Five Ways Lightroom Is Just Better

Five Ways Lightroom Is Just Better

Following up from last’s week’s article about Capture One, today, we’ll take a look at its main rival in the raw processing field, Lightroom. To keep things on a relatively level playing field, I’ll be discussing what is now called “Lightroom Classic,” the desktop version of Lightroom.

As with last week’s article, I’m expecting that a lot of our visitors won’t actually read the article, and we’ll have a fairly emotional comments section. Again, we’ll be looking at the more objectively better features rather than the subjective ones like noise reduction and highlight/shadow handling. So, for those of you who do take the time to read this, I hope that it stirs some thoughts in you about why Lightroom is a good choice for you or what might make it better for your needs. Please try to keep the comments section on topic and discuss the pros and cons of both pieces of software so we can make this a valuable discussion for those who might be looking at both pieces of software.

Functions Outside of Raw Development

Adobe has introduced some extremely useful tools to Lightroom that make it a much more fully featured post-production suite than Capture One. A couple that come to mind are the DNG panorama and HDR merge functions. These make it simple to perform basic panorama stitches and HDR merges while staying in Lightroom and not relying on external software. While you'll still need to jump into a pixel-level editor like Photoshop for certain tasks, these are a great option in many situations. 

One of the ones I didn't even think about before making the move for most of my work to Capture One was the simple ability to synchronize cameras. Wedding and event photographers frequently make use of multiple bodies during shoots and having those files in the correct running order can be extremely important. With Lightroom, you can quickly and easily sync cameras whose clocks were different at the time of shooting. 

Third-Party Support

Adobe allows developers access to the inner workings of Lightroom in the form of a robust API and even access to the raw processing engine through their improved "camera profiles." This has allowed for plugins like Nik and Aurora HDR to make their way into full Lightroom integration. It has also allowed companies like VSCO and RNI to create very powerful film simulation preset packs. Additional hardware, such as MIDI decks and even the Loupedeck products are fully compliant with all tools in Lightroom.

Robust Catalog System

While Capture One offers two basic workflows, Catalogs and Sessions, Lightroom offers only a catalog system but does it extremely well. Simple tasks like moving images between catalogs are straightforward and powerful. You can choose to send adjustments, raw files, smart previews (or any other preview for that matter) between catalogs. This process is painless and does exactly what the wording in the program says. 

This sort of functionality is great for having catalogs that serve multiple purposes. For example, you might keep a small working catalog for your current jobs on a super-fast internal NVMe drive and then move each job into an archive catalog on a slow spinning drive when it’s done. Lightroom facilitates this in a straightforward manner that takes all your work and drops it into another catalog. 

Another function that is extremely useful in Lightroom's catalog is the ability to select multiple folders or collections at the same time and see their contents together in a single slider. Lightroom's catalogs and organization features are far more robust than Capture One's when it comes to viewing and managing large numbers of files. 

Mobile Support

Bouncing off the last point, Lightroom offers the ability to sync your work across to a mobile device for working on the go. This is great for people who need to take something light and simple such as a tablet or phone on the go so they can make the most of commute time or time between jobs. Having Lightroom sync smart previews and the presets you work with across to a mobile device quickly can be a huge time-saver for some. 

Well-Named Interface Components

I mentioned above that the options for exporting between catalogs were well named and made sense. This is a trend that continues throughout the program. Features are thoughtfully named and do exactly what you expect them to. Presets are presets and the export option exports files.  Capture One allows you to both export and output files or create a preset or a style. These unnecessary distinctions give Lightroom the upper hand when it comes to the simplicity of executing simple tasks. A first-time user should have very little trouble navigating the software and performing basic tasks. 

In Conclusion

These are a few of the places that I feel Lightroom does better than Capture One. On the Lightroom end, things that stand out to me most are the move to being more than just a simple raw development package and the ability for third-party developers to expand the program. These are what, in my opinion, make Lightroom a compelling option. 

Have you chosen Lightroom as your software of choice? What are the biggest positives for you? Where does it fall short?

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68 Comments

Mr Hogwallop's picture

I use both.

