

What? Seriously? The key reason I use lightroom and it doesn't sync.

Do you have any information about how lightroom classic now uses CPU and GPU? Is there yet any effective use of higher versions of multicore chips?
23 Oct 2017 1:07PM

Quote:Do you have any information about how lightroom classic now uses CPU and GPU? Is there yet any effective use of higher versions of multicore chips?


We'll get back to you on this one. Smile


Quote:As the software is an important part of modern photography wouldn't it be great if EPZ could do a comparison (testing as well as feature listing) of several of the programs available on the market rather than just review them individually as they are updated or released?


Nice idea, Alan. Smile

Wow. What a mess they have made of the classic.

When I open a folder, if there aren't enough images to fill all of the spaces in the grid, the bottom right gets some random bits of other photos shown instead of a white space.

If I am in the Library view, and double click to open zoom in to a photo, then double click out, it leaves the edges of the zoomed photo showing.

Scrolling in the Library is SLOWER!
25 Oct 2017 2:12PM
I have an annual subscription for Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.SadWhich expires October 2018 So is Lightroom Classic in there Or do I have to buy the Stand alone Lightroom 6 and upgrade to Lightroom 7.To a Pensioner, it seems confusing.It seems they are cutting their own throats and money grabbing.Especially if you use the programme occasionally.I suppose Photoshop Elements Could be next.If that were to happen we would all look for new software.Windows would want a subscription for their Windows 10 software in the future.Who Knows

Quote:I have an annual subscription for Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC.SadWhich expires October 2018 So is Lightroom Classic in there Or do I have to buy the Stand alone Lightroom 6 and upgrade to Lightroom 7.To a Pensioner, it seems confusing.It seems they are cutting their own throats and money grabbing.Especially if you use the programme occasionally.I suppose Photoshop Elements Could be next.If that were to happen we would all look for new software.Windows would want a subscription for their Windows 10 software in the future.Who Knows
Your existing CC subscription (Photography Plan) includes Classic. What will happen if you open the "Adobe Creative Cloud" is that it will show you a load of updates and some new programmes. If you update your existing Lightroom it turns into Classic. It then requires you to "update" your database to the new format that Classic uses. It works just as your existing installation, looking and feeling the same, though there are a few updates. If your computer is bang up to date, it will be faster.
If you just launch Lightroom without going via the Creative Cloud app, you may not even see that option.
BEWARE. If your computer is older and you currently use a Graphics Card, and it is less than their revised increased specification, you are likely to have worse performance - I do with a 5 year old top of the line i7 Dell with an GeForce GT 555M. I wish I'd just left it alone.

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