Chasing Rays Blog

Lightroom CC Review

Lightroom CC Review

Description: A short feature review of Adobe’s new version of Lightroom, Lightroom CC
Item Reviewed: Lightroom CC/ Lightroom 6.
Date published: 22nd June, 2015.
My Opinion: 4.0/5.

It seems to me there’s little point writing an extensive review on Adobe Lightroom CC, or Lightroom 6 as a standalone product, as it’s newer stuff has all been done to death, in sometime excruciating detail, in various online reviews already.

Instead, I’m just going to concentrate on a couple of features – hardware acceleration, panorama/ HDR generation and face recognition – that are new to this version, and make a bit of commentary on whether I think it’s worth the upgrade to CC.

I have to be honest and say that I disagreed with Adobe‘s approach to this originally and so resisted getting an upgrade to my editing software for as long as possible. I found the original insistence that I buy, monthly, a load of software I’d find useless at considerable cost quite too much, and it wasn’t until Adobe backtracked and offered the photographer package that I began to reconsider. The clincher was when I got a further discount through my purchase of Karl Taylor’s photography courses.

So, in the end, I got Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for about £7.50 per month. That’s OK, and slightly cheaper than upgrading a whole package every couple of years.

However, enough with the gripes….

Harware Acceleration

So, after we got hardware acceleration with Photoshop a couple of year back, we finally get it with Lightroom CC!

This feature alone has made the update worthwhile for me. I have a fairly rapid NVidia card in my desktop, which itself is pretty powerful, being a second generation Core-i5 quad core with 8 Gb RAM and an SSD hard drive.

Even so, Lightroom 5 dragged. The sliders took ages to update the display in the Develop module, the map function was infuriatingly slow; Lightroom 5 was a memory and processor hog which seemed to me quite unworthwhile the upgrade from Lightroom 4. Moreover, Adobe did not seem to want to address what were clear issues with performance, so I effectively ground my teeth all the way through the Lightroom 5 series upgrades.

Well, this has been improved. Hardware acceleration has made slider responsiveness almost instantaneous, and the map function is now far less frustrating to use. It is still just a tad laggy, but it’s nothing like it was. I’m glad for the map revamp. I mention the map function just to note that it’s been fixed and to acknowledge that Adobe have been doing a lot of background work – hardware acceleration is only available in the Develop module. But what a difference!

I’ve heard that experience with hardware acceleration is a mixed bag, so your mileage may vary depending on your video card. This does bring us to one point, though, that performance does seem to be poor on laptops with onboard graphics cards using shared memory, as they don’t benefit from any potential gains from GPU acceleration. So if you’re buying just for a laptop, due caution is recommended.

Panoramas and HDR

Very interesting! Instead of popping over to Photoshop you can now stitch your panoramas – or generate your HDR images – directly in Lightroom as an editable RAW (DNG format) file.

Excellent. No more pretreating images before transfer to Photoshop, as it’s all done for you as the panorama/ HDR RAW file is generated; you just treat the new RAW file as you would any other. It also seems to be fairly rapid – the featured image on this page is an example I did whilst on Kendal Heights.

It’s not meant to be a great image, I just stood an clicked off a seven pictures with this review in mind. I made things more difficult for Lightroom by doing my workup on my laptop; despite this, the stitching was done in a perfectly reasonable timeframe, and I was able to edit the results immediately (as you’d expect); and no jumping backward and forwards to Photoshop required.

These are great new features, again completely worth the upgrade.

Face Recognition

An excellent new feature. It seems to learn very quickly as well, so is a great additional tool for your cataloguing. There seem to be very few false positives, though the number of missed recognitions is more difficult to evaluate easily.

The only caveat here is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to manually add face recognition, or ask Lightroom to rescan an image. I would seriously hope that these possibilities are included in future updates.


Why only a four out of five rating? Ultimately, Lightroom CC is a good upgrade not only because of the features above, but also because a lot of the issues of Lightroom 5 were addressed with significant performance improvements all round including, for instance, JPEG exporting.

And it’s because of this that the review is not higher; why weren’t a lot of these bugs dealt with as part of the LR5 series upgrades? They were evident from v5.0, and continued through to v5.7 without being fixed. So it would seem to me that the upgrade has only been entirely worth it to get rid of a previous Lightroom version that was just a drag on photographer’s time and a generally frustrating experience.

This is not a good reason for an upgrade. The work should have been done within the LR5 series itself, not put off to the next major update. I should also be honest here and say that I was only a few weeks from swapping entirely to Capture One Pro, and it is only these fixes coming out, somewhat luckily, when they did that prevented me from doing so.

Despite this, Lightroom CC/ Lightroom 6 is, in and of itself, an excellent product. Let me know your thoughts on the matter, and your other LR5 and LR6 experiences in the comments below. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have about the upgrade process if you’ve got any concerns about it.

All the best,

Chasing Rays Photography.


Hardware Used


About the Author

Mark Watkins

Mark WatkinsI've been a photographer since 2006 and a computer fanatic since 1995. I hope to share my passion for photography with you through the products and services I offer through my website. See me on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedInView all posts by Mark Watkins →

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