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Gear & Apps

Lightroom 6 Is Coming But Will Require Better Hardware

By Kishore Sawh on January 24th 2015


Most of us use a combination of two photo editing tool/software to post process our photos: Lightroom, and Photoshop. Adobe has the monopoly here not by forcing anyone out of the market, but by being the company that has been listening for years to what we want, and need. If you were only to have one of the programs mentioned, there’s a more than fare chance that Lightroom would be it. It’s less daunting (at first), easier for anyone to pick up and get started with, offers the ability to organize, there are great preset systems like our industry standard Lightroom Preset System, and so many more reasons than I care to type.

So the appeal of Lightroom is there both for the novice and professional, which broadens the breadth of people to please by a fair amount, and is no easy feat to accomplish. Lightroom has come under criticism from many leaning to the pro-side of the field who want specific features that Lightroom has taken its time to include.


Well Adobe has just announced that there plans to be a major release of Lightroom in the near future, and from what we can deduce, it seems they are trying to include more advanced features and improve general application performance. The latter, I’m sure we all will hope to see, since Lightroom has the tendency to be a resource hog, and bog down computer performance under its weight.

[REWIND: Match Total Exposure | The Underused Lightroom Feature You’ll Now Make A Staple]

Perhaps in order to achieve this, Adobe has announced that a 64 bit operating system will be required for Lightroom 6, which means MAC OS X 10.8 or higher, and 64 bit version of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. If you are not running the compatible software you’ll still be able to install and run Lightroom 5 and have the use of LR mobile. There is also a rumor through the grapevine that the next version of Lightroom will be available for standalone purchase aside from CC. But that’s hearsay.

You can find the press release here, and follow the discussion on that thread.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kyle Farris

    What Lightroom currently lacks and desperately needs is the ability to render adjustments with the GPU via CUDA or OpenGL. Photoshop, After Effects, and Premier all have this capability and it provides a HUGE performance benefit. I somehow doubt they will add this feature (the photoshop and lightroom code bases are surprisingly totally different so it’s not just a matter of copying a library from Photoshop over to Lightroom, unfortunately).

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  2. Kenneth Hoegh

    The 9.99 Price is not for all, In Denmark and other EU countries it’s a lot pricey’er, so I am happy for the stand alone version :)

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  3. Matthew Saville

    Many of us have been running 64-bit systems for a very long time, and the problem has been Lightroom itself, not the OS or hardware.

    Lightroom 6 needs to do a few things, and one of them is DEFINITELY to work more efficiently with the same systems, NOT require more power to run at the same speed.

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  4. Basit Zargar

    Eagerly waiting !
    have got high end computer

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  5. Kevin Sutton

    I originally had the same dislike for the creative cloud. However at 9.99 a month for photoshop and Lightroom this in the long run will save money when upgrades come around. Mere mortals could not afford a standalone copy of photoshop at that exhorbitant price. As for the 64bit I am glad to see them forcing the hand of many users to get out of that ancient 32 bit rut it’s slower and doesn’t address the volume of ram 64 bit does. XP is and should be long gone and now most software manufacturers have software versions that run on 64bit. I welcome this change.

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    • J. Cassario

      I couldn’t agree more

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    • robert garfinkle

      My general thoughts on cloud – the case you state, $9.99 vs. a bucket-load of money up front, seems like a great benefit. My general dislike of the cloud – is multifaceted, yet three things bother me about it, and I’d say the least of the three worries is theft or malicious destruction / tampering of private property (being hacked).

      The two major concerns I have, are forged on the anvils of “today’s” emerging technological business models (i.e. “anything”-online-as-a-service in conjunction with a service provider’s end user license agreements) and the U.S. government’s shift in legislation and policies regarding “anything” online which are now lawfully, according to them, free for the picking in the name of “national security.”

      While I did not want to go down a political road in this discussion, I will try to keep it related to our $9.99 benefit.

      We have effectively, in order to secure a low cost (i.e. $9.99), put our personal and business lives at risk with respect to privacy, a fundamental right as to what remains “ours.”

