Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Lightroom Manifesto

Jim Harmer (via Michael Tsai):

Adobe has made VERY few updates to Lightroom (computer version) in the last two years. The pace of innovation has been so slow that I felt certain they were working behind the scenes on a complete re-write of the program to vastly improve the speed and put it on par with programs like Capture One or Photo Mechanic (for culling). After yesterday’s poll, it seems apparent that they are just now seeing that there is an issue in the first place.

I went from Aperture — RIP, friend — to Lightroom and I remember it being lightning quick at processing RAW files. One of the hardest adjustments I had to make after adopting Lightroom is just how much slower it feels, even when handling RAW files off my phone — never mind how it feels when using the much larger files from my camera. It’s not slow because I have a 2012 MacBook Air; it’s slow compared to other apps that process RAW files on the same machine.

[Since 2015], we have another option for stitching a pano, another way to straighten lines in photos, and a way to compare two photos on the screen. Everything else was just bug fixes and camera/lens support updates. This pace of innovation simply does not warrant paying monthly for a subscription.

Subscription-based pricing isn’t a suitable model for every app, and it places a big burden on developers. They must iterate and update frequently to justify the cost of a subscription, but they must not alienate existing customers by doing too much — consider every angry tweet and status update every time Twitter or Facebook make a major change.

I’m not sure, but I think complaints — even valid ones, like those raised by Harmer — would be less frequently hurled at developers if their apps were not priced on a subscription basis. Shipping apps that can be updated at any time might also set up the expectation that they will be updated all the time.