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Monday, 06 November 2017


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Photoshop is a very mature product and by making it a subscription-only, Adobe relieved themselves from the onerous task of making new versions that were so compelling that the majority of users would immediately recognize the need to make the upgrade.

My problem with Adobe and their monthly fee to use their software is not the same as most of the commenters here at TOP.

First I have to say that editing images is a very subjective task. What I might say is correct another would say no it isn't. To many variables. First is you and your eyes/brain interpretation of what is correct. Then all those variables in your computer - hardware and software. Then once you output to a JPG you lose complete control of your images.

Output to paper is another subjective process and open to interpretation by others.

No, my problem with Adobe is what I'm getting for my money. First there is PS. I never use it and never will. Then there is Cloud storage. Don't use it and probably never will. I use my own off-site storage system. I currently have 2.5 TBytes of images. Don't even want to think how long it would take to put all that in the Cloud or what it would cost me every month.

So for the basic fee of $10 a month I get LR. That still doesn't sound so bad until you consider that LR stand-alone cost $150.

Adobe has done a terrible job of marketing the entire process of moving moving to a subscription model.

So for users of LR Adobe needs to either reduce the subscription fee or add something else to the package to make us LR users feel we're getting something of value for our money.

PS: I'm currently using LR6 and if I have to I will move to Adobe's subscription service. I'm not going to switch to another product because the LR is just to useful for me. No other product can do ALL the things LR does and do them well.

Mike, you imply that lesser-known software such as Darktable was created in response to the Adobe pricing scheme. Actually DT was launched in 2009 and has been in use since then. As a free product it doesn't need to chase the market, though I'm sure it got a big boost from the software rental business.

[Sorry. Didn't mean to imply that. --Mike]

You found PhotoNinja to do a better job on converting Fuji raw files than Adobe, and the same story is true with Iridient Developer/X-Transformer.

Here's the interesting part: I know Iridient is a one man shop, and think the same for PhotoNinja. So how can they both do a better job in raw conversion than mighty, cash-rich Adobe, and this has been true for years? Does this tell us something?


Bruce stated my objection succinctly. The software is mature. I haven't seen a single feature update to LR in the last several years that I'm willing to pay for. I only upgraded to LR 6 because I needed raw support for a new camera. When camera makers can't compel users to upgrade because their products aren't mature and they're out of innovative ideas, they suffer a decline in sales. But with creative pricing plans, Adobe has found a way to keep people funding development of features they may not have otherwise wanted.
For $10/month, when push comes to shove and I need to upgrade for support of a new camera one day, I might just bite the bullet. No sense shooting myself in the foot over a philosophical objection to their pricing model. But only after taking a serious look at the competition and considering the costs (monetary and time) and benefits (practical and philosophical !) of switching to something like Capture One.

My problem with these kind of online stuff is that they take for granted you live in a large city on a very well developed country.

They require Internet. We tend to forget that net access is not THAT easy. That only is for a start [Autodesk is even worse than Adobe for that].

Then, we´ve got the payment schemes. In order to work, you need to be able to be permanently connected. And we go to step one: onsite, on another country, et all, they all add up.

Take this fairly common scenario: you are on a foreign country needing to edit a bit a client preview. You are on a hotel, which gives you a very specific wifi access [with restricted content type or connection type, or having to pay for the connection].

That only renders the software unusable.

So these kind of SAS [software as a service] is for a present that might be a past future, but has not arrived yet.

Else, they tend to be more expensive for such an old platform. Granted, Photoshop is the best adobe product [and it shows it is not an import of a corporate acquisition, such as Indesign, Illustrator -which is a nightmare to use!-, or Bridge, which come from Macromedia and other adobe acquisitions]. But with the freeware there, and getting THAT much better, it is very hard to justify the acquisition of Photoshop.

The hobby of Adobe-hating aside, consider the veritable explosion of image editing products we’ve seen bloom in the recent decade! It’s like watering a desert. Few will survive even a decade as stand-alone products but it’s a remarkable reflection of photography’s transformation from a chemical to an electronic medium.

I am lucky enough to have the full Creative Clouud suite and a nice iMac at my office, paid for by my employer – and it's great, makes a lot of sense in this environment. When it works. When, like today when I returned to the office after a week's break, it signed me out every time I signed in and tried to launch an app, it's just bloody annoying. I suspect I'll have to reinstall it – and it's not the first time things like this have happened to me, or others in my team (and it's a small team). Googling for a solution reveals myriad similar woes, and depressingly few solutions.

At home I still use CS6, ACR and Bridge (which my employer also kindly paid for) and despite there being a few new features, there's nothing compelling enough to make me want to change that set-up. I presumed when I upgraded my home computer next, I'd take on the Adobe photo plan, but all this may well make me reconsider (and I've been using Photoshop since about '98). Lightroom has always seemed like too much effort to me – I can't be done with catalogues etc. I'd rather use Bridge to browse the photos I've taken, then use ACR to work on any I think worthy the effort (and that's normally a pretty small percentage).