      It used to be, when you purchase software, there was an end user license agreement which states what rights you have. On a basic level it states 1. The software provider cannot be held responsible for any damage cause by their software to your stuff / data, 2. You cannot reverse engineer their software, 3. they have a right to take it away from you at any time with no forfeiture of monies, and 4. the general license agreement as to usage (like how many computers / users are served by the license – i.e. serial numbers etc.) – those are the basics, and even like we see with lightroom, where there is a one time only check per installation to count how many licenses are used…

      But, with subscription based services, it changes the game. Let’s cast aside for a moment the obvious, if you do not pay, you can’t play – and move onto the real problem I see emerging, and quite quickly. It’s no longer just a license only check world. We live in a web world where not just your anonymous statistics are shared or moving across the web, but the software’s feature base is tightly connected to the provider, and in many cases mobilized (i.e. apple, android) where your content business or personal is stored at the provider’s location temporarily or permanently, and by virtue of their contract, which you accept, they “may” / “could” reserve the right, because YOU are using their services and equipment, can not only deem the content theirs, also reserve the right to restrict, limit, review, or share that content with authorities. That seems harsh, almost at the level of conspiracy theory, but if we look at recent cases with social networks, email providers, and tethered to the laws which basically state ANYTHING moving across the web from your hands / equipment to “theirs” (and stored) are considered trash and free for authorities to rummage through and / or use as evidence…

      Now, imagine if you will, you are doing business with a client, you are technologically savvy, using a 3rd party service to either transfer or store photos online; yet maybe the content you store is objectionable to the provider; it may / could cause a major problem for you legally, one that could permanently damage you…

      And I will add the ever so popular “outage” that could occur with an online provider to which impacts our abilities to access our content if the software is so tightly tied to their systems – and I will add as part of their agreement that they are not responsible or liable for outages etc, etc, etc…

      All that, for $9.99 / month. Now, I will be clear, we are not there yet with Adobe, but darn near close.

      Yet if we pay 799.00 for a near complete edition of Photoshop, and 150.00 for Lightroom, install it with one license check, the benefit is we do not subject ourselves to the conditions in which I state above… and we keep our business our business between us and our clients period…

      Now, if you want to talk about malicious acts by hackers, oh, that’s a big worry too, as we do not have any idea how Adobe, Microsoft etc batten down the hatches in order to protect our content, personal information, and or even if our location on the internet is stored within their systems. And if they get attacked, like Sony did, well, you get the idea… and I will once again mention as part of the service that they will tell you that you agree they will not be held liable for data loss or a breach… and we paid for it all, for 9.99 / month…

      This is where the business models are going, and essentially forcing us into that position; because one day, not too far off in the distance, the software we use will most likely be ALL service oriented / subscriptions etc…

      So, as an individual, a business person, artist, copyrighter of materials that belong to you, are you willing to trade it, for $9.99 / month?

      That’s my whole problem with the “cloud” web / services etc, there, I said it…

      Makes us not worry too much if our equipment can handle software which requires beefier hardware, right?

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    • Kevin Sutton

      Thanks for the reply Robert. You clearly do not like any sort of subscriptions. We have been living in a subscription based world for quite some time. Yes it has reached a fevered pitch. Full disclosure I do not earn a living as a photographer or artist and work as a 9-5 person when I am not trying to attain a certain artistic level that still eludes me, (damn you post production damn you!).

      While I do not store any of my raw files on/in the cloud I can understand the concern you have. As long as there are computers and internet there will always be someone trying to maliciously use them to gain whatever it is they want. However that will not deter me from using what I have signed up for.

      Yes you can still purchase that aging version of PS6 but how long will that carry you through? Yes I did purchase a stand alone version of LR5 but that was before the 9.99 deal. I could have never afforded an PS version before this sub. And even if I saved for it I would then be hamstrung for the next version that came out. Now all the updates come as one. I did not like the sub idea at first. But since I can actually download the programs and they reside on my hard drive it is essentially stand alone for 30 days if you do month to month without a network connection. 99 days for annual members. Yes it is pay to play and at any point in time I can go back and just use my stand alone LR5 if I must or purchase and old copy of PS somewhere all without any possible updates in the future.

      Maybe to appease every one they should have just made the sub 9.99 as it is for folks like me that want that instant updating and affordability vs those that want a stand alone product at whatever the current price of CS6 was. Then you would still pay for the update disc/download. That would be the best of both worlds. The stand alone would cost you much more money in the long run.