Bert Nase's picture

I use both, too. To be honest their are still too much things I don't like with C1. Cropping for instance. They think they did it right in C1.20 but just to emphasize the handles isn't enough. If you have to tilt or rotate you have to switch the tools. The thumbnails always show the complete uncropped pic. Sometimes the cropped region isn't visible if you have dark pics etc. The workflow and assets handling is just not good enough if you are in a hurry to deliver. I even can't wait 15-20min for importing 800 pics. And so I could count endless more. The only thing is image quality where I use it for selected pics (and even their for some pics LR works better). C1 copied the new "hdr" section from LR but forget to copy the right tools to correctly set white and black points (option key in LR).

And last but not least C1 is already available as subscription model. Taking the update prices for C1 I pay more per year than with Adobe (LR + PS)!! Not to mention that I'm asking myself what was worth major version of C1.20? Marketing and update fee. And I never had that many crashes of C1 since C1.20. At least they fixed the theathring problem.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

I bought the V20 but then heard all the crash stories, are you on a mac or pc?
I thought I was the only one bothered by the lousy crop tool :)
LR gets used when I need to power thru a pile of images for quick delivery, C1 and PS is where I do the rest of the work...

Roger Knopf's picture

Bert, apparently you haven't found the rotate handle in V20's crop tool yet.

Also C1 has long had the ability to set white and black points, it's just different from how LR does it.

Dave Morris's picture

I use both too. Capture One clearly has better selective color adjustments while LR does real magic when paired with RNI Films 5 and turns any digital image into the output of a Noritsu film scanner.

Speedwise Lightroom has improved a lot too and doing just fine while C1 became slower in v20. To me they are both doing just fine and they are different, so there is no clear winner here.

Thomas H's picture

Me too! The latest, newest Lightroom 6.14 and Capture One 20. :-) You know what I mean.

And yes, Capture One has its issues, still unsolved. When I imported a LR catalog it said something like "6000 incompatible files ignored", but I do not know which ones exactly. C1 does not show number of images in sub directories, one need to step down to each one separately to see in which directory are these "incompatible files." In all cases these are the older "lesser camera" raw files, like the early Leica/Lumix and all such.
Also, Capture One does not show timestamp in the viewer or the grid view. Such a tiny detail, so annoying. One need to go to the Info-tab to see all the details. Low and behold, they know the timestamp and the lens being used.
Furthermore, Capture One has numerous errors in processing raw files of the "lower cameras" such as the travel Lumix ZS200. I have to again ping the support and show them the examples. I hoped they would have fixed that with their update to V20.

Generally Capture One targeted the top tier user and equipment, and the transition into a mass product for masses is not yet quite polished.

Andrey Lutsenko's picture

I've migrated to C1, but Lightroom to me is only better in 3 ways, cataloging, ease of use and availability of info, and as the article mentions mobile support. C1 is objectively better in everything else. Adobe needs to get their head out of their asses and stop relying on people being locked into their subscription model, or stuff like C1 (and possibly Luminar soon enough), and Affinity photo are gonna dance on its grave once people realize that they can outright buy software and not be locked into silly bs with Adobe.

Graham Goodman's picture

I find it interesting the absolute certainty with which some people believe that apps like C1 will never be subscription based. Adobe aren't doing anything unique. They are simply doing what every other major software vendor is trying to do once they've saturated the market with a mature product but still need revenue to maintain it.

It's easy for C1 to be sold on a perpetual license while it is trying to capture Adobe's market share because it is a key differentiator between the two products. Given that a significant percentage of C1's new license sales are from migrating LR customers, they have to keep that differentiator to drive their revenue. But what happens when all the LR users who will migrate have done so? Where is C1's revenue stream, then?

So, if you want C1 to remain a perpetual licence based product then you had better hope that they they don't end up dancing on the grave of Adobe. Because, if they ever do replace Adobe as the market leader, the chances that C1 will remain a perpetual licence based product will diminish rapidly.

The irony is that all those C1 advocates who express their derision at Adobe's business model need Adobe to remain the biggest player in the market to protect the C1 licence model that they value so highly.

