Upgrading to Adobe Lightroom 5 and Creative Cloud. Worth it?

Ques­tion: Should I get Light­room 5? Answer: It depends.

Whether it’s worth upgrad­ing to Adobe Light­room 5 depends mostly on three things: work­flow, sys­tem and cameras.

a) Work­flow: How many apps do you use and how often do you use them. If you are con­stantly work­ing with Light­room on the road the Smart Pre­views are defin­i­tively worth the upgrade price.

b) Your sys­tem specs: Light­room 5 is com­pat­i­ble with Win­dows 7 SP 1, Win­dows 8, Mac OS 10.7 or 10.8. Snow Leop­ard is not longer sup­ported. If you are upgrad­ing to Light­room 5 or some of the other Cre­ative Cloud apps keep in mind that older sys­tems might be painfully slow.

c) Cam­eras: If you are plan­ning to buy a new DLSR in the next 6 to 12 months, as Adobe is known to offer sup­port for the lat­est file for­mats on the most recent ver­sion of Light­room. So, you newest cam­era might not work in Light­room 4.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Adobe Photoshop CC Creative Cloud

Adobe Premiere Pro CC Creative Cloud

How much does it cost to upgrade?

Well, that also depends. Here’s my per­sonal math:

To upgrade from Light­room 4 to 5 it will cost me $79. This time around, teach­ers and stu­dents do NOT get any spe­cial love from Adobe and pay the same as every­body else for the upgrade. I also would like to upgrade Pre­miere CS6 but there’s no Pre­miere CS7, only Pre­miere Pro CC Cre­ative Cloud.

The good news is that Light­room 5 is now avail­able in Cre­ative Cloud and there is a Cre­ative Cloud Stu­dent and Teacher Edi­tion for $20/month ($240/year). So for $161 extra I’d upgrade Light­room, and Pre­miere, as well as Pho­to­shop and all the other apps that I don’t use reg­u­larly. Exist­ing CS6 cus­tomers get the same $20/month for the first year of mem­ber­ship. This offer ends on July 31, 2013.

VERY IMPORTANT: The Cre­ative Cloud Stu­dent and Teacher Edi­tion for $20/month deal is good until June 25, 2013. If you have been using the Light­room 5 Beta, keep in mind that it will expire on June 30th, 2013.

That the “dis­counted” offers are only good for a year, just doesn’t feel right. After that we will be oblig­ated to pay a monthly “rent” to use ANY Adobe app. That’s and secu­rity. I am still con­cerned about the encryp­tion meth­ods Adobe pro­vides uses to pro­tect per­sonal (files, login, pass­words) and finan­cial (credit cards) information.

Another approach would be to pay the “Single-app plan” but it is even less advan­ta­geous: $20 per month, per app, ($480/year for Light­room 5 and Pre­miere CC in my case) with an annual obligation.

If you are not a stu­dent, teacher or CS6 user, the options are so com­pli­cated that I won’t even get into it. Here’s the “Buy­ing Guide” link so you can do the math.

So, what do you think? Are you upgrad­ing Light­room 5 or switch­ing to the Cre­ative Cloud? Do you feel it is a good (or bad) deal? Why? Please write your com­ments below.
Here’s the direct link to pay for the Light­room 5 upgrade on Adobe’s web­site. And here’s the link to Ama­zon, which offers the boxed full ver­sion (not the upgrade) cheaper than Adobe.

Amazon.com_ Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 - Mac [Download]_ Software

If you don’t need all the Adobe Cre­ative Cloud bells and whis­tles, con­sider their pho­tog­ra­phy plan which includes Pho­to­shop CC + Light­room 5 and 20GB of cloud stor­age for only $9.99/month!