Should I suck it up a pay for Lightroom Creative Cloud?

hazwing

Regular
I've been using stand alone classic LR 6 on a very old macbook air for quite some time. Using older cameras that were supported in the older LR6, I've managed to get by even though its a little slow rendering 1:1 full size previews. Space was limited on the older macbook air, so I'd often have to move photos off to a hard drive after I've editted them.

However with a newer camera (the sony a7c) the RAWs aren't automatically supported, and the files are quite big. I bought a new macbook pro with a larger hard drive, thinking I would initially use the DNG convertor and install my old LR 6 onto the new macbook. However it turns out the old LR software doesn't work in the new macOS.

I'm not keen on the subcription model for the latest LR classic with adobe creative cloud. Photography is just a hobby that my interest wax and wanes with. I know there would be periods where I wouldn't use the adobe software for many months, and it would feel a complete waste paying for software that I don't use. I also don't like the idea of an endless subscription. I don't use photoshop or know how to use it well, so I don't see as much value with the photo shop bundled with it.

I've fiddled around with a few different free/open source software, and may continue trying some of the trials for the paid alternatives. However so far it's been a struggle with the new software.
-I've been using 'narrative select' to cull and rate images. Actually not a bad software, only 4 projects a months for free, can pay for more projects. Some limitations in that it doesn't show histogram or highlights/shadow clipping. Would be good to have basic push/pull of RAW files
-Darktable - seems overwhelming, no idea what to do - probably pretty powerful but seems a steep learning curve
-Rawtherapee - seems more easier to use than dark table, however still a learning curve. Feels clunky a bit sluggish even with a fairly high specced macbook. The star ratings from narrative select doesn't seem to transfer over
-Digicam - only just trialling it for sorting and organising photos. Doesn't seem too bad, however the star rating from narrative select seems to only transfer over to the jpg file instead of both RAW+jpg. Could be more of a thing to do with narrative select only applying star ratings to the JPG and not both the JPG&RAW when they are grouped together.

So all this time spent trialling and learning new software, makes wonder if it's actually worth it? I've become very familiar using LR6 and comfortable with the sliders, shortcuts, and just how everything works. I haven't been following the latest LR updates, but the new LR classic seems even more powerful with their automasking tools.

So should I just suck it up and pay for LR CC? I'm really not keen and gonna hate paying for it when not using it during more busy or uninspired periods. It is possible to switch the creative cloud subscription on/off as you need it? Once you switch it off, can you still export your previous edits?

I've haven't gotten around the non subscription, paid software, as I want make sure I have the time to get a good grasp of it during the trial period, but which ones are most like LR that I should look at? I am not that fussed with the tagging/organising/archiving side of LR (I'll try get by with a folder system), but I am after something that I can use to cull images and powerful non-destructive RAW editor.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Name
Andrew
I normally recommend capture one as a Lightroom alternative, but they are starting to go subscription based now as well. My comment on subscription based was incorrect.

I find that Lightroom is a great value for the photographers subscription price. I’m one that really uses the keyword features and organization a lot, so that is important to me.

I do use other plug ins to support places where I find Lightroom lacks, like in resizing, sharpening and denoising.

My biggest plus for Lightroom though is the use on MIDItoLR. This free tool allows me to map bheringer midi device ton Lightroom keys making editing about 10 times faster. The whole setup costs $35 which is the price for the midi controller.

I’ve tried other editors and none have the easy workflow that Lightroom has for the way I work.
 
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doobs

Veteran
Location
Fairfax, VA
Name
Chris
Really can't provide any advise as to whether or not to pay for LR CC, but if you are looking at alternatives (particularly FOSS ones), have a look at ART.

Art is a fork of Raw Therapee and if I had to leave Capture One, it's what I would choose.

Good luck in your decision process.

Happy New Year
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties

I installed "ART" and Darktable. ART (Another Raw Therapee) is much easier to use.


Cost you nothing but some time to see if you like it. I am running the Windows version. Linux and Apple available.

I intend to post user notes on the Free raw processors here- started a thread on RFF.


As far as Paying for an Adobe Subscription, I cannot advise on what is best for you. With over 40 years of digital image processing experience, I will go back to writing all of my own code before paying Adobe a Dime a Month for leasing their software. They can jack up the price, and you are stuck.
 

JensM

All-Pro
I'm not keen on the subcription model for the latest LR classic with adobe creative cloud. Photography is just a hobby that my interest wax and wanes with. I know there would be periods where I wouldn't use the adobe software for many months, and it would feel a complete waste paying for software that I don't use. I also don't like the idea of an endless subscription. I don't use photoshop or know how to use it well, so I don't see as much value with the photo shop bundled with it.