Timothy Linn's picture

C1 is taking a different approach from Adobe. They aren't eliminating the perpetual license. Instead, they're making it more and more expensive to choose that option. The cost of a perpetual license upgrade has doubled over the last five years. The penalty for skipping an upgrade has gone up too; for v20, it is an extra $40 for users not upgrading from v12. Based on what we've seen, it wouldn't surprise me if C1 is planning on making a perpetual license so expensive that the majority of customers will just rent. I hope I'm wrong.

Ed Sanford's picture

Basically, it's what Graham said.... They are moving to a subscription model... They are driving the process through pricing. This is very common in the software market.

Andy Day's picture

Some great points there, Graham. I spoke to the guys at C1 a few weeks ago and they don't plan to move to SAS only but they also said that they're not ruling it out. I think you're completely right - I would imagine that any software developer with Adobe's market share would be foolish not to move to subscription over one-off purchase.

Dan Marchant's picture

From a business point of view (rather than from our customer POV) a subscription model is better than a once a year/eighteen months upgrade model. Regular small amounts throughout the year make running a business much easier than getting one huge influx of cash when a new version is released every 18 months.

Ed Sanford's picture

Absolutely correct. It provides a revenue stream that funds salaries, overhead, R&D etc.... Business has to thrive in order to produce that products that users want.

Timothy Roper's picture

General consumer interest in C1P is pretty recent, and probably caught Phase One a little off-guard. I'm sure they're happy to have it supplement their hardware business, but unlike Adobe, they still have a camera business to run. So the two companies' business models are completely different and have nothing to do with each other--at least right now.

Thomas H's picture

Let me say it again, the serious warning about software subscriptions.
Assume you are on a serious photography job, but recently your credit card number was changed: one more of the bogus charges somehow popped in your statement.

You point your pro-body, press shutter, but the camera merely beeps and a message shows: "Your subscription to the Firmware 3.4 has expired. Please update your payment method for the firmware license." Totally stressed you punch in new credit card number into your flimsy camera menu, just to get it going. After several shots the camera beeps again, its the Sigma firmware, it expired as well. You face a dilemma: Change a lens to the different focal length native one, or rather work through the Sigma login and update the payment method.

Farfetched? Think again. If we will accept software for rent, what will stop hardware makers from doing the same? I think that the issue is so deadly serious, that we need in the US a CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT to prevent this from happening. Software is not like water or electricity, where we have to pay for the usage as it goes, or they will shut off the main valve. Adobe came out (after Microsoft, both cases with their Indian CEO's) with the outlandish scheme to enslave people, and the flood of money gives them the justification for the shoulder pad "job well done."

I say "Photographers of the World, People, Unite. All you can lose are your chains." Got that? If you are a pro, working day in, day out on making top photography, subscription may make sense. For me it does not. I have a back log of 11 months of unprocessed images(!), no time at all. No energy for that, I just make more images and look at them a bit. Office life and family life are too engaging. And hundreds of millions of people are like me. What in Gods name would I be paying for? Its not about the $10, we pay thousands a months for living, food and gas, its about the principle. Stop paying for Abode, stop it now, or you will face consequences tomorrow on a dramatic larger scale.

Graham Goodman's picture

Your firmware example isn't a valid comparison.

We don't subscribe to software to get bug fixes. We're legally entitled to those free of charge, regardless of the license model, under various "fit for purpose" consumer protection laws. We subscribe to software to get new features.

With non-upgradeable hardware, the options to add significant new features through firmware upgrades are significantly constrained. So the benefit from a consumer's perspective would be too low to invest in a hardware vendor that forced that model on you. From the hardware vendor's perspective, they want you to pay for a new piece of hardware to get new features. So there is no market force on either side making this attractive.

As for needing a constitution amendment? Seriously?

You don't have a legal right to use a vendor's software. Software exists in a commercial, capitalist market that is subject to all the usual economic market forces. Software vendors must have a legal right to come up with a commercial model that allows them to be a viable business. To think that the response to your constitution change by the software industry would be to use perpetual licenses if you make that change in law is folly. They will only make that change if they think that they can still make enough of a profit long-term to justify undertaking the risk. If they can't, the response from the industry will simply be to not produce the software.

