LR007 - What Version of Lightroom (LR) Should I buy (11/2017)
How to decide which version of LR to get (Nov 2017):
Adobe Lightroom (LR) has been around for a decade or so. Prior to LR there was the big professional “Photoshop” and its little sister “Photoshop Elements” or just elements). There was also a little known product called Adobe Albums which was an image management system (keywords and the like). Adobe LR was created by taking the ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) feature set from Photoshop and sticking it together with the image management ideas from Albums and then adding some tools for printing, creating slide shows and web pages and that became LR. It was, and is, designed for photographers who don’t need the power (or complexity) of Photoshop. That power and complexity in Photoshop is instrumental in graphic design and professional retouching but most people don’t need that much or will never learn to use those tools anyway. That was 10 years and 7 versions ago.
Since then Lightroom has been upgraded a half dozen times with new features coming along with each release. Up until LR6, LR was sold as a perpetual license product, as was the tradition. In other words, you plunked down some cash and got a CD or download containing the product which you installed on your computer. Part of that was a PL (Perpetual License) which allowed you to use that version of LR forever. They agreed to fix bugs and add support for new cameras for a period of time (at least till the next version came out). But if you got a new computer or upgraded your operating system after the SW went off support you were on your own – maybe it would work, maybe not.
When LR6 was released they added a new way to license it. This version they called LR/CC (Lightroom Creative Cloud). The first version was LR/CC-2015 and was the same as LR6 launched at the same time. As in the past LR6 was also a PL type license. However with the LR/CC version instead of buying it, you rented it. You still installed it on your computer as normal but you paid rent for it each month. To sweeten the deal for the LR/CC version they included some cloud storage, a web browser based version of LR and a mobile app that was a stripped down version of LR. In the desktop version you were able to designate groups of photos (Collections) that LR/CC would sync to the cloud. Both the web and mobile versions used those synced cloud images with complete 2 or 3 way automatic synchronization of changes.
The other sweetener to get you over to the CC version was that new features would be added to the LR/CC version as they were ready and you could start using them at once for free without having to wait for, and pay for, the next full release of LR. Unfortunately there weren’t all that many new features added during the life of LR6 (or CC-2015).
in October 2017 it was time for the long awaited new version to be launched and the waters got very muddy indeed.
As anticipated they came out with the next version of LR but they eliminated the ability to buy it under a Perpetual License (as you could with LR6) – you could only rent it. So, this new version was really the next release of LR/CC (the rental version). But, as you’ll see in a minute, they did not want to call it LR/CC. Instead they branded it “LR Classic” (or Lightroom Classic CC). However the public quickly started calling it LR7 and more recently “Desktop Lightroom” or “Catalog Based Lightroom” among other names. So, in essence LR/CC-2015 was upgraded and is now LR Classic (or LR7 if you wish).
At the same time they also came out with an entirely new product. This new product took over the name LR/CC (or LR/CC-2017). While it is in the same functional space as the prior versions of LR it is completely different. It is designed to operate with cloud based (not device based) images and to function the same on any device with complete seamless synchronization between devices. This product took over the LR/CC name (LR/CC-2017), but is starting to be called “Cloud Based LR” as opposed to “Desktop based LR” or “Catalog Based LR”.
But make no mistake, this new LR/CC product has no where near the functionality of LR Classic (LR7). It is an entirely new animal.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?
If you are just jumping into LR, or have been using LR for awhile you have 3 basic choices.
LR Classic (LR7)
LR/CC (Cloud Based LR)
PLANS, PLANS, PLANS
In all the offerings mentioned here, with the exception of the older LR6, you must rent the SW. But there are several different plans you can get.
Go to this URL and press “Choose a Plan” for the list of plans shown below. https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html?promoid=TY6XL3LH&mv=other
For individuals there are basically 3 plans for LR to choose from (other than one that provides stock photos). There are other plans that include other Adobe products but if you are just interested in LR there are three all listed under the “Photography $9.99/Mo” heading (even though one is $19.99/Mo)
1) Photography 20gb ($9.99/mo)
2) Photography 1tb ($19.99/mo)
3) Lightroom CC 1tb ($9.99/mo)
In all these plans you can buy up to 10tb of additional storage if and when you need it.
https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html?promoid=TY6XL3LH&mv=other (click link and scroll down)
The interaction between these products needs a bit of explanation.
SO, WHAT DO I RECCOMEND?
1) Unless you hate rental SW, get the $9.99/mo photography package with 20gb storage. This plan gives you both LR7 (Classic), the new LR/CC, the gold standard Photoshop, 20gb of cloud storage for sharing/syncing, , LR/web and LR/Mobile. I do not recommend having it convert your entire LR Catalog to LR/CC which is an option you will have if you’ve had LR before
2) If you hate rental SW, and don’t mind not getting new features, being out of support and having to use a workaround for Camera generated RAW files for cameras hitting the market after the end of 2017, then get LR6. But, as it is now after 12/31/2017 you can't get it from Adobe. You'll have to look for it from 3rd party venders
3) If you are sure you are never going to spend much time on photography and are happy with limited capabilities (for now) then look at the $9.99/mo Photographers 1TB plan. This gives you most storage but does not provide LR Classic or the Big Photoshop product.
All URL’s in this post worked at the time of writing. I cannot keep up with how often Adobe changes their web site, so if one doesn’t work, poke around and you’ll probably find something similar.
Keywords: blog, danlrblog, lightroom, lightroom cc, lightroom classic, lightroom plans, lr, lr cc, lr classic, lr7, new lightroom cc, new lr cc
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