Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic: What’s the Difference?

Adobe Lightroom is the product of Adobe, released in 2007 with the name Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Now, it is available with different names. It’s confusing but it is very important to know the difference. Lightroom was formerly called Lightroom CC. Lightroom Classic is another variant that is completely different. Let’s explore what is the difference between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. So, for now, we will discuss Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic in detail.

Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic. Differences and Comparison. Which one to use?

What Is Lightroom (Lightroom CC)?

Lightroom (formerly called Lightroom CC where ‘CC’ stands for creative cloud) is a cloud-based photo and video editor app that works on different devices such as web, mobile, and desktop. Its interface is more simplified and streamlined but less powerful than Lightroom Classic. This newer Lightroom offers quick edits and is perfect for beginners.  On mobile, it is called the Lightroom mobile app.

What Is Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom Classic is a desktop-based software program. It stores photos in local storage only and can be used on a desktop only. Lightroom Classic is a good choice for advanced and professional photographers as it contains more advanced and powerful tools. It is also called the Lightroom PC app.

Comparison table:

AspectLightroom ClassicLightroom
Navigating PlatformsDesktop onlyMobile, Web, and Desktop
StorageLocal storageCloud-based storage
Ease of useComprehensive Traditional Adobe UIModern, streamlined UI
Image OrganizationManual keyword searchingAI-based advanced image organization
Offline AccessAllows offline workRequires internet for full use
File back-upNot includedAutomatic file backup
Tethered ShootingComprehensive tethering supportLimited tethering support
Plugin SupportExtensive third-party plugin supportLimited third-party plugin support
Editing Tools and FeaturesAdvanced editing toolsUser-friendly, AI enhancements
Source: Adobe

Key Differences Between Lightroom And Lightroom Classic:

Here are some of the major differences between Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Lightroom Classic:

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Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic: User Interface and Experience

Lightroom:

Adobe Lightroom has a more streamlined and intuitive user interface, focusing on simplicity and ease of use.

  • Modern interface with a clean and minimalist design.
  • The editing panel is accessed through the icon with three horizontal lines.
  • Tabs: Light, Color, Effects, Detail, Optics, Geometry.
  • Emphasis on an intuitive organization for easy navigation.
  • Additional features are accessed via optional panels on the right side
  • Presets are accessed by clicking the Preset button in the Edit panel. Presets open in a separate column on the right, reducing workspace.
Adobe Lightroom interface

Lightroom Classic:

Adobe Lightroom Classic retains a user interface similar to the traditional Adobe applications, making it more familiar to users accustomed to Adobe software.

  • Comprehensive and more complex interface as compared to Lightroom.
  • Develop module with panels: Basic, Tone Curve, HSL/Color, Color Grading, Detail, Lens Corrections, Transform, Effects, Calibration.
  • All editing tools are directly accessible within the module.
  • Selective edit presets are integrated within the Basic panel.
  • Familiar and efficient workspace for intricate editing tasks.
  • Focus on preserving a classic user experience.
Lightroom classic interface

Organization and photo search

One of the biggest differences between Lightroom and Lr Classic is that Lightroom uses AI-powered Adobe Sensei to manage and organize Images. Using Lightroom, you can simply use the function of keyword tagging and face recognition. This allows you to access your specific event photos in an instant.

This AI function will work even if you haven’t added keywords. If you search “car”, Lightroom will automatically show all your pictures that include a car even if you haven’t assigned the ‘car’ keyword to any image.

In contrast, as Lightroom Classic stores photos in local storage, it doesn’t allow that level of image organization. You can do a photo search on Lightroom Classic by manual keyword searching. You have to manually arrange and organize your images to search later which can be hectic sometimes.

Catalog System: Local Storage vs. Cloud Storage

Lightroom:

Lightroom uses a cloud-based storage system for images, reducing the need for manual catalog management and offering easy access to images from different devices.

Because the catalog is in the cloud, you can see and edit your pictures from different devices like your computer, tablet, or phone. It’s like having your photo album with you everywhere. For example, Let’s say you take a photo with your phone and use Lightroom to make it brighter. Later, when you open Lightroom on your computer, you’ll see the same brighter version of that photo because the catalog is shared between devices.

Because the catalog is in the cloud, you can see and edit your pictures from different devices like your computer, tablet, or phone. It’s like having your photo album with you everywhere. For example, Let’s say you take a photo with your phone and use Lightroom to make it brighter. Later, when you open Lightroom on your computer, you’ll see the same brighter version of that photo because the catalog is shared between devices.

However, you need the internet to access your photos. Moreover, cloud storage is limited in the Adobe Cloud Storage plan (1 TB) and you have to spend more to buy more storage.

cloud storage in lightroom as compared to local storage in LrC

Lightroom Classic:

Lightroom Classic uses a traditional catalog system, where images are stored locally on your computer and managed within the software’s catalog file. Since the catalog is on your computer, you don’t need the internet to work with your photos. It’s like having your photo collection available even when the internet is down.

Lightroom Classic uses a traditional catalog system, where images are stored locally on your computer and managed within the software’s catalog file. Since the catalog is on your computer, you don’t need the internet to work with your photos. It’s like having your photo collection available even when the internet is down.

