Adobe has been slowly moving away from “one-time fee” software and forcing you into a subscription model. They started this back in 2013 and since they will be moving towards this subscription-only model, you will have to switch over at some point. Is that fair to the consumer? Yes and no. They always stop supporting older versions at some point, but they haven’t always forced you into a subscription. The most recent software to move to subscription only is Lightroom. The big question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not the price compares. Are we getting taken by Adobe, or is this a better deal for consumers?
The regular one-time fee version of Lightroom 6 used to cost $149 while the Creative Cloud version comes at $9.99 per month. That’s either bundled with Photoshop CC and 20 GB of cloud storage or without Photoshop CC and 1 TB of storage. Essentially, the Lightroom 6 price is the same as buying 15 months of the Lightroom CC subscription plan. If you’re someone who renews every 2-3 years, let’s say, you are going to lose money by switching over to Creative Cloud. They are offering you 1 TB of storage, but is that enough these days? Not likely when you are getting really high-resolution pictures from some fancy cameras. However, Adobe is proposing to extend the cloud storage in line with the price of the competition.
The Creative Cloud Photography plan, which combines Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC plus 20 GB of cloud for $9.99 per month is actually really competitive compared to the price of the previous version. How do other Adobe applications stack up when it comes to the subscription service? The next bullet points outline what the one-time fee is, versus the subscription cost. I also outline at what point the subscription plan becomes more expensive than the one time fee:
- Photoshop: $699 versus $19.99 per month – 2 years and 11 months
- Premiere Pro: $799 versus $19.99 per month – 3 years and 4 months
- After Effects: $999 versus $19.99 per month – 4 years and 2 months
- In Design: $699 versus $19.99 per month – 2 years and 11 months
- Illustrator: $599 versus $19.99 per month – 2 years and 6 months
- Dreamweaver: $399 versus $19.99 per month – 1 year and 8 months
I use different Adobe applications quite extensively for work, and I would argue that the cost itself isn’t really the best reason to ditch Adobe. But rather the poor optimization of its software. Lightroom rendering is known for underusing the computers processing power. It’s expected that the new version will correct this problem. Premiere Pro and After Effects are having the same problem with sluggish playback when the CPU and RAM are stuck at 30-40% of use. Another issue comes from the bugs and instability associated with Creative Cloud. Some users prefer to delay the updated because each wave tends to introduce new problems.
But there are alternatives! Well, the list is certainly expanding. Capture One, for example, has advanced studio and tethering functionalities. DxO OpticsPro is a good option. If you’re looking for video options – Avid Media Composer is an option, but so is Final Cut Pro X if you’re using macOS.
It’s not exactly easy to give a definitive answer about the pricing structure of Adobe Creative Suite. If you’re only using Lightroom, the Creative Cloud version is much more expensive than before. The standalone version, as we said, was only $149, so you will use that up in 15 months in the subscription model. Like we said though, the bigger issue is the instability of Adobe. If you’re on the fence because of the price, look into something else because you’ll end up with a better product.