Goodbye Lightroom

Crippled and costly.

The new Lightroom CC. Cloud only.

With typically devious sleight of hand, Adobe has split Lightroom into two applications. The fully featured one is named Lightroom Classic CC and has the features of the standalone Lightroom 6 – you know, the one you used to buy and pay for once. The other crippled version, near useless if you are a standalone LR user, is named Lightroom CC. Both the new versions run in the cloud and are subscription models – yup, you fork over money to Adobe monthly or say hasta la vista to your images or your ability to process them.

So there are three objections here. One is the monthly payment model. Age confers many benefits, one being an absence of monthly payments. No thanks. The second is dependence on Adobe not to lose your images or to stay in business. Remember how everyone said Kodak and film would be around for ever? And the third, and greatest, is Ivan in the Kremlin hacking Adobe’s doubtless fragile servers and rendering access to your images impossible.

There is no need to submit to any of this. I remain happy with the standalone LR 6 which I last upgraded to on April 22, 2015, and have paid zero for since. Likewise, when I need something fancier for corrections I round trip the image from LR to Photoshop CS5 which I last paid to upgrade on July 10, 2012 and whose enhancements since have been low value-added bells and whistles. The snag here is that the Adobe RAW engine in both apps will not allow me to process RAW images form the very latest digital cameras but as I am very happy with my two Panny GX7 bodies that’s not yet an issue.

When it does come time to upgrade I will be looking at Capture One which does not need the cloud, avoids Ivan’s depredations and is paid for once, not monthly. It supports all the latest RAW formats so could even be used solely as a RAW converter, otherwise retaining the LR/PS work flow. Meanwhile, standalone LR6 remains an excellent digital management system with excellent cataloging, retrieval, filtration, output and printing capabilities and Adobe can shove their latest versions you know where.

Capture One beckons. $50 from Amazon, or four months’ payments to the ethically challenged people at Adobe.

Reader PB writes:

“Capture One Pro is good, but it’s only $50 if you have a Sony camera – they did a deal. Otherwise it’s $299.

I’ve been using it since Aperture got shelved, picking it over LR under the assumption that Adobe would do this eventually. C1P seems to release a new version annually, upgrades costing $99 and have been applicable for the previous two versions, so when 11 is released in the next few months I might upgrade my copy of 9.

Having tested a whole bunch of other open source and paid photo editors/asset managers I’ve found C1P to be easily the best. The last one I was hopeful about was ACDSee Photo Studio, or whatever it’s called, but their method of non-destructive editing is to change the source file, save a copy in another folder and the details in a separate file. So if you subsequently have to move your library to another application you have to manually go through and remove all the ACDSee changes to your files to restore the masters. Incomprehensibly useless. “

Photography is over

Lost in a sea of garbage.

Over nine years ago I wrote that photojournalism, as a profession, was dead. The iPhone killed it. Everyone is now a putative photojournalist and he will be at the scene well before the pro with his kit bag and boarding pass. You can read that piece here.

Now with online services where you post an image which promptly disappears, where everyone is a photographer, it’s not irrational to state that photography as a whole is over.

By that I mean the well composed, considered image, objects arranged in the frame just so in the interest of the best dynamic.

Film director Wim Wenders states it well:

“It’s not just the meaning of the image that has changed – the act of looking does not have the same meaning. Now, it’s about showing, sending and maybe remembering. It is no longer essentially about the image. The image for me was always linked to the idea of uniqueness, to a frame and to composition. You produced something that was, in itself, a singular moment. As such, it had a certain sacredness. That whole notion is gone.”

You can read the interview in The Guardian here.

The art and artifice of making a great image are no more.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973. Leica M3, 50mm Summicron, TriX. I spent many happy hours here in my youth.

Nikon D850

No, you do not need one.

The Nikon D850 may well be the most capable camera yet made. A jack of all trades it comes with extraordinary sensor definition, access to a vast array of the best in lenses …. and you do not need it.

While the stress which this body will place on your lens and computer gear is immense, what with a 46mp sensor and 7fps continuous frame rate which will dictate more money for the very best lenses, the fastest CPUs and SSDs and just about everything else in the chain, the bottom line is that for – I’m guessing here – 99.9% of users the camera is total overkill. That’s because those 99.9% display their images on iPhones and tablets and small computer screens. The technology in that sensor is wasted.

If you want to read a comprehensive review the folks at DP Review do their usually excellent job. Click here.

Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics last week for his decades long work in the field of behavioral economics. Scoffed at by classical economists for years, for they argue that man is a perfectly logical decision maker in matters economic, we all intuitively know that his views are right. We are irrational beings who do not make coldly objective decisions. A YouTube video, a 62 second clip of a discussion between Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, goes a long way to debunking those classicists’ belief that money is a purely fungible commodity.

Were it not for the realities of behavioral economics, cameras like the Nikon D850 would never have been made as the professional audience which can justify the technologies therein is too small to turn a profit. It’s amateurs who need the bragging rights of 46mp and 7fps, and it’s behavioral economics which make this body a profit center for Nikon. Those amateurs have only irrational reasons for owning this body. Heck, maybe Professor Thaler will buy one with his prize money?

The Clark Art Institute

World class.

Sterling Clark made money in the smartest way possible. He chose his (grand)parents well. Grandpa was the co-founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company which created one of the great American industrial revolution fortunes. His grandson fell in love with art, especially the French impressionists, and had much of the collection paid for by the time of the Great Depression.

Surviving the latter, as smart money did, he became paranoid about the cold war destroying his collection in New York and moved it in the 1950s to Williamstown, Massachusetts, right by Williams College. The collection specializes in Renoir with a smattering of Monet, Sisley and Pissarro, along with some truly awful academic art by Jean-Léon Gérôme and William Bouguereau. Those can be excused in light of the strength of the Impressionist pieces. There are also several fine John Singer Sargent portraits.

My son and I visited the Clark on a revisit to WIlliams College and had a fun time of it.

The entrance space is large, light and airy.

The pool uses recycled water. Of course. (Isn’t all water ‘recycled’?)

Winston enter the main gallery through the modern addition in back.

Severe but well done, the architecture of the addition integrates well.

Maybe the finest Renoir collection this side of the Louvre.

If Renoir is your thing, a visit to the Clark is recommended.

Panny GX7 snaps, 12-35mm f/2.8 Vario lens, a universal purpose lens of stellar quality and low bulk.