13 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2017 5:44 PM by johnrellis

    Timing of Lightroom releases

    johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

      A frequently asked question is, when will the next release of Lightroom come out?  A related question is, how long will it be before my new camera is supported by Lightroom? 

       

      Adobe almost never comments on the timing of future releases, and anyone who knows the date of the next release isn’t allowed to disclose it.  But in the nine years that Lightroom has been available, Adobe has been reasonably consistent in the timing of its releases.  Thus, we can use past history to make reasonable guesstimates of the near future.

       

      Here’s a summary of Lightroom’s major and minor releases:

      major-releases.png

      Major Weeks gives the number of weeks between major releases (e.g. there were 75 weeks between 1.0 and 2.0). On average, a new major version of LR comes out every 85 weeks (1.6 years).

       

      Minor Days gives the average number of days between minor releases (e.g. between 6.3 and 6.4). Prior to version 6, minor releases came out on average every 93 days.  But in version 6, they’ve come out more frequently, 56 days on average.  I’m counting as a “minor release” any release that contains support for new cameras; that includes 5.7.1 and 6.1.1, but excludes the “patch releases” 6.0.1 and 6.2.1 that contained urgent quick fixes to bugs in the prior releases.  Even if we didn’t count 6.1.1 as a minor release (it included support for 16 new cameras), the minor release cycle for version 6 would still be 70 days, much more frequent than previous versions.

       

      Here’s a graph showing the timing of all major and minor releases of both Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw:

      release-graph.png

      Note that major releases of LR and ACR don’t go in precise lockstep.

       

      A lot of interest (and some frustration) is expressed in this forum about the delay between when a new camera comes out and a new version of Lightroom that supports the camera. To understand Adobe’s past behavior, I analyzed all the newly supported cameras in LR 5 and 6, 158 in all.  The following table shows how quickly LR supported new cameras from each of the manufacturers:

      camera-cycles.png

      Overall, about 78% of all new camera models got supported in the first LR release after the manufacturer’s official announcement (release cycle 1). About 16% of new models didn't get supported until the second release after the announcement (release cycle 2).


      New Canons got supported quickly – 90% of new models appeared in the next release of LR.

       

      But only 77% of Sony models and 73% of Fujifilm models appeared in the next release of LR.

       

      A few cameras got supported in release cycle 0, meaning the date of the manufacturer’s official announcement was after the date of the LR release containing support for the camera.  (I generally used the date of the press releases as published in Dpreview.com.)  Perhaps Adobe had access to pre-announcement cameras.

        • 2. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
          johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

          Most recent data:

          Cameras in LR 5 and 6:

          • 3. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
            99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I think past data is not necessarily reliable. I'm guessing Adobe and Adobe stock holders are more than happy with the take-up of subscriptions and repeat revenue.

            • 4. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
              johnrellis Most Valuable Participant
              I think past data is not necessarily reliable.

              The past data certainly can't predict "black swan" events, such as major changes in marketing and product-development policies (e.g. CC), major departures from its development team, or huge boo-boos like 2015.2 / 6.2.  There's a fair amount of variance, but the data does provide reasonable expectations, e.g. that LR 7 will come out in 1.5 - 2 years, that CC 2015 / 6 minor releases are happening much more frequently than LR 5 (53 days versus 85 days) and that Canons are significantly more likely to get supported in the next release after a camera's official announcement than Nikons.    I'm confident enough that I'll wager a modest amount of money, but not too much :->

              • 5. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                Jao vdL Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                This is great John! Didn't realize there were this many releases per year nowadays. There are indeed a few companies that share prerelease cameras with Adobe. Unfortunately not the biggest two which causes a lot of pain and confusion on these forums as invariably people immediately buy them and are shocked to find Lightroom/ACR don't support them out of the box.

                • 6. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                  johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                  LR CC 2015.7 / 6.7 took 57 days, 5 days longer than the average for CC 2015.

                   

                  Here's the most recent data:

                   

                  Cameras added to LR 5 and 6 (see the first post for the definition of "release cycle"):

                  Here's the most recent spreadsheet with all the data.

                  • 7. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                    johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                    The following is entertaining educated guesswork informed by the data previously published in this thread -- I have no inside knowledge:

                     

                    It's now been 76 days since the last minor release of CC 2015 / 6  (2015.7 / 6.7).  The previous 10 minor releases averaged 52 days each, with the longest one at 71 days (but it spanned Christmas break, with Adobe's mandatory 9-day break).   So we're "overdue" for a minor release.