For what it's worth, we have Microsoft's cloud based storage for Office 365 at work too – and I think that's a PITA too. On more than one occasion I've tried to open a spreadsheet only to get a message telling me it's corrupt.

As an aside, for all those who fret about forward compatibility of their existing software, Adobe do still offer a free converter to change proprietary Raw files into DNGs, which will work with older versions of ACR etc.

Said it here before, and will say it again: In my experience, Iridient Developer does the best job of converting Fuji X-Trans RAW (.RAF) files. Job done. Not only does it outperform ACR/LR, it has different conversion algorithms for black and white than color, *and* it has Fuji film presets (e.g. Acros, Astia, etc) that can be applied during conversion. It also has highlight and shadow recovery tools that are superior to Lightroom.

I don't know how, as a one-man shop, Brian Griffiths can do this and do it so well, and Adobe, will all it's billions and resources, can't. The only reason I can come up with is they simply don't care as much.

Photo Ninja is a great RAW/Photo-editor. It has several powerful tools well worth learning to use.

Question: Is there anything other than LR that supports convert to DNG on ingest? Also, is there anything other than LR that supports writing the data back out to the DNG instead of to a sidecar?

The more I use Photo Ninja the more I realize that I never did need to do the extensive editing and layering and masking that I once I thought to be so necessary when using ACR/PS.

And, surprisingly, I've also started to give up the use of the Capture NX2 color points. Turns out I didn't need those either nearly as much as I thought I did.

My lesson from Photo Ninja is this: if a photograph is good enough, then it will stand on its own, so let it! The only work usually needed for a raw file is conversion and the simplest of tweaks to the basics - black point/white point, highlights/shadows and maybe a bit of sharpening or detail.

I realize this is a minimalist view which may not be all that popular to others. But there is a lot of freedom in giving up excessive editing or giving up extensive "post-processing", if you prefer that term.

P.S. I'm not a purist yet with my editing stance. I still keep an aging NX2 and a simplistic Photoshop Elements 12 for an occasional return to color points or layers. :-)

As an enthusiastic amateur who uses LR maybe weekly and PS less (I will learn to use it, I will) I am quite happy with the current subscription service. I pay monthly for my music and my movies, admittedly better value for money in terms of hours used, but there is a comparison I have not seen mentioned in any of the comments on the topic thus far.

Back in the days of film I wouldn't blink an eye at spending $30 plus for a few rolls of Kodachrome or Fujichrome, but now, I can take hundreds if not thousands of photos that cost me nothing in film, or time in waiting, or trips to the photo lab to drop off and pick up. I really think those that are complaining about spending $10 a month ($13 here in Oz) might want to cast their minds back a few years and remind themselves how affordable this hobby/profession has become thanks to the advent of digital cameras.

What a great thread of readers comments for the LR replacement blog: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2017/11/lr-replacement-photo-editing-software.html.

I read 'em all, and as I did the thought came to me that it's just the same with photo editing programs as it is with cameras: they are all really good.

It's just a matter of finding the camera and program(s) that are most comfortable and fun to use.

I have been using Photo Ninja since it came out some years ago. Its default rendering using its "Scenic" preset on landscape photos, has always been better than any other product I have tried, with the possible exception of Apple Aperture any its default settings. It's worth noting that the Aperture rendering is available using Apple's Preview utility, or its Photos product, or Lyn.

However, for those who prefer to fiddle with settings and tailor the rendering for each photo, some other software might be just as good, or even much better, because I was judging just by the default or minimal group of settings.

I find, however, that I am quite unable to improve on Photo Ninja's default results, except when the original is badly exposed.

Internet access on an airplane, in a hotel, or for a traveller in the wider world is simply not to be taken for granted. And cloud backups don't leave me sleeping soundly when I see photo sharing sites come and go over the years. I back up to a pair of $100 USB disks, one at home and one in the office. A few years ago they held 250 MB, then a year later, 1 TB. Currently they are 4 to 5 TB each, so the older stuff gets brought forward each time I get a new one.

Decoding Fuji X-Trans color arrays is only part of the problem of supporting Fuji's raw files. Fuji also introduced a proprietary lossless compression scheme with the X-T2 and X-Pro2. Adobe appears to have paid Fuji for software to decompress it. Others chose not to pay, and some of those cracked the code themselves, which took about a year to become generally possible. Sandy McGuffog, another one man shop (AccuRaw) with a day job, was one of the first to study the complications of rendering X-Trans images. He's done a few comparisons of the major tools, reporting the results on his ChromaSoft blog.

I still keep Photo Ninja around and use it sometimes, because yeah, it does very nicely. Unfortunately I mostly use it for photos where I have to save a Photo Ninja processed version as a TIFF file and then go in and do more in Photoshop, which is kind of annoying. But it's definitely a tool worth having, sometimes it produces nicer results.

I really hate this world where I have to know multiple tools and guess and experiment to find which produces the best results on any photo I'm going all-out on.

