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

Someone posted that they couldn't understand the tutorials. Aurélien Pierre is the main developer and ridiculously technical. Try Bruce Williams on You Tube, he breaks things down in layman's terms and has a separate video for each module, plus some overall software videos to get started.

Anyway, some people love it, some hate it. It's like anything else. I used to use Photoshop way back when, I no longer do. I refuse to pay for their subscriptions. Yes, I know it's only $120 year. And Flickr Pro is $72. And Forum subscriptions add up to more, and this and that. I'd rather toss the Darktable developers a few bucks now and again.
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Name
Andrew
I will also admit that I have tried the other alternatives like darktable, raw therapee, DxO, on1, and not really liked any of them as much as Lightroom.

Before Lightroom I used ACDSee and got along pretty well with it. The reason I switched was because of the DAM module not able to handle the 100k of images I had.

I’ve heard it has gotten better, but have not really checked it out in years to know if that is true.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
I created a number of catalogs in Lightroom, often sorted by Event, Camera, and lens. Treat it the same way as a tree structured directory- usually no more than 3 levels deep. "Browse using ART" works well for this. I use the Sync function extensively in Lightroom to apply basic corrections and processing. The Resize on Export function in Lightroom is in a very intuitive place, would be nice if ART placed that option in the Queue output area. As it is- a LOGIC variable in the Style file, along with the desired resize. Make one, name it to something easy to remember- use it.

I can dump Lightroom after one evening of using ART. It will be retired as I move everything to the new Tower computer. I will leave Darktable installed, and use it along side of ART. BUT- first impressions last, and I do not like the interface. I also liked Aldus Photostyler better than Photoshop. Photostyler could handle multiple images in a TIFF. Thirty years ago.

 
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Brian

Product of the Fifties
Raw Therapee version 5.9 was released in Nov 2022, the GUI is much like ART. The Lens Correction for Vignetting is identical to ART, easy to find and easy to use.
Raw Therapee also creates a human readable file for instruction processing, looks compatible with ART.
 

stratokaster

Top Veteran
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Name
Pavel
I'm still paying for Lightroom CC which I have installed on my Mac, and it's still my preferred DAM/RAW converter combo. However, I now need to use Linux for my work, and I'm trying DigiKam + RawTherapee combo (I used RawTherapee in the past and was very happy with the results, but unhappy that it didn't have any DAM functionality). I will experiment with this combo further to see if it can replace Lightroom for me.
 
I use Lightroom from 2010 or so and I have explored Capture One fairly seriously years ago, and I tried out some others much more superficiously, only to return to Lightroom each time. As a raw editor, LR is more than solid enough for me, although I recognize that some raw editors have been better in some aspects; don't know if that's still true today, I simply don't want to spend the time and effort to explore something else. And Lightroom's DAM is great, all the rest doesn't even come close IMHO.

So for some years now I pony up the subscription without giving it a second thought; I have to add that it's common for me to open LR almost every day, it's my go-to image handling program. It's just wonderful to always get the latest version and Adobe has made great strides in expanding the editing options. I rarely go to Photoshop these days because LR has become so powerful, and once you go to Photoshop the file sizes blow up immensely.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
The pain of changing image editing software after 17 years, in my own case, is just not worth it!

I have CS5 and CS6 licences that I still use. However, I worked out that the Adobe subscription model is actually far cheaper than paying for annual upgrades ...

Adobe is still a PITA in a number of ways, but continuous updates and fixes alone are worth the subscription.

I've never got along with Lightroom from day one, but have never come across a better DAM than Bridge, and I'm very used to Photoshop.

It is the industry standard for a reason ...
 

tilman

All-Pro
As for your concern about paying for Lightroom when not using it - Adobe does offer the subscription "paid monthly" as far as I'm aware?
You will save a few bucks when paying yearly - but you'll save more when you just subscribe for the months you're actually using it :)

(As for not using Photoshop - there's a "Lightroom only" subscription too. (as far as I know))


Other than that - if you're not planning on further upgrades to your hardware in the next few years, maybe look at any software out there that still offers perpetual licenses... Pick anything you like (after doing a trial)
Even CaptureOne (which has gone pretty loopy with their licensing) might be an option, if you only buy a standalone license that supports your current camera and offers all the features you need/want (meaning that you aren't necessarily interested in upgrading the software to get new/missing features)
 

Iron

All-Pro
Location
New Zealand
Name
Tímo
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?
It's really up to you. It depends on your workflow. If you find that you have the best workflow in that software, why not? If you are not a fan of SAAS, then it's time to look for more perpetual or more FOSS alternatives.