      As for the security aspect, as long as your connected to the internet via mobile, pc, whatever your using to access the outside network you become at risk that is the reality of today. You can mitigate some of that at your choosing. You can just enable your network adapter to authenticate the requisite once a month and never go online for anything else. Don’t use social media to share your content. Don’t store any content on a cloud provider which I currently do not do since rotational HDD’s are so cheap and you can store them in multiple places. Use another vendor for your photo software of choice that doesn’t have subscriptions. Use film. Some of these suggestions would be extremely difficult to do if your running a business today though.

      Hopefully this does not come off as a disjointed diatribe but it’s late and I should sleep.

      Thanks to Kishore for spurring some conversation with his article.

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    • robert garfinkle

      Thanks Kevin – Maybe one day I’ll get used to it, break down and do subscription, just irks me, explained earlier…

      If there was a way to shore up the concerns, which they may have to address on some, for example – who’s content is who’s, a data protection guarantee and I think it’d be a benefit for some providers to address / ensure privacy no matter what. Personally, knowing technology, we have the means for sure, just will take a few providers to extend the services, then the rest will follow –

      and more to the side of the hacker risk, our internet is too young, in the sense that the cloud is advancing faster than protective measures – that we all witness bout once a month to every two months some data breach is made public… it remains a cautionary risk to mention at the very least…

      Tis ok, acceptance will probably hit me later than others…

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    • Kevin Sutton

      I work in IT as well and all the cloud this and cloud that is annoying and yes there are data breaches. Most of which are careless individuals not keeping their own passwords and pc’s patched and secured. Only the big stuff is reported in the media.

      I don’t think Adobe would own your content, but as you stated earlier if they feel if something is objectionable and doesn’t jive with their TOS they would remove it or deactivate the account I suppose. Those EULA’s almost require a lawyer to read or just plain getting a headache.

      Till that time rotational HDD’s are inexpensive and large enough in capacity to remedy this cloud storage problem which it kind of sounds like what your really getting at mostly. The Adobe software is local to your hard drive and it just has to “phone home” once in awhile to make sure your still paying the bill to keep the light on. After that you can disable the client until the next authentication.

      Couldn’t help myself I stayed up and was looking at the 35mm Nikon 1.8.

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    • robert garfinkle

      Nice, looking at Nikon stuff, a great healthy distraction to the aforementioned, seriously good stuff

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  6. robert garfinkle

    Computing Power:

    64 bit will be good, yet does require more ram etc…

    It is the nature of our programs to become wider (64bit, stay tuned for 128bit…) and taller (more gigabytes of input Stephanie…). wider in the sense of computing power, and taller as a function of accommodating and taking advantage of the computing power – more stuff to do and way, way faster… :) the good stuff…

    as for mobile, well, I see they need to put power back into devices and make the mobility more productive vs. just consumption devices for the most part…


    as far as stand-alone, let me ask, I have 5.7 now, and all it required to install is a login to Adobe – is that what people don’t want, is all that makes it stand-alone is that you enter a product key with no tether to Adobe.?Because after the initial install it does not appear to be tethered, unless it does it behind the scenes…

    I know for a fact that 5.7 keeps track of how many machines it’s installed on…

    I would love to continue to do stand-alone period – again, I am a web developer, yet hate with a passion, “the cloud”, for so many reasons… you are probably thinking, “how does that work Rob? How do you work in the cloud, yet hate it?” – too long for this thread, but FULLY believe we should be computing independently, yet have the ability for exchange, rather than the cloud models of what will become “subscription” based….

    as a side note, semi-related, speaking of stand-alone… kiss Windows goodbye as far as stand-alone operating system, in about 15 months or so windows will be a fully tethered service, you will be subscribing to it… looks like I am jumping ship…

    It’s funny though, Adobe has a photography cloud package, for 109.00 / year you can subscribe and get both Lightroom and Photoshop loaded on your desktops (and mobiles), and for some reason (add to my being nuts already) that sounds appealing, vs paying anywhere from 850.00 to 1150.00 for those two (the price difference goes to the photoshop variants) outright…

    I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet on the Adobe photographer’s cloud subscription, really have to break my hatred for it… but 109.00 / year seems awfully nice vs. that larger price every few years…

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    • Stan Rogers

      Lightroom is available as a stand-alone (with the exception you noted that you need to hit the registration server one time), but it’s also available on subscription (paired with Photoshop) on CC. When the Creative Cloud was launched, Adobe said that Lightroom would continue to be available as a stand-alone for the foreseeable future; it appears that, based on the Photographer bundle subscription, a lot of people were afraid that “foreseable” wasn’t very far into the future.

