Why I will not buy Lightroom 5.0
“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
- Sam Walton
I could have also titled this: “Why I don’t love Adobe anymore” or “Loosing my religion”. Heck, I could come with a bunch of them.
- The problem
- Suggested solutions (Part 2 … to come)
- Alternatives to Lightroom (Part 3 … to come)
When Lightroom 4.0 came out I didn’t think it twice and upgraded from LR 3.6. Why wouldn’t I? Lightroom 4.0 had a lot to offer: an improved process version, soft-proofing, maps integration and a variety of other improvements. What I didn’t know was that all that came at a (high) price: A very poor performance that would increase my workflow and editing time by more than 10 times! But what is wrong with Lightroom 4.0? (or 4.1 or 4.2RC for what matters)
I have listed below a short list of some of the problems I have found with LR 4.x so far:
- Sluggish sliders (Develop Module)
- Non-responsive program message at different times
- Very slow reaction of the Spot Removal tool
- Difficult operation of the Grad Filter
- Slow reaction of the Crop tool
- Incredible long times importing and exporting photos
- Poor performance when using two monitors
For more details on what other users are experiencing, you can check Adobe’s longest thread in the Lightroom forum: “Experiencing performance related issues in Lightroom 4.x“. Throught the 33 pages of comments here (at the time of writing this blog), users report their problems, are asked to report what system they have and are entertained with (mostly) useless causes of why it is not performing well. Don’t get me wrong, some of the proposed solutions have solved some (or even all!) the problems that a small group of photographers have experienced but it distracts users with the same problem and people thinking in buying/upgrading to LR 4 from the main problem: Lightroom 4.0 has big issues that Adobe need to solve and that months after (prematurely IMO) released LR 4.0 are still standing. Users that report encountering these problems own PC’s, Mac’s, old computers, new and powerful computers. The image below shows what my perception on what’s going on on Adobe’s forums is:
But why won’t I buy Lightroom 5.0? All softwares have problems and bugs, right? Yes, that is true. It is the lack of transparency, the lack of response from Adobe and the way this particular issue has been handled that will make me think twice, or even wait on upgrading to Lightroom 5.0 when it comes out. That is if I didn’t change my workflow by then and didn’t leave out LR then. Because, if Adobe doesn’t fix this problems until the next big version of LR, I won’t have another choice than moving to one of the Lightroom alternatives.
But wait… Maybe I am just ranting and LR is not really working slowly right? Find below a video of part of a wedding editing session. Let me know if this is an acceptable behaviour of a professional-level software.
I like starting all my blog posts with a quote relative to what I want to discuss so I did a quick search on “customer service quote” and click on the first link I got. These, together with the one at the beginning of the post, are my top 10. In my opinion, Adobe should read them all and do something about it. At this point they fail at every single one of them.
- “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
- “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
- “Well done is better than well said.”
- “Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”
- “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”
Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com
- “In the end, the customer doesn’t know, or care, if you are small or large as an organization. She or he only focuses on the garment hanging on the rail in the store.”
- “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”
Jerry Gregoire, CIO, Dell Computers
- “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”
- “Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.”
In part 2 I will summarize the proposed solutions as well as give a general guidance to keep lightroom running as good as possible. Of course, these solutions only help taking away from the equation our part on Lightroom performance. Still Adobe needs to solve a problem that has been outstanding for half a year already! Many people are suggesting the issues with LR 4.0 won’t get solved until the next big release (5.0) meaning that loyal Adobe customers will be punished for, well… being loyal! They will have to pay for a non-working release of Lightroom + a new release where Adobe (maybe) fixed what should have been fine from the beginning.
(to be continued…)