You're right, it's a little early to be asking that question. Adobe has not announced the price for Lightroom 4.0. Previous versions have retailed for $299, and upgrades have been $99.00. But there are new modules in version 4.0, so the price may change. I "think" that in the past if you purchase Lightroom within 30 days of a new major version Adobe has given a free upgrade. Beyond that, you have to pay the upgrade price. If you can purchase Lightroom 3 for about $70.00, and IF the upgrade price remains at $99.00 as in the past, then it would be a good idea to go ahead and purchase now. But as far as I know the official release date for Lightroom 4 has not been announced. The beta will expire the end of March, and some are assuming that Lightroom 4 will be released at that time. But that isn't necessarily the case. Theoretically, there could be another beta release. There was last time. But that doesn't mean anything, and I don't know anything. If you purchase now it could be a good choice or you might regret doing it. At this point I think it is a coin toss.
Jim - that is kind of what I expected. We really don't know, and really can't be sure that past behaviours will accurately indicate future responses.
I did buy LR3 - at that price, I had to! If the $99 upgrade price holds, the total will still represent a good value. Only problem is that buying from B&H means buying a box - I would have been happy with a download, and would have had it a LOT sooner!
Plus, I have the LR4 beta to install. Lots of opportunities to learn....
I don't know if you have used the trial version of Lightroom 3. If you haven't, you could download and install that and use it until your box arrives. Then, all you would have to do is enter the serial number included in the box and you would be all set. If you take the time to install from the disk that you receive you will just have to upgrade to the latest version anyway. It's the same version as the trial version. Just a thought for you to consider.
So far the usual release cycle for Lightroom has been roughly every two years.
But as pricing models may change there is no saying how much you would have to spend to get the upgrade or usage rights for the latest version.
Still, tough chance not to get hooked - I am long past this moment ...
For sure the cheapest way for you would be to buy a copy of LR3 now at the very much discounted price and stay content with that, for years, if you wish. Then just never look at a beta version or delta-feature description of the next generation.
I just purchased LR3 Feb 28th with the 50% discount. Adobe confirmed with me today that if a product was purchased within 30 days of a release of a newer version ( LR4) that they would honor a free upgrade to LR4. Contact Adobe customer support and give them your purchase information for a free upgrade from LR3 to LR4 if you purchased withing 30 days of the new release!
Best to all,
My purchase of LR3 was on Feb 15, so I am withing the 30 day window.
How did you contact Adobe customer support?
I have just been all over the Adobe website, and can find no way of sending them an email message or directly requesting help via email or on their website. Just lots and lots of links to information that does not address the question.