You sound a lot like me, I bit the bullet and got into the subscription model when it came around, owning both a full version of LR(an old, non-upgradable version back then) and PS essentials (which I never harnesssed properly).

Havent much regrets in regards on taking out the subscription, just the catalogue bits makes it worth it in my opinion, harnessing the photo archive to a degree I haven't experienced before and I am not using much of the possibilities there. The editing bits are added value, and the times I have opened PS without it being a mistake, I think I can count on one hand.
 

Bob T

Regular
Location
Knoxville, TN
Name
Bob
I can understand your situation.

I was quite unhappy when LR went subscription, having used it for many years. Kept using V6 while I searched for an alternative.
Did trials on just about everything out there, ON1, ACDSee, DxO, Afinity Photo, Exposure, etc., and couple of the freeware ones.
Ended up paying for several of them, but none were "the one" for me.

It was mostly about Lightroom's DAM. Nothing else I tried came close, at least for my needs.
So a couple years ago I threw in the towel and went with the Adobe plan.
The cost really isn't that bad, considering it comes with PS.

But like all things, what you do is up to you. Good luck!
 
Darktable is powerful, and there is a learning curve, but it's well supported and updated regularly with at least one new version each year, sometimes two. Well worth the effort.

For a relatively easy pay-once program that is kept updated, have a look at Affinity. Affinity does updates regularly and they've free. They just released Version 2 after quite a few years, and this is the first time anyone who had Version 1 has had to pay more.

What I've come to realize is that the learning curve from software to software is shorter than you think. You already know how to process an image. Contrast is contrast, tone is tone, etc. All you have to do is find them!
 
Location
Finland
I find it surprising that most people here find ART or Rawtherapee easier than darktable. Then again, I learned darktable when it still was using the "display referred workflow".

The new model (scene referred workflow) that darktable has transitioned into may be technically better for professional purposes but the clear plus for display referred workflow was that you started with modules and settings that somewhat closely resemble an in-camera JPEG, give or take a few tunings. You got inspired about your image when it's not just bleak grays to start with.

I hope you feel encouraged to know that the old method is still there available for trials. It's nothing more than a default set of modules but it's a starting point. Not recommended by the devs but between abandoning darktable and trying it, I recommend trying the old system.

It's under settings -> processing -> auto-apply pixel workflow defaults.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
I find it surprising that most people here find ART or Rawtherapee easier than darktable. Then again, I learned darktable when it still was using the "display referred workflow".

The new model (scene referred workflow) that darktable has transitioned into may be technically better for professional purposes but the clear plus for display referred workflow was that you started with modules and settings that somewhat closely resemble an in-camera JPEG, give or take a few tunings. You got inspired about your image when it's not just bleak grays to start with.

I hope you feel encouraged to know that the old method is still there available for trials. It's nothing more than a default set of modules but it's a starting point. Not recommended by the devs but between abandoning darktable and trying it, I recommend trying the old system.

It's under settings -> processing -> auto-apply pixel workflow defaults.
Using ART, I could setup a "Style" to correct vignetting for my Canon 50/0.95 within 30 minutes. Took a little time to learn to cut and paste the "Style" into all images selected.

I downloaded Darktable 4.2- which has a tool for Adding Vignetting, which is not what I wanted Applying lens corrections- not obvious what to do.

From reading the ART site, the Fork was taken to make the package easier to use. For a new user- they succeeded.
 
Using ART, I could setup a "Style" to correct vignetting for my Canon 50/0.95 within 30 minutes. Took a little time to learn to cut and paste the "Style" into all images selected.

I downloaded Darktable 4.2- which has a tool for Adding Vignetting, which is not what I wanted Applying lens corrections- not obvious what to do.

From reading the ART site, the Fork was taken to make the package easier to use. For a new user- they succeeded.
Lens corrections and vignetting are two separate modules. There's a search box at the top of the modules list, type in 'v' and it'll be second one down, right below velvia.

I use Darktable for my drag racing photos. I can set up an entire profile and apply it to all photos as soon as their opened. In fact, if I wanted I could apply them across the board in the lightable view, but I prefer to look at each one individually. I can even automatically place my watermark so it shows up exactly the same place, same size, every time I open a photo. A simple vignette should be no problem.

Set up the vignette you want
In the upper right corner of the vignette module click the drop down, then click add preset
Name the preset
Click the box that says 'automatically apply'
You can even choose the parameters, like to apply it only to similar photos.
 