                     

                    The five past major releases ranged from 66 to 97 weeks, with an average of 85 weeks.  That would predict LR 7 being released anywhere between 7/25/16 to 3/2/17, with the average at 12/6/16 (tomorrow).  But LR 6 took 97 weeks, so perhaps LR 7 will take about as long too (3/2/17).

                     

                    Given that LR 6.7 is taking longer than the past minor releases of LR 6, this all suggests that Adobe might be releasing LR 7 soon.  It usually releases LR at the beginning of the week (most frequently on Tuesdays), so tomorrow?  

                     

                    Of course, past behavior is only a rough guide to future behavior, and it can't predict changes to business, marketing, or product development plans.

                    • 8. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                      bhousto90 Level 3

                      John,

                      As the questions are coming up in many recent threads would you entertain the idea of adding a chart for the timing of releases that add camera tethering support?

                       

                      -BH

                      • 9. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                        johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                        The next time I update the data (the next release) I'll take a look.  It takes a bit of time to gather the data from Google, but it's not onerous.

                        • 10. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                          elle567

                          I'd greatly appreciate a tethering chart as well. My work just got a Hasselblad H6D and it's unsupported and I don't want to return it if the tethering will (probably) work on the next update. Thanks for all your other information.... it's extremely helpful!!

                           

                          -EM

                          • 11. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                            ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                            The catch with tethering is that depending on the camera maker, Adobe may be waiting on an SDK from the camera maker that has tethering support for the new cameras. I know the Nikon cameras work this way. Not sure about any others.

                            • 12. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                              johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                              LR CC 2015.8 / 6.8 took 79 days, 27 days longer than previous average of 52 days for CC 2015.

                               

                              There have been a few hints on the forums from Adobe employees in the last few days of an impending release.   Based on past release timing, LR is "due" for a new major version soon -- the previous longest major release, CC 2015 / 6, took 22.5 months, which would put the date of CC 2017 / 7 at 3/2/17.  Minor releases in CC 2015 have been averaging 54 days, with a max of 79 days, putting the projected date of 2015.9 / 6.9 between 1/31/17 and 2/27/17.

                               

                              Though past behavior has provided a reasonable guide to future behavior, there's a fairly large variance in the data, and of course, there are many other factors driving release timing.

                               

                              Here's the most recent data for 2015.8:

                               

                               

                              New models from Leicas and Canons are more likely to be supported by LR in the release cycle following their announcement than other makes.  93% of new Leicas and 85% of new Canons are supported in the following release cycle, whereas only 70% of new Nikons are (the percentage of Leicas compared to that of Nikons is statistically significant with 78% confidence).

                               

                              There are two factors affecting this (at least): The typical lead time from an announcement to shipment of a new model (e.g. Nikon may announce earlier than Canon), and whether the manufacturer provides Adobe with pre-release cameras. (For example, Leica almost certainly provides Adobe with pre-release cameras.)

                              I haven't had time to gather data on tethering yet.

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 13. Re: Timing of Lightroom releases
                                johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                                LR releases are still coming out a little faster than once every two months (55 days).  Though 2015.9 was the longest CC 2015 release at 89 days,  2015.10 was the shortest at 35 days.  So if 2015.11 takes the average 55 days, we'll see it around 6/5/17.

                                 

                                CC 2015 / 6 is now 25 months old, 2.5 months older than any previous major version.  The other CC apps have released their next major version, CC 2017. So we're all expecting LR CC 2017 any year now...

                                 

                                But it's important to note that CC 0215 / 6 rolled out  lots of new features in minor releases (unlike past major versions), and a large fraction of its customers have moved to CC from the perpetual license, so perhaps there's much less revenue pressure on Adobe to release a new major version.  Maybe Adobe is waiting for Project Nimbus (the pure cloud version of LR) to be ready before it releases a new desktop major version?

                                Here's the data:

                                The table below shows the number of release cycles it takes from the announcement of a new camera until it is supported by LR.  Past versions of this table included data for both LR 5 and CC 2015 / 6, but this one includes data just for CC 2015 / 6 (since it has a much shorter release cycle):

                                Only 61% of announced cameras get supported in the next LR release (about one month), while 89% are supported by the second release (about 3 months). New Nikons are less likely to appear in the next release (44%) than Canon (74%) or Olympus (80%).  As discussed before, it may be that Nikon announces new models earlier than other brands (it's much harder to get US ship dates for camera models than it is to get announcement dates).

                                 

                                You can see the raw data here.