Moving to Lightroom on the Cloud
January 7, 2020 3:13 AM   Subscribe

I’ve been using Lightroom for over a decade, always on the desktop version. My new camera (Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII) isn’t supported by Lightroom 6, and so reluctantly I’m going to get the Lightroom on the cloud. Do you have any tips for migrating from LR 6 to the cloud (and maybe ultimately to a different platform entirely)?

I hate the idea of SaaS and subscriptions for programs. However, I need to upgrade in order to edit my Christmas photos, as the RAW files from my new camera are not supported by my version of LR.

So a two-part question for my 60,000 photo library:

1) do you have any tips for upgrading to the cloud version of Lightroom (I assume I’ll get the 20gb Photography plan, rather than the 1tb Lightroom plan, as I don’t plan to use the online storage) and
2) I’d like not to be paying $120 a year for the privilege of organizing and editing my photos; if I upgrade to Lightroom CC, how can I ultimately move to another platform that isn’t subscription based? I have no interest in reorganizing or re-editing a decade plus of photos, so if I have to redo that work, I think I’d balk!

posted by Admiral Haddock to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Lightroom Classic is included in the Creative Cloud subscription, and is basically the same Lightroom 6 you have now but with updates and new features. You can easily ignore Lightroom CC and all the cloud features if you want to, and your old edits and catalog will work as before. So no change apart from a monthly fee...

I use the Lightroom CC apps (especially on my phone and tablet) sometimes to import, edit and export photos from my camera when I'm not home, and then move them to my local catalog from inside Lightroom Classic and all my edits are kept, which means the 20Gb plan is fine for my use case.

The options for not paying a subscription fee are other paid software such as Capture One or free tools such as Darktable or Rawtheerape. Capture One seems to have an option to import a Lightroom Catalog, but I have no experience with it.
posted by rpn at 4:46 AM on January 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

I got a new camera recently and did the same jump.
You can easily ignore Lightroom CC and all the cloud features if you want to
...and you're gonna want to, because CC is hot garbage. It's just not as useful or as powerful as Classic.

I was super salty about the recurring charge until I realized I *am* getting something useful out of it: By leveraging the mobile version of LR and the cloud sync, it's now trivial to meld pictures taken on my phone into my normal cull-and-process workflow in LR on the desktop.

This didn't used to be a problem, since phone pix were bad, but in the last several years I've found a need here, and it's been awkward. The CC makes it less awkward.
posted by uberchet at 6:33 AM on January 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to switch, you might consider the open source alternative, Darkroom. Worst case scenario you hate it and you're out $0 and end up going with the Adobe SaaS instead.
posted by jzb at 7:01 AM on January 7, 2020

In the professional world we use Capture One Pro. They are trying to switch to a subscription model as well, but if you poke around their site you can still buy a license outright. It's certainly more expensive than LR, but I prefer just buying the software. C1 is - IMO - a lot more precise/powerful than LR so it's worth the cost, even if you're not using the tethering features.

Every once in a while I go back and use LR but the processing tools just seem..... more heavy handed, less subtle. The color processing in particular is not nearly as good as C1.

Personally I do not use the "Catalog" feature, which I know has an import for LR catalogs, but it does exist. You can do a 30 day trial to see how you like it.
posted by bradbane at 10:24 AM on January 7, 2020

Do you have to switch? Can you not use another RAW format? I shoot DNG on my Pentax, have for years, and found that obviated any waiting on LR updates to PEF, the Pentax RAW format. I am on LR6 desktop, W10 machine, and have no plans to change.
posted by GeeEmm at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2020

You could use Adobe's free dng converter program to convert the files from the RX100 to dng format which your version of Lightroom will import.

If you want to easily move files from one program to another, then you want to use folders for organization. You can also use ratings and many other parameters which are contained in the iptc data of each photograph. Any decent competitor to Lightroom works with iptc data. Don't rely on special features like Stacks. However, Lightroom has very good options for exporting your library, and there are third party plugins which add even more options and choices to the migration process.
posted by conrad53 at 5:23 PM on January 7, 2020

You can convert your Sony raw files to DNG format with a raw converter such as Iridient S-Transformer for US$36 and then you're good to continue working with your current Lightroom setup. I've used their X-Transformer for Fuji cameras and was very happy with the results, though file sizes can be on the large side depending on the settings you choose.

Or just download the Adobe DNG Converter and convert your raw files to DNG format for free.
posted by theory at 5:25 PM on January 7, 2020

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