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.
I remember that during the lockdowns, the versions jumped quite a lot. Modules got added aggressively per version release.

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.
I remember a lot of people complained during the transition to scene-referred workflow. I believe that's what made it a bit less user-friendly. There was a complaint about their RAWs being a bit more raw. The software translates the actual embedded-matrix RAW instead of the camera-matched auto standard which RawTherapee instantly applies.

From reading the ART site, the Fork was taken to make the package easier to use. For a new user- they succeeded.

Using Darktable and ART - ART is much easier and more intuitive to use than Darktable.
Yes, for a newer user, RT is easier to use than DT.

Someone posted that they couldn't understand the tutorials. Aurélien Pierre is the main developer and ridiculously technical. Try Bruce Williams on You Tube, he breaks things down in layman's terms and has a separate video for each module, plus some overall software videos to get started.
Aurélien Pierre's explanation of the Filmic RGB module is very useful. He even has tutorial for colour science.

Here are some minor observations as I use RT and DT. ART and RT are much easier to use than Darktable, even for me, especially for minor camera adjustments.
  • Film simulations in RT are also flooded and are easier to setup and apply. RT as a DAM is better more straightforward vs the add film roll in DT.
  • If one likes in-camera profiles, the DCPs can be applied in colour management in RT, whereas in DT, there isn't that option. Even the lovely l.monochrome.d is available to be applied once you have the DCP. According to the authors, DT is for us to create our own colour science.
  • RT handles Pentax Pixel-Shift images like a king. It's probably the best in that category.
  • RT uses black-relative exposure and white-relative exposure in Highlights and Shadows, eliminating the "halo" that most processing software have when lifting shadows or clipping highlights. Darktable also has this but in Filmic RGB, which almost eliminates the need to use the Shadows and Highlights module. With DT, the lifted shadows and clipped highlights in a separate module can give the halo artifact but can be eliminated by compression.
  • DT has drawn masks, its greatest advantage over any PP software available. Even NR can be localised, much like AI denoising software.
I use and like both, depending on the need/goal. I think these two (or three including ART) must be considered because they are proper software. If one is into film sims, I find the ones in RT are really good, especially when printed. My favourite film stock, Agfa Vista 200, is well-represented there. DT's drawns masks are so powerful and we are flooded by a lot of possibilities that we can experiment on. Contrast/gradient can also be customised using different ways in different modules.

Going back to the original question, @hazwing, have you tried RT or ART already? Cheers.
 

Darmok N Jalad

The eye of the potato, the thrill of the fries.
Location
Tanagra
The older I get, the more my philosophy on software has changed. I used to get excited about updates. Now, I find the perpetual updates can often be a negative, especially when they deprecate a function you used, or they change the function you used. For example, I'm on MS365 at work, and Office updates itself every month, and sometimes it breaks the preview feature in Explorer, which I use extensively as a time saver. I can't tell what they improved in Office, and honestly, I didn't need it to improve over what it was already. It worked fine, and did exactly what I needed. Updates can often just hamper my productivity.

I'm a bigger fan of buying a standalone product that works for me, and they can release patches for bugs and such, but the featureset is fixed. If they want my money again, make a compelling case for it, or offer a good price for upgrading, and we'll talk. But take my money for life, a small bit at a time, without knowing where the product is going? That's a tough sell. I can subscribe to video and music services, but I get leery of locking my photo catalog into a subscription service. The only plus, in my eyes, is that you at least get cloud storage, which I see as an asset, but the software is a potential question mark. You just have to trust that Adobe isn't going to lose its way with the professionals they serve.
 
Location
Finland
  • Film simulations in RT are also flooded and are easier to setup and apply.
If you refer to the optional "HaldCLUT" collection of great luts, darktable has also had support for them for a good while. I'd say equally easy to use and setup.

With DT, the lifted shadows and clipped highlights in a separate module can give the halo artifact but can be eliminated by compression.

Yes, this module is pretty lousy and it's just one method of over a dozen to compress light in darktable. Sadly this one has the most obvious name. They've deprecated this module in favor of Tone Equalizer which has some really strong (if cryptic) tools to manage haloing.