You should take backup responsibility as data is stored locally in your computer. Anything happens to your computer and all your data can be lost. This local storage also limits collaboration between photographers as you have to manually share your photos with other photographers and they can’t access them by themselves from the cloud storage system.

Editing Capabilities

Lightroom offers a wide range of editing tools, including AI-based enhancements, and focuses on simplicity and ease of use. While,  Lightroom Classic offers more advanced editing features and tools, making it preferable for photographers who require precise control over their edits.

  • Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom Classic tool is called Healing Brush Tool in Lightroom. Work is almost the same for both tools.
  • HSL/Color panel was renamed as Color Mixer in Lightroom while HSL/Color panel remains unchanged in Lightroom Classic
  • Temperature and Tint adjustments in the Color panel in Lightroom while Temperature and Tint adjustments in the Basic panel in Lightroom Classic.
  • Lens Correction tools merged into the Optics panel in Lightroom while Lens Correction tools in the Lens Corrections panel in Lightroom Classic.
  • Transform tools are now in the Geometry panel in Lightroom while Transform tools are in the Transform panel Lr Classic.
  • Presets are accessed by clicking the Preset button in the Edit panel. Presets open in a separate column on the right, reducing workspace.

Tethered Shooting

Tethered shooting is a photography method where a camera is connected to a computer, allowing pictures taken to be immediately displayed on the computer screen. This enables real-time image review and adjustments during a photoshoot.

Lightroom allows tethered shooting to a limited extent. While Lightroom Classic provides more comprehensive tethering capabilities for studio and controlled environment photography.

For tethered shooting, follow these steps on Lightroom Classic:

  1. Connect Camera and Open Lightroom: Plug your camera into the computer and open Lightroom Classic.
  2. Start Tethered Capture: Click “File,” choose “Tethered Capture,” and select “Start Tethered Capture.”
  3. Tethered Capture Settings: A box will pop up. Choose where to save photos, name them, add details, and apply adjustments.
  4. Capture Photos: Click “OK,” and as you take photos, they’ll appear on the computer in real-time.

Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic: Pricing

You can purchase Lightroom on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan while Lightroom Classic is available as part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan. Creative Cloud all apps cost almost 55$ if you buy a yearly subscription. Lightroom Mobile offers almost 70% free features.

Adobe Lightroom pricing

Individually Lightroom price starts from 9.99$. There is also a photography plan available which contains Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic. To see more details, consult Adobe’s official store.

Pros And Cons of Adobe Lightroom:

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Cloud Storage
  • Mobile app for on-the-go editing
  • AI-based advanced image organization and automatic photo search
  • Quick edits and cross-platform working

Cons

  • Needs internet for full features
  • Limited advanced tools
  • Cloud storage is limited (1 TB) while local storage in Lightroom Classic can be unlimited
  • Smaller plugin selection compared to Lightroom Classic

Pros And Cons of Lightroom Classic:

Pros

  • Advanced editing tools
  • Offline access and editing
  • Extensive customization options
  • More Graphic design capabilities than Lightroom
  • Tethered shooting capabilities

Cons

  • The user interface might feel complex for beginners
  • The steeper learning curve for advanced features
  • Requires manual catalog management
  • Limited touch and tablet functionality

When to Use Lightroom:

  • For Quick Fixes: When you want to make your photos look better with just a few clicks.
  • On Your Phone: When you’re using your phone and want to improve your pictures instantly.
  • When You Like Clouds: If you want your photos to be stored in the cloud and easily accessible everywhere.
  • Beginner-friendly: If you are a beginner and you need a more streamlined interface.

When to Use Lightroom Classic:

  • For Big Changes: When you want to do detailed edits and make big changes to your photos.
  • Lots of Photos: If you have a lot of photos and need a tidy way to keep them organized.
  • No Internet Needed: When you want to edit your pictures even without the Internet.

Conclusion:

I hope all the doubts in your mind regarding Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic and their comparison and differences are now cleared. I will suggest you go through both and try to be familiar with the interface of both. Personally, I start with Lightroom Mobile and it almost fulfills all my editing needs like for social media posts. However, I also use Lightroom Classic when I need more control and customization over my images.

FAQs:

Is Lightroom Classic better than Lightroom?

The main difference in looking at Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic is the cloud-based organization of the former. Also, Lightroom has a more streamlined interface and is missing some essential tools. With a subscription to Lightroom, you have access to all Lightroom products.

Is Lightroom Classic good for beginners?

Adobe Lightroom is a great tool for beginners. It is especially good for those who want to improve their photo editing skills. With its user-friendly interface, extensive documentation, and powerful features, Lightroom is a versatile program

How do I switch from Lightroom to Lightroom Classic?

How to Move from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic
Step 1: Install BOTH Lightroom Classic & Lightroom CC on your Computer. …
Step 2: Back Up Photos to the Creative Cloud. …
Step 3: Open Lightroom Classic & Start Syncing with Lightroom CC.
Step 4: Wait for the Photos to Sync. …
Step 5: TURN OFF SYNCING!!

What does Lightroom CC stand for?

CC stands for Creative Cloud. Now, Lightroom CC is known as “Lightroom”.

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