For a long time, Adobe Lightroom was a great program. And then, for an even longer time, it seemed, nothing happened with Adobe Lightroom. The same could be said of a lot of Adobe programs, Illustrator, Photoshop, Lightroom, all of them and more are basically dying on the vine. And if you think letting things die on the vine is new to Adobe you do not know their history. They are spectacularly good about killing off their software and failing to capitalize on total market dominance.
The ongoing problem of course is what to choose as a replacement for Adobe’s biggest software titles. And despite the lack of significant improvements to Adobe’s software they do seem to somehow stay ahead of the pack in a few key areas. Namely in speed, UI, and reliability. While I can criticize Lightroom/Lightroom Classic all day long for their pathetic image quality and lack of advanced computational features that every Chinese phone camera has built in, I cannot criticize the fact that in general their software works, and their software is usually (to varying degrees) faster than any of the competitors.
For instance, while you can get great results with DxO Photolab, the export process takes about 10 times longer than it does with Adobe Lightroom. I think that matters to a lot of photographers in this society where we are really strapped for time.
The problem for me is, the more I work with my photos the more I see what is wrong with Lightroom’s image quality and it long ago reached and surpassed the point of absolute absurdity… it almost seems like Lightroom is getting worse and worse every release. The noise reduction is last place in the industry, and the colors are a mess even with Canon cameras. It is almost like they just don’t care anymore.
I’m starting to think that Adobe is happy to sit idly by and let the professional photographic industry fade into oblivion in favor of letting Apple rule the world of photography with their iPhone 12 Pro Max.
But is Adobe really to blame for this trend??? Well my friends, this is where it gets crazy…
A bit of history…
This may be a bit of a surprise to some people, but Adobe and Apple have had a close relationship for many, many years. This goes all the way back to the very beginning of desktop computing when Steve Jobs was creating the first Mac’s back in the 1980’s.
In fact, in 1985 Apple invested $2.5 million in Adobe in part to help them bring Adobe Illustrator to the Macintosh. Steve Jobs was crazed about the idea of “desktop publishing” and rightly understood that software was key to realizing his vision for the Macintosh and thus enlisted Adobe’s help in building software for the fledgling Mac platform. Then, in 1989 Adobe bought Photoshop, which had been a Mac program since 1985. It was not until 2 years later that Adobe made a PC version of Photoshop.
So in actual fact Adobe started out developing products for Apple and even more poignantly, they were PAID BY APPLE TO MAKE THOSE PROGRAMS.
If you think that is the end of the story, think again, Apple and Adobe have been waxing each other nipples ever since.
Putting 2 and 2 together…
Apple killed Flash.
Anyone who followed the early days of the iPhone remembers that it was notoriously anti-Flash… Shockingly, Safari did not support Flash Player at all… This was at a time when Adobe’s Flash player was installed in 99% of computers worldwide and was even included by default in Google Chrome. Remember when Microsoft tried to include Internet Explorer with Windows and got sued then publicly raked through the coals? Yeah, for some reason Adobe did not respond to Apple’s blatant anti-competitive behavior. And in just a few short years Flash is now gone from the internet just like Apple wanted.
The question is why did they kill Flash? Because Flash was just starting to develop as an application development platform, which would mean the entire internet could be used for desktop level applications. In fact many powerful applications were built on Adobe Flash even fully fledged image editors and word processors… but that is all dead and gone now.
Instead of having Flash applications on the internet free to publish by anyone with the know-how Apple decided to build their own App Store where everyone who sells there has to pay 30% of their revenue to Apple.
Now the App Store makes tens of billions of dollars for Apple every year. On its own the App Store makes more money for Apple in one quarter than Adobe’s entire business makes in a year… Is it making sense yet why Apple wanted to kill off free to publish Flash Applications?
Apple is now trying to kill the camera makers.
And Adobe is happy to let it happen because they are making money being Apple’s impotent lackey. You probably think I am talking crazy, but things have gotten to the point that this is the unavoidable truth. Adobe has not improved the image quality of Lightroom in years, maybe even a decade or more. They are not blind to reality. They simply do not want you to get better images because they want professional photographers to be stuck in a rut while the Apple iPhone is allowed to take over.
Yes, they want to kill the camera business to sell more iPhones.
They want you to give up on your fancy camera gear because even the new cameras cannot compete with the amazing iPhone (an absurd reality), and they want you to go buy an iPhone and edit all your crappy photos using Adobe Lightroom on your iPhone and save all your crappy edits to the Adobe Cloud or the iCloud, and they want you to have no other options but to keep paying the tithe to Adobe and Apple for the privilege of using an iPhone for your photography.
Because that is what capitalists do, they screw around with everything to try to make more money. Keeping the system going is more important to them than whether or not your last camera is better than an iPhone. They do not really care what you think about image quality or any of that, they just want MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.
I’m not playing along anymore, I am cancelling my Adobe account because Adobe is just waxing Apple’s nipples at this point and I simply do not want to use a goddamn iPhone for my photography, I do not believe in cellphone photography! And seeing where Adobe is headed, it is perfectly clear that they intend to support mobile photographers not professionals. I suggest everyone using a “professional” camera body just give up on Adobe as well, you will end up with worse images by sticking with Lightroom because THAT IS THEIR PLAN!
Also note that in all the recent years that camera phones have drastically improved, regular cameras have barely improved at all (another conspiracy I will not jump into here). The fact is, if regular cameras had improved at the same rate, which they undoubtedly should have, we are just being lied to on some level, you would be able to photograph the edge of the universe and take pictures in the middle of the night at 1 billion ISO.