After migrating my Lightroom catalog to CC and trying it for a couple weeks, I've gone back to Lightroom Classic. I figured it was worth posting about my experience not just to complain, but in case it's useful to others—and frankly because I still find myself without a good solution for my photos and maybe someone will have suggestions.
For background: I'm not a professional photographer, just an enthusiastic amateur. I want to be able to access, organize, edit, and share photos and videos across multiple devices. I take a lot of photos on my phone but also shoot in RAW on a Canon G9X Mark II.
In theory I'm a perfect candidate for something like Apple Photos or Google Photos. I've rejected Google because there's no desktop app (i.e., offline solution for my laptop). I've rejected Apple, at least to date, because when last I played with Photos it seemed a bit simplistic and inefficient. Also, they seem to store adjustments in a proprietary format with no way to export, which worries me. At the moment it also can't import the RAW photos from my camera.
So with the demise of Aperture I moved to Lightroom. The new CC looked like a step closer to what I want...here's why I abandoned it:
- Can't batch-apply presets. This feels like a non-starter if you're shooting in RAW, since the first thing you want to do is apply a generic camera preset. Even if everything else were perfect this might be enough to make me give up, given the time and effort it would entail.
- Can't share videos from mobile apps.
- Confusing asynchronous operations. Things like changing preferences or adding photos to an album sometimes take a little while and happen asynchronously (which is good), but without any indication of progress (which is bad). So you don't know whether the operation simply failed or is still pending.
- I had to reinstall my operating system and it took me forever to figure out which bits of Lightroom to restore in order to stop the "missing folder" errors.
- Sync was bringing my home internet connection to a crawl. Upgrading my router fixed it, but this isn't an issue I've ever seen with, say, Dropbox.
- I had different total numbers of photos on desktop/web vs. mobile.
- LRCC clients tended to get into an infinite-syncing state. Usually quitting and reopening would fix it.
- No DNG support. Not something I desperately need but it does reduce file size, which is nice. Someone suggested using the standalone DNG converter, but the Mac download link for that is broken.
- Can't see how many photos you've selected.
- Various UI glitches and weirdnesses. Often this feels more like a beta or preview version to me than a 1.1.
Sadly, Lightroom Classic has its own frustrations:
- Video support is really spotty and slow.
- If I want to show photos to friends and family, we all have to wait around for 5 minutes or more while Lightroom prepares its slideshow.
- Performance is bad. I know it was supposedly a focus of the latest update but it's still the slowest app on my computer; and I do everything from software development to 3D rendering.
- Sorting by date has been getting increasingly worse. The dates listed in the metadata section are right but they don't sort in that order. (I've found that for photos that get out of order, an Edit Capture Time command with no actual changes will serve as a workaround.)
I know, I know, it does sound like I'm just complaining. I guess I'm hoping someone will say either, "Oh, if you change settings X, Y, and Z, a lot of this goes away!" Or, "Have you tried this other product that will make everything wonderful for you?" Or something. Otherwise, perhaps my list of CC issues will help others decide when it's the right time to transition.