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Location
Finland
Lens corrections and vignetting are two separate modules. There's a search box at the top of the modules list, type in 'v' and it'll be second one down, right below velvia.
I downloaded Darktable 4.2- which has a tool for Adding Vignetting, which is not what I wanted Applying lens corrections- not obvious what to do.
Admittedly this here is another win for (A)RT. Darktable has taken a philosophy that they won't allow users to manually correct lens distortions or falloff -- only automatic corrections off of a lens database are done. I can appreciate some of the reasons behind this decision but it is a royal pain when the lens is vintage or the EXIF data is not recorded.
 
Admittedly this here is another win for (A)RT. Darktable has taken a philosophy that they won't allow users to manually correct lens distortions or falloff -- only automatic corrections off of a lens database are done. I can appreciate some of the reasons behind this decision but it is a royal pain when the lens is vintage or the EXIF data is not recorded.
How so? While it's true that it's applied automatically, there are plenty of drop downs to change and choose adjustments, including a scaling slider. You can also set up what you want and create a preset. Under the 'corrections' drop down you can choose to correct only vignetting, if that's what you want, then save it as a preset.

Screenshot 2023-01-02 113559.jpg
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
I have lenses that will only be in a correction database if I add them myself. The Canon 50/0.95- NOT a rare lens. The Nikkor 5cm F1.5: Rare Lens.
I've done my own vignetting measurements on several lenses, made a light-box and wrote my own software for the M9 and M Monochrom for measurements.

INF-DIAG.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


I could make my own ART style files directly using the coefficients generated from this program. Note- the correction is different with F-Stop.
 

Aviator

Regular
Name
Arturo
A few years back, when I was looking for options to ditch Lightroom (due to their subscription model), I briefly tried Darktable.

After some initial reading and watching a few tutorials, I managed to develop a few pictures, but oh my god! It was a nightmare, it was neither user friendly nor intuitive at all, I found it to be very capable but way too technical.
I remember trying to watch some tutorials made by a French guy on YouTube, to get a better understanding of the software but again, while the info was interesting from an engineering point of view, it was sometimes way too technical and I got bored quite quickly.

I decided to buy a perpetual license of Capture One, and from the first time I used it, it was a breeze. I really didn't need to watch many videos or do a huge reading to feel at home with the software. Everything was intuitive and pretty much self explanatory.

Now that Capture One announced drastic changes on their business model, I'm considering learning other options. I have DXO PL6 Elite Version which overall works very well, but I would like to see what RawTherapee has to offer, specially the simplified ART version.
 
Location
Finland
How so? While it's true that it's applied automatically, there are plenty of drop downs to change and choose adjustments, including a scaling slider. You can also set up what you want and create a preset. Under the 'corrections' drop down you can choose to correct only vignetting, if that's what you want, then save it as a preset.

View attachment 356165
I am under the impression that all those sliders and dropdown choices only adjust the lens profile one has selected.

Maybe now that you said it, if one makes a basic barrel distortion profile and one pincushion one, varying those one could achieve basic corrections. Not that you usually even bother fixing anything more complex if you don't have exact computer calculations next by!
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
How so? While it's true that it's applied automatically, there are plenty of drop downs to change and choose adjustments, including a scaling slider. You can also set up what you want and create a preset. Under the 'corrections' drop down you can choose to correct only vignetting, if that's what you want, then save it as a preset.

View attachment 356165
Camera/lens not found, Manual Lens, No CPU.

If a correction can be made for the Vignetting/ Light drop off for a manual focus/ no CPU lens under lens corrections, show the steps and do a screen shot.
It is not obvious in Darktable 4.2, but is very easy in ART.

"Non-Uniformity-Correction", NUC- how come no one uses that term anymore? Applies to using lenses with digital sensors due to the light-falloff from grazing angle. too bad the Z5 does not use uncompressed DNG. Takes about 30 lines of Fortran to read in a Leica DNG file.

Using Darktable and ART - ART is much easier and more intuitive to use than Darktable.
 
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theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Location
Cheshire, England
Name
Martin Connolly
Just adding my general two penn'orth - I have been a happy Adobe user for many years, with only a brief spell when I tried alternatives. Using Apple Photos with my various plugins worked pretty well tbh, and if I was completely in the Apple ecosystem I'd be tempted to go with that. However, I am mostly an Android user now (apart from my trusty Macbook Pro), my most recent Adobe subscription cost me just £71 for a year, and with the newest updates to LRCC (masking principally) it's well worth it. For a non-subscription alternative, DXO Photolab plus Nik Collection would be a fairly small and well integrated setup that does most things very well. Luminar Neo gets lots of positive press but I have been unconvinced so far (I got it for £20 IIRC so it was worth a punt).
 
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