Times they are a-changin’. And so is Adobe Lightroom. Before the creative cloud, we had Lightroom 6. This was its own stand-alone program. One download, one payment and that was it.
Now, it has become a little confusing. I had gotten used to version 6, and then along came two new additions.
The two new options are Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC. And they are quite different from one another. Read on to find out how they differ.
What’s With the Naming?
When it comes to Lightroom 6 Vs Lightroom CC, both versions of Lightroom were available at the same time for the past few years.
The only difference was that Lightroom 6 was a program you owned forever. And Lightroom CC is only attainable through Adobe Creative Cloud.
That’s where the CC part comes from, and comes at a cost per month, not a one-off payment. Lightroom 6 costs $149 for a full license. CC costs $9.99 per month, but you also get Photoshop or 1TB of cloud space alongside it.
Adobe started adding editing tools and features to the new Lightroom CC. These new features don’t exist in Lightroom 6. The dehaze tool and local adjustments to the “whites” and “blacks” sliders are only a few.
In February 2018, Adobe announced a new Lightroom product. Enter Lightroom Classic. It has the same exact interface as the other two versions. And it still uses the same camera raw tools, yet it’s different.
It’s meant as an update to the Classic and 6 versions.
Differences Between Lightroom Classic and CC
So what exactly are the differences between Lightroom Classic Vs Lightroom CC? Importing images is one area where the CC version has changed.
Lightroom Classic has the interface you are most familiar with. The import window includes options to add to collections and adjust metadata.
You can even add keywords. You can also change the destination, and even apply presets while importing.
The CC version only lets you add to an album. This makes it easier and simpler for beginners but stops those time-consuming features.
Lightroom classic allows you to organize your images into collections and collection sets. And it allows you to navigate using the folders on the desktop.
Smart collections organize your images for you. You have to set certain parameters, such as rating, flags, or keywords, are set.
Lightroom CC uses albums instead of collections, but they are very similar. They are created by Lightroom and named by image creation date.
One feature that Lightroom CC outshines the classic sibling is in its use of AI. This version searches through your images, using facial and object recognition.
This means it can spot famous landscapes in your photography and organize them. You don’t need to raise a finger.
Lightroom Classic is the same program that we’ve known for years. This is great for those of us who don’t want to re-learn how to use Lightroom for post-processing.
Sure it has a new name and a few added features, but the old stuff stays too. Everything gets done through the Lightroom modules. They did move the Exposure sliders and revamped the entire Develop side panel.
For example, adjusting exposure, contrast, and highlights and shadows. These are all under the Light section. White balance, vibrance, and saturation fall under the Color panel.
The organization scheme is easier for beginners to learn. Everything stays grouped together. Those familiar with earlier versions of Lightroom may have to do some hunting at first.
One of the best features in Lightroom CC are the hover-over buttons. If you are unsure what a feature is or does, it will tell you when you place your mouse over the area.
Not only with text, but by using images too.
At first, Lightroom CC didn’t include a tone curve tool, split toning, or HSL panel. Adobe has since added those features in.
Lightroom Classic has created a slider for each color, to lighten or darken. These are great for colored tints on the skin and helping you to create colored profiles.
Even black and white becomes more dramatic as you can control each shade of grey in your image.
All three Lightrooms (CC, 6 and Classic) can perform local adjustments. You can use the healing tool, adjustment brush, and graduated filters. Only Lightroom CC is missing the red-eye removal tool.
Lightroom Classic has had their radial and graduated masks revamped. Every other adjustment tool stays the same. Now, you can use the filters for color and luminance masking.
If you applied a graduated filter to bring details from the sky, you can now select the sky. But skip the trees and buildings.
You can then apply the color range mask.
All three programs include sharpening options. As well as noise removal, vignetting, and a dehaze tool. You can also find chromatic aberration and lens corrections. And cropping and straightening tools are also there.
One of my favorite areas in Lightroom CC is it’s helpful presets. Here, hovering over the desired preset will show you the effect on each adjustment.
There is also no problem importing pre-existing preset collections,. You can start right where you left off.
Lightroom CC is missing the HDR merging and panorama stitching. Both features are present in Lightroom Classic.
The Classic version proves it is the bigger brother in exporting possibilities. Lightroom CC only allows you to choose the destination. You can also choose between JPEG or original and to rename the file.
Lightroom Classic allows you to name and sequence images and albums on export. You can save photos in various file types and add custom image-based watermarks.
Controlling the level of JPEG compression is under your fingertips. You can also create and save and even export settings through presets.
The speed of any Lightroom program comes down to many factors. Most of these come from outside of the software. Your computer specifications are important.
Also, where you place your scratch disks. And how many other programs you are using. There are other factors that happen within Lightroom. How full your library or catalog is could slow down your editing.
Having smart previews alongside your images aimed at performance, not speed. Importing images into CC seems to be twice as fast as those imported into Lightroom Classic.
Adobe has since launched an update. This can improve import speed up to 20 percent in Lightroom Classic. Images imported through Lightroom CC get saved to your hard drive first. They are then uploaded to the cloud.
This gives you access to your images from anywhere. And it creates an automatic backup for your peace of mind. If you want to access cloud photos, not on the local hard drive, you will need to download them first.
Talking about smart previews. Lightroom has been syncing these for years. This makes them accessible for desktop and mobile devices. Lightroom mobile is available for both Android and iOS users, as well as other Photoshop mobile apps.
The creative cloud has never doubled up as backup service. Only smart previews got stored there, not raw files. In Lightroom CC, you can save the original RAW files along with their adjustments. This is very handy indeed.
For this reason, you will need more than the 20gb they give you as part of their photography plan. You might need closer to 1TB. You will get the terabyte in the package.
But you will need to drop Photoshop. Select Lightroom CC instead for the same, yet alternative, price.
Storage is one area where creative cloud has taken off. Allowing the syncing of images across platforms is a wonder. Downloading raw files from the cloud is time-consuming, but hey, at least it is possible.
How Much Does Lightroom Cost
As I said before, you can no longer buy Lightroom. You can only download it as part of Adobe’s Creative cloud service. This means a monthly payment plan. Once you stop the payments, you can no longer use the service.
This is even if you have downloaded the software and have been using it for a while. For $9.99 a month, you get both Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic.
On top of this, you also receive AdobePhotoshop CC. And your own portfolio website and 20GB of cloud storage.
For me, I couldn’t stand Lightroom CC. It doesn’t matter how much free storage you throw at me, I won’t leave classic.
The lack of import settings and the ‘dumbing down’ of other areas make the CC version feel like a beginner’ tool.
Ok, you are right. Both programs have different features, aimed at different people.
Lightroom CC is for the photographers who want to edit anywhere. The 1TB cloud storage will let you access your raw images across all platforms.
It is simpler, has fewer controls that make you want to scream and tear your hair out. Yes, the gap is closing between the two Lightroom programs, but not enough for me.
I like having more features to use. My photography can range from artistic and abstract, to documentary. And I love my collections too much to let them go.
Lightroom will continue to update each program. And develop the settings to help you create the best images possible.
Don’t have Lightroom? If you’re interested in trying a Lightroom alternative, check out our Capture one vs Lightroom article!