Or even worse, only produce the software for a very short period of time and then stop as soon as they've grabbed as much of the market share as they are ever going to get and see their license revenues fall below sustainable levels.

My original DAM was Apple Aperture. Loved the product. If Apple still supported it, I'd probably still be using it rather than LR. When Apple decided to kill Aperture, I was left with a library of 40k images in software that I knew one day would simply stop working. I've still not completed the migration all these years later.

My library has now grown to well over 100k images. I am not a full-time pro, but I will still gladly spend $10 a month to increase the chances that I never have to go through the pain I experienced when I had to stop using Aperture. So, please, don't be so presumptuous as to tell me to stop paying for Adobe. I know what I'm paying for; the long-term security of my image library. And the current cost is consistent with the benefit I'm getting.

Karim Hosein's picture

«We're legally entitled to those free of charge, regardless of the license model, under various "fit for purpose" consumer protection laws.»

No, you are NOT! You may possibly be entitled to bug fixes, —have you read the EULA of any recent software title???— but you are NOT entitled to addition features or protections with firmware updates. Besides, just as it it argued that one does not buy software, but a license to use the software, the same holds true for the firmware.

The hardware is yours. Do what you will with it. If it is faulty, they may have to repair/replace it under law. But is the firmware yours? Did you buy it? Seriously, did you? Look in the “About” section of your smartphone. Now do the same for your desktop, and laptop. I'll wait….

You do not own the firmware on your DSC either.

P.s., last year, (or was it 2018???), a major camera manufacturer charged people for a firmware update to one of their flagship models. No, I am not speaking of Pentax. The charge there was for a hardware upgrade. Pentax firmware upgrades are always free. Do you remember the event?

Graham Goodman's picture

<<You may possibly be entitled to bug fixes, —have you read the EULA of any recent software title???— but you are NOT entitled to addition features or protections with firmware updates.>>

Which is exactly what I said? "We don't subscribe to software to get bug fixes. We are legally entitled to those free of charge."

And I think you are treating firmware as being too distinct from the hardware. Consumer protection laws only care that the device being bought is fit for purpose (and EULAs are not allowed to restrict consumer protection laws). They don't care if the fix to make it so needs to be done within software or be a physical change. If there is a bug in the firmware that stops the hardware behaving in a manner that could be described as "fit for purpose", you are covered under consumer protection laws.

And yes, I am aware of paid firmware upgrades for certain Panasonic, Canon and Sony devices. But I think you have to look at what is actually being offered in those upgrades before trying to predict a "doomsday scenario" where all firmware will become subscription based.

The upgrades being offered were not evolutionary in manner. They were much more in the "premium add" category that not every buyer of the hardware will want. It's a way for hardware vendors to provide two models marketed to two different target audiences but keeping costs down by only building one physical unit. It's something that server manufacturers have been doing for years.

But it means that the hardware was designed from the start to be able to support those extra features. The point I made was that the nature of hardware means you are far more restricted as to what bonus features you can offer through firmware over the product's lifespan. Software alone is not going to turn my 5 fps camera into a 15 fps camera. It's not going to turn my f/4 lens into an f/2.8 lens. Unless you've got a very inefficient focussing algorithm, you're not going to make my camera focus quicker without upgrading hardware components inside.

That's why I don't believe the market will support subscription-based firmware. The version of LR that I will be subscribed to in five years time is likely to be a significant improvement to the version of LR that I have now. So, there will be a market that will tolerate a subscription model if it is priced similar to mandatory upgrades every year (as LR is). The firmware version in my camera will be almost identical to the one that I have now. So, consumers will be far more reluctant to commit to a subscription model for software that is largely static.

Karim Hosein's picture

I apologise. I misread the sentence. I re-read and see what you said. Nevertheless, everything else I said still stands.

I also was not the one with the dooomsday scenario of a FaaS, but it is at te bottom of that slipery slope, as described by that poster.

