So this is it. Early adopter, inofficial evangelist, part-time photographer is dropping Lightroom. Rather, deleting it from his workstations.
Who the eff cares? Well, I do, as I am abovementioned former inofficial evangelist. And I wonder what the bloody hell I was thinking. Hindsight is both gift and curse.
What Adobe did with Lightroom, if you stay objective:
- More features. Some direly needed (like, support for your camera?), others more, like, what the hells? Yeah, I’m looking at you, Social Media Upload and Comments Download.
- Selling said features as USPs to justify the hefty price-tag on upgrades. By now I’ve spent more than 400 quid on Lightroom, it’s upgrades, and plug-ins necessary until Adobe deemed stuff like output sharpening important enough for yet another full-price upgrade.
- LR3 is slower and more cumbersome to use than LR2. But it has the better RAW render engine (which you can’t retrofit into LR2), so please upgrade, yes?
- Said RAW render engine is identical to the one used in the current release of Photoshop Elements, which you can get bundled with your next scanner for free.
- Also, depending on the cameras used, the engine is inferior to competitors’ or even open source solutions. In some cases (Leica M series comes to mind), it should be featured in Webster’s, under “What the flying fuck”.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Lightroom concept, I’m pretty happy with most of its results, it’s stable like a rock, and I’m used to the way it works (see above evangelist thing). But bloody hells, Flash galleries? Bug-fixing your RAW rendering engine equals a full-price upgrade? Support for fresh RAW formats one year from now = buy our upgrade? Even though the whole difference is in camera identification in the RAW header?
Lightroom was my favourite as it streamlined workflow issues. But: It’s becoming more and more muddled and complicated to use, while it doesn’t ensure plug-ins won’t crash the whole application just because they are coded poorly. I still find things I wrote off as “well, it’s a new application, you can’t expect that just yet” in 2006 that actually had been there from the beginning – but weren’t obvious or easily accessible. The worst thing for a workflow app is to hide things that might seriously influence or even change the way you look at your current, well, workflow.
It’s just sad. So much potential. Oh, well.