Jack Baty

Director of Unspecified Services

Lightroom (Classic)...again

I switched from using Lightroom Classic (LrC) to Capture One Pro (C1) "for good" back in 2021. It wasn't because of Adobe's subscription model, or because I had some vague aversion to Adobe, the company. It was because I felt like I was getting better images, faster, with C1.

I kept a few notes on Lightroom Classic vs Capture One but haven't updated it in a while, so here are a few notes about why I have moved back to Lightroom Classic.

C1 has become laggy for me. I'm working on either a MacBook Pro M1 Max or Mini M2 Pro. Nothing should be slow on these machines, but whenever I move a slider in C1, I have to wait a couple of seconds while it catches up. This gets pretty annoying.

C1 never seems to improve its cataloging features, which have always felt a bit lackluster. I like C1's "sessions", but then I need some other app for cataloging. I'm working on using less software, not more, so cataloging is important.  

Aside from specific issues, the thing that has put me off C1 is that over the past couple years, Capture One (the company) has made some moves that have affected how I feel about C1, (the app).

Capture One now basically forces me to pay for a subscription, and it's expensive. I know I said that subscriptions weren't the reason I switched, but that doesn't mean I like subscriptions. I don't.

More importantly, they've become increasingly focused on professional, in-studio customers. That's great for pros, but I'm just a guy who likes to take pictures. I'm paying a lot of money for software that is becoming less relevant to me.

The latest beta update of C1 introduced a "Studio" version and includes things like Client viewers and "Live" for Studio. These are not just less useful to me, they are useless to me. I started wondering if I'd be better served by Adobe. That was a surprise.

So I forked over my $10 for the Photography Plan subscription and installed Lightroom Classic and Photoshop (still one of the best deals going, regardless of how one feels about subscriptions). I resisted the temptation to install the new Lightroom, because I know how that ends.

I started by importing everything from 2020 through today. Since I'd used LrC for years, I was immediately comfortable. I made the few changes that LrC allows to the UI and settings, imported my old presets, set up my export templates, and was off and running.

It was nice to have nearly-instant response while spotting film scans again. It's good to have a catalog that feels robust. LrC feels tighter than C1 somehow. And the community is so big. Almost too big, honestly. It can be overwhelming. Adobe's huge ecosystem is valuable. I've never been great in Photoshop, but I'm better there than in one of the "other guys" like Affinity. And if I don't know how to do something, a dozen YouTube videos showing me how are within arm's reach.

I'll miss some things about C1, certainly. I'll miss the wildly-customizable UI. I'll miss that hitting "Auto" is often all I need. I'll miss the fancier exports. I'll miss the culling features during imports. And if I ever do get in a studio, I'll miss the flawless tethering.

If Capture One ever decides to cater to amateurs like me as well as pros, I'll take another look, but for now, I'm in Lightroom Classic. I feel a little dirty about it, though.

Originally posted on Scribbles: https://scribbles.baty.net/post/lightroom-classic-again