«It's a way for hardware vendors to provide two models marketed to two different target audiences but keeping costs down by only building one physical unit.»
So FaaS. Yes. You buy the hardware, but it won't work to its fullest potential unless…. Indeed, HP did that with an HP branded Teak DVD burner. The Service, however, was both a firmware and driver issue.

They sold a model which only did RW-DVD, and another model which did RW+DVD. The hardware was identical, the difference in the firmware was how it identified itself to the system. The Teak model had its own identity, and the two HP models each had their own.

The HP driver would only offer you RW-DVD or RW+DVD, depending on the firmware. I (and others) discovered this when I installed Linux on my laptop, (which had an HP RW-DVD burner), and saw an HP RW±DVD, (PnP, no drivers necessary). I thought it was a mistake, so I burned an RW+DVD and it worked. For the life of us, we could not get it to work on Windows. Those with the RW+ model found the same thing was true; it was an RW± model under Linux.

Likewise, as I mentioned with the Apple Magic Mouse, it has features under Linux that do not exists under Mac OS. Nothing is stopping camera manufacturers from doing the same thing. Your new camera, (Not your 20018 model, but the brand new 2032 model), can have FaaS just as easily, (until someone side-loads OpenUnity v3.2.0-04, with Linux kernel 12.3.32, in an attempt to run DD-WRT 38K-Newt for the quad-band, dual-WiFi-9 module, only to realise that the Canon EOS Rf-PDs mark IV, (US$899.95), does have a Touch DNA sensor on the control tip, just like the EOS Rai-LDXs mark II model, (US$6,449.95), and all its other features as well.

Besides, just as Pentax was able to upgrade customers from the K-1 to the K-1 II with a hardware module + firmware update, I can see —in the poster's scenario— the sale of a Nikon 10XR-III module for US$499.00, to upgrade the D1250 to a D1280, but the module will not work if the subscription is not current, (and stops working if it falls in arrears).

Now do I see that happening? No, but only because I see Pentax and Olympus bucking the trend. If, however, they both go under as naysayers have been saying for decades, then, yes. Faas is here to stay. 😉

P.s., the specific firmware upgrade I alluded to earlier was Fujifilm.

Thomas H's picture

Interesting. Yes, the issue with the firmware/driver/application conglomerate is upon us as well, for years. It started with the crippling of DVD and Blue Ray players, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which gave content makers the power to limit play-ability of DVD's. This was and is horrible, if you live in a multinational family and/or travel. It has to do with pricing, censorship and politics. Photography is also a "content," which might and is subject to similar laws on many places.

Software for rent is the next horrible scenario upon us. I have absolutely nothing against it, IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE. But Adobe took that choice away, in a sneaky way.

And they started to "experiment" with doubling the fees, remember? Why not? Maybe next fiscal year will than bring 20 billions.... Bigger home in Hamptons? Longer Yacht? Gold plated rails?

And they shipped warning letters to users to uninstall older versions, as being used outside of lawful agreement. That might force some users to spend thousands on unwanted hardware upgrades. Remember that?

And all this is only the beginning. When you decide to upgrade a product to a new version, you make a choice: Price for new functionality, which is known to you. In a subscription model you are taken for a ride. They upgrade or not upgrade what they want. You lose, its that simple. Especially if you use the product only sometimes.

Ed Sanford's picture

Constitutional Amendment? C'mon man give me a break. Our country is set up to let the market decide how some things are done. If you don't like a product or service or software, you have the freedom of not using it. A Constitutional Amendment is needed when the government forces you to do something.... not private industry.... OK please tell me that you were just joking......

Thomas H's picture

No joke, its an extreme idea, though. Of course, it should provoke a reaction.

I would settle to consumer laws instead, a more realistic and necessary measure.

You have to understand that majority of people do not grasp the damaging impact of repetitive small expenses. The famous example is to avoid eating a lunch for $8 at Starbucks, and get yourself a Mercedes for the savings in 10-15 years. Software for rent is a horrible trend, and the damage to consumers is massive. How else would Adobe gather these 11 billions in all the sudden, with a basically similar software, and with most brain power going into collecting money and verifying subscriptions, and not into new functionality?

