Adobe releases Lightroom 6 – is it worth the upgrade?

box_lightroom6_150x150Today Adobe announced Lightroom 6 – the next major upgrade to its photo editing software.

Besides new features there is an even more important change: Adobe moves Lightroom into its Creative Cloud (CC). Fortunately Lightroom 6 is still available as a separate purchase option if you are not fond of Adobe’s subscription model (me included). The CC version which also includes Photoshop CC sets you back 9.99 USD (plus tax) in the US or 11.89 Euro in Germany (incl. VAT) per month. The standalone version (no subscription) is 149 USD (plus tax) and 129.71 Euro (incl. VAT) respectively.

The question it begs: Is it worth the upgrade?

Update (4/22/15): If you own any previous version of Lightroom the upgrade price is 79 USD (plus tax) or 73.78 Euro (incl. VAT).

Update (4/28/15): I have done a quick video overview of the new features and also a quick hands-on demo of the new filter brush. Click here to check it out.

Let’s have a look at what’s new in the standalone version:

  • Easily create HDR images
  • Create superwide scenes with stunning panoramas
  • Get faster performance 
  • Easily find photos of specific people with facial recognition
  • Create video slide shows that include still images, music and effects
  • Make HTML5-based web galleries
  • Get better control of filters with the Filter Brush 

If you go for the CC version you get the following new features on top of the standalone version:

  • Use Lightroom on Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad and Android devices
  • Access the full power of Photoshop CC
  • Synchronize photos across desktop and devices
  • Automatically import photos from mobile devices
  • Edit raw files on mobile devices with Smart Previews
  • Always stay up to date with the latest photography innovations from Adobe
  • Share photos via web galleries with Lightroom on the web
  • Get feedback on shared galleries in Lightroom
  • Cut out and combine images on mobile devices with Photoshop Mix
  • Get direct access to your Lightroom photos from the Adobe Voice and Slate storytelling apps
  • Access Lightroom photos from a growing list of partner apps and services
  • Learn from a library of in-depth video tutorials

I don’t know how you work with Lightroom today. But besides the greater performance (primarily using the GPU to a larger extent to accelerate processing in the background) which is good for 4k resolution monitors and the Filter Brush (which you can use to partially reduce or increase the effect of any filter you have applied to the image) I can’t really see anything that I would be needing above and beyond of what I have today in Lightroom 5.

The way I see it is that if you are using photo editing on your mobile devices you may want to consider upgrading to the CC version, there is a slew of features geared towards that audience.

But when you are exclusively editing photos on your desktop or notebook PC you are better off with the standalone version – if at all. Considering that you only get two new features that are really relevant, paying about 150 USD or 130 Euro doesn’t look very appealing to me.

Update (4/22/15): Considering that the upgrade price from previous versions of Lightroom is more or less half the full price, Lightroom 6 seems to be a more attractive option than I originally thought.

Let me know in the comments what you think of Adobe’s release of Lightroom 6.

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