Actually, Brian Griffith of Iridient Digital had RAW demosaicing for X-Pro 2/X-T2 compressed RAF files available pretty quickly; certainly less than a year.

The laggards have been Capture One.

Adobe is indeed minting money, but I don't hold that against them. (So is Apple by the way, and avoiding tax by the tens of billions via the use of shell companies in Ireland and Jersey, that pay about 0% tax. They must be having a good laugh in Cupertino about the proposed reduction in US corporate tax!)

If any company's behaviour (not, I emphasize, its individual employees) was judged as though it was a person, it would get a 'psychopath' rating. Companies are only and always out for themselves alone. They may claim to put customers first, or to be working in the interest of the community, but that is only a means to an end. When it gets down to it, maximizing profit will always determine the strategy.

No point in moaning about this; it's the way of the world. But we do need to pay attention: Let then know when we don't get what we want, buy from competitors, ensure that we have laws to stop things getting out of control, and then hold their feet to the fire! Never think of Adobe, Apple, Fuji, etc. etc. as your 'friend'. They are not.

I had been toying with the idea of switching to Capture One for some time. Last April I used the trial version in and out for a month. I found it better for my needs than LR. However, I could not justify the expense. With the announcement from Adobe, I decided to try Capture One once again. To my surprise I got another month of free trial on the same computer I had used it in April. This time I watched some of the tutorial videos, and then decided to test it carefully by importing a catalogue of nearly 8000 photographs from Lightroom 6, some already edited and other not yet edited. After a few hours I noticed that I was spending considerably less time editing and culling the photographs in Capture One than in LR. Now, at 15 € vs. 10 € per month, the switch makes sense. Main reason is I no longer trust Lightroom's future in Adobe's hands. I do not any longer want to commit all my new photos to Lightroom. In addition, if I save a couple of hours per month, then the difference in cost can be easily justified. Of course, the only future proof option is not to keep edits in a proprietary-format database. So, I guess the main lesson we can learn, is that those photos that we hope to remain useful, valuable or interesting for a long time, we should archive in both raw and edited format, and the later using a file format that is not proprietary.

I use LR, its like an old friend who you usually get along with, enjoy but sometimes is just a pain to be around. On another note, is it not time to bury phone/electrical lines and rid the countryside of phone poles? Its not 1917 its 2017. Always in the way of interesting compositional possibilities.

I guess I'm feeling a little contrarian today. Like others, I was not happy to face the reality that I had to pay Adobe a monthly subscription. But to put it in perspective, I'm currently paying $10.61 per month for Photoshop and Lightroom, which comes out to just under 35 cents per day. I spend more than twice that much every day on Cokes. I'm sure many of your readers "subscribe" to Starbucks - when was the last time you got out of there for 35 cents?

The other thing I find striking is that many of the comments are made without really understanding the product offering. Some express reservations about storing images in the Cloud. Then don't. It's an option, not a requirement. I have 20,000+ images in Lightroom, and they're all on my Mac - not one is on an Adobe server.

Another comment said they didn't like the fact that you had to always be connected to the internet. You don't. Every few months the software will briefly connect with Adobe to verify that you're still licensed. That's it.

And another said they don't like software as a service (SaaS). Me either, which why I'm glad the Adobe products are installed on my Mac. They don't run on Adobe servers, nor do they run in a browser.

I'm not a shill for Adobe - I've never worked for them, and I don't own their stock. The questions I ask myself are: 1) Does the software do what I need? For me it certainly does. 2) Does it do it at a price I can afford. Again, for me it's clearly yes.

Others may have different answers, or entirely different questions. If Adobe's products and plans don't work for you, by all means go with something else. But especially for those with many years invested in Adobe's products, before switching ask yourself if the extra 35 cents per day (max) that you gain is worth the cost of changing. And if it is, then go for it.

If you only use LR, CC is not such a good deal. If you extensively use Photoshop (I use it for graphics as well as photos) then it's a relative bargain, esp. with the improved support for tablet pens.

So, I am ok with CC, but I can understand why many are not. If I only used LR, I would be looking for something else, but it's a tough call. It's just so useful.

Joe B: phone/electrical poles and lines "always in the way of interesting compositional possibilities"

...or, creating them (grin).

I have been following this discussion with great interest. The main takeaway for me is that the more things you plan to use a particular digital imaging application for, the more important it is to choose carefully. The time you invest in using it is far more valuable than the cost of the app itself. For example, if you were to invest a hundred or more hours using Lightroom to tag and catalog your images or apply image edits, switching to a different app could mean losing every single hour of that investment. Imagine starting over with tens of thousands of images.

Using a newer app from a smaller company has risks of its own. Said company could be here today, gone a few years from now -- and along with it, any support and updates you might hope for. It all makes me envy those who can simply shoot JPEGs, stick them in folders, and call it a day.

I think Steve Hutchinson put things in perspective. I do remember paying $12.00 for a roll of Fuji Velvia. I still don't like the subscription model too much, but I will concede that Mr. Hutchinson made a good point, and it should be noted.

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