Ed Sanford's picture

Again, what you are discussing borders on socialism or even communism where the government over regulates business. We cannot be a society where the government makes choices for people or creates winners and losers. By the way, I sold software in the 90s for the company for which I worked. We barely made a profit and was in danger of dropping the product line which would have left our base of customers in a bad situation. Subscription services keeps software companies alive. It appears that it bothers you that a company makes a lot of money. The $11B is gross revenue; not profit. A lot of that money goes to pay salaries, vacation and benefits like healthcare for the employees since you seem to care about people. You really must look beyond the bottom line to truly understand business. By the way, the real reason that Adobe is the market leader is that they make a good product. Eventually, another player will disrupt their revenues. You want to have some fun? Go back to 1980, and see who were the top 10 computer companies at that time. Then, compare that to the current top 10. That exercise will teach you a lot about market economics and business.

Thomas H's picture

Here we go, the old tired rhetoric, compensating for a lack of understanding. Governments in all western countries do regulate business. Divestiture of AT&T comes to mind, anti trust laws, codes, consumer protection laws, environmental laws. I do software all my life long, and I assure you, the industry was and is doing well without resorting to the consumer money sucking schemes. We all know where the revenue goes (as you naively assume: vacations and benefits.) Here in the US it goes disproportionally toward generation of billionaires in shocking dimensions, of which known figures like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates by themselves state for years that they are under-taxed and that a change for a better distribution is needed.

Adobe "experimented" with $20 per month (doubling the fee), they shipped out warning letters to users to uninstall older versions, threatening with legal actions. That might force users to unwanted hardware upgrades of unknown cost. This is only a set of examples where this goes. My wife declared her older MS Office as too old and subscribed for $99 a year to a newer version, a bundle of stuff which she does not need. She wrote a few pages, and all this subscription has expired. She paid close to $200 for editing of a few pages, and ended up with nothing. So will end up one day many Adobe customers, when they will stop paying for subscriptions.

I will own things, not lend them. That's my capitalism.

Ed Sanford's picture

Most of what you say is inaccurate. I actually worked for AT&T and I was there for divestiture. In fact, I was on one of the transition teams and have intimate knowledge of how that went. I never said that there should be a regulatory free environment. Regulation of business is a positive when executed the right way. However, in the AT&T regulation, the industry actually became less regulated after divestiture than before. The reason why there has been a plethora of new products, services and capabilities is because the industry was opened to competition. Think about that. We went from heavy regulation of one company to an industry that is de facto deregulated with many players that effectively decreased the cost of services to the public. That is not empty rhetoric. That is far different from the government coming in and telling a company how to market their products. The best point that you made in your entire rant is that you will own things and not lend/lease them. That's precisely what the free market is all about. You get to make the choice. In the early days of telecom, users could not own their telephone services. They had to lease them from the likes of AT&T and other independent phone companies. Again, the free market has made that industry better. Now, your comment about Gates and Buffet is pure smoke screen. At the time of that comment, Buffet was in a major dispute with the government over a huge tax bill that Warren didn't want to pay. If he thought that he was so under taxed, he should have just paid the bill. In fact, any taxpayer who wants to pay more money to the government can do so. There is a line on 1040 that allows them to do that. Billionaires who make these statements do so to keep the government off their backs. So, your little socialist talking points are purely empty rhetoric and does not work in the real world. By the way, you are free to move Venezuela who has nationalized every industry and sets policy for all marketing and regulation.

Thomas H's picture

We are happy to have a titan of thinking of your format among us.

Lets use it as segue to return to photography:
Lets erect a National Monument to Adobe Customers, and maybe see if the CEO makes himself a new (bigger) Maharaja Palace from these billions, and lets organize a photography contest for best image of this monument. We hall rate these images 1 to 5, but we shall not require that they will be processed in Lightroom.

Ed Sanford's picture

Nothing that elaborate is needed. People can buy Lightroom if they want it or they can buy something else more to their liking... that's it... simple...

Brian Wetzel's picture

Capture One all day!!

Raico Rosenberg's picture

I’m a Lightroom user myself but you gotta stop posting these silly posts of LR vs C1 😂😂 it’s like some little children fighting in a playground

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