DT has drawn masks,
This is the biggest reason I favor darktable. ART is bringing drawn masks to RT but they're not nearly as comprehensive at this point.

Even NR can be localised, much like AI denoising software.
Try localising white balance. ;)
 

Iron

All-Pro
Location
New Zealand
Name
Tímo
If you refer to the optional "HaldCLUT" collection of great luts, darktable has also had support for them for a good while. I'd say equally easy to use and setup.
Yup, I have all those as well. I have the popular T3mujin pack, as well as the whole repository of styles from dstyle.net. I find them pretty good, as well.

This is the biggest reason I favor darktable. ART is bringing drawn masks to RT but they're not nearly as comprehensive at this point.
Yup, me too. Good to know drawn masks are coming to RT too.

Try localising white balance. ;)
Probably in the future, the module will have that, just for fun? Haha.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
Raw Therapee version 5.9 was released in Nov 2022, the GUI is much like ART. The Lens Correction for Vignetting is identical to ART, easy to find and easy to use.
Raw Therapee also creates a human readable file for instruction processing, looks compatible with ART.
Quoting myself- ART has the camera profile for the Nikon Z5, the new Raw Therapee did not. Output was truly bad. I copied the "NIKON Z5.DCP" profile from ART to Raw Therapee, fixed the problem. Also looked at some of the DCP Binary files. First glance- seem to be selected using filename only to match the camera. The name of the camera is stored twice in the D750.DCP file, but renaming the file as "NIKON Z5.DCP" also seemed to work. I did the same kind of trick to get LR4 to process Nikon Df files.
 

Aviator

Regular
Name
Arturo
Someone posted that they couldn't understand the tutorials. Aurélien Pierre is the main developer and ridiculously technical. Try Bruce Williams on You Tube, he breaks things down in layman's terms and has a separate video for each module, plus some overall software videos to get started.

Thanks for that Brownie. Even if I don't have Darktable installed right now, I just watched a couple videos made by Bruce, and it is night and day compared to Aurélien videos, right to the point and from a practical view.

I'm considering giving it another try.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
The older I get, the more my philosophy on software has changed. I used to get excited about updates.
I used to as well. Wordstar 7.0 did that in- not nearly as useable as Wordstar 6.0. Sure, it allowed use of more memory. And a Mouse. But just not as fast to use.
I understand the guy that wrote "Game of Thrones" stuck with Wordstar 4.0. Uses much less memory, and easy to Spawn from Fortran as a process under DOS. All run under FreeDOS, which has a new release for 2022.

Microsoft updates have Bricked computers to the point they are unrecoverable due to burning out the CPU. Fortunately, I unplugged the Laptop and dropped the battery before the CPU burned out in mine. The infamous Cache Attack update not working properly on AMD processors.

Freeware is just that- somebody's hobby project. Write it for your own use. Share it if you want. The Nov 2022 release of Raw Therapee is missing profiles of popular cameras that have been out for a couple of years. Adobe is paid to keep up. Chances are unless the freeware developers have the camera or lens, or their friend has one- will not be included.
 
Location
Finland
2022 release of Raw Therapee is missing profiles of popular cameras that have been out for a couple of years. Adobe is paid to keep up. Chances are unless the freeware developers have the camera or lens, or their friend has one- will not be included.
This is very much true. You'll never get the camera support in FLOSS software like a dozen paid professionals can do, also with getting help from the manufacturers.

But it's not always that big a deal.

At least the basic camera support is pooled together between several FLOSS developers. (See: raw.pixls.us) Rawtherapee hasn't seen a meaningful update in years so judging this one project is not 100% accurate view of the whole FLOSS softwarescape.
 
Location
Finland
To tangent the original woe, I see no real indication that Capture One is going fully subscription based.

They seem to offer a perpetual license that you own for life. It is priced at around 18-20 months of subscription use of the same software. Pricier than Adobe for sure. But it's there. Run the same piece of software for a decade and you've done well for yourself?
 

hazwing

Regular
I'd have a serious look at capture one if they continue to have a perpetual license version. Do they continue to offer RAW support for new cameras up until a point? I don't see myself upgrading anything in the near future, unless panasonic or olympus release something that really appeals to me in the m43 world.

Also any idea when MacOS will get the latest update of RAWtherapee?
 
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