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  7. Enrico Pretto

    Why you talk about new hardware? I think it’s from 2006/2007 that all CPU support 64 bit, and adobe talk about “improving general application performance” so it’s suppose to be faster, we need only to update windows (but really there is someone that have 32 bit windows, that don’t support more that 4GB of ram?)

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    • Stan Rogers

      Yes. Anything powered by an Atom-class processor (Windows “netbooks” and a lot of small-form-factor, low-power-consumption machines) is stuck at 32-bit and usually 2GB, and Windows Home (not the Home Premium version) only supports 4GB even in 64-bit (Starter maxes out at 2GB).

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    • Enrico Pretto

      And you use a pc with Atom for lightroom? In a pc with 2 Gb of ram? My lightroom now use 0,9 GB of ram, Photoshop 1,6. Ok, the next version will not start on an Atom, but also now it’s unusable for professional purpose in this kind of pc.. I don’t think there will be any professional photographer that will need to change the pc

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    • Stan Rogers

      Since when is Lightroom only for professionals? Or even “serious amateurs”? It’s the computerized version of the closet full of shoeboxes full of pictures for most people who use it, but with keywords and searchability. (I don’t use Lr at all; it’s not particularly useful for commercial photography.)

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    • Enrico Pretto

      Professional or not professional the problem it’s the same: lightroom it’s unusable on an atom pc, my i5-3230 need 1 hour for import the photo that I do in one job, with an atom it will need half a day. And who care if there is some rare amateur without a decent pc that will lost the capacity of use the last version of lightroom, the important stuff is that there is thousand of photographer than lost hour of jobs because the software is slow, if the only price to pay for have more performance is the 32 bit support i’m very happy about it..

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    • Kevin Sutton

      The argument on the Atom class processors is irrelevant anyway. Even Lightroom 1 never supported such a horrid processor. Netbooks are no longer being sold, and the screens on those devices were horrid to say the least. Win7 starter had a ram limit of 2gb yes but most of that was sold to folks who bought machines at discounters typically I would doubt those folks would be looking at lightroom. Even if they did, they could upgrade the OS provided it’s not a Netbook. 64bit version of Win7 home is 8gb addressable, home premium is 16gb, pro is 192gb. All 32 bit flavors have been 4gb except for the aforementioned starter pack at 2gb.

      More RAM latitude in Win8 the norm 64bit is 128 for the base platform and 512gb for the pro and enterprise. Though there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the ram count to 1TB of on a Windows 2012 server.

      Like Apple, Adobe is moving forward with a 64 bit only solution which is good. It will force developers to finally migrate off the aging 32bit architecture. I hope Microsoft stops producing 32bit OS’es as well.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Actually, Lightroom 5 runs just fine on an Atom (or the AMD equivalent) and Windows Starter. For some values of “just fine”, that is (it is understandably slow, and may require multiple catalogs). As does Photoshop up to CS5 (the graphics requirements make CS6 and higher impractical, since many of the functions that used to run on the CPU are unavailable after migration to the GPU). External monitors hook up just fine to netbooks as well as to small-form-factor PCs, and the integrated graphics subsystems pretty much universally support 1920×1080. One does have to keep memory management in mind — particularly with high pixel counts — but there is nothing preventing a user from doing grown-up work on limited gear.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yeah for a second, let’s just forget about OS / hardware requirements and assume that any photographer who is going to be interested in buying Lightroom 6 already has a 64-bit computer and decent RAM / CPU etc.

      Considering how useful Lightroom 3, 4, and 5 have already been, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re using a dinosaur of a computer, you’re already set with whatever previous version of Lightroom you might have. There is no feature that LR6 could offer, there is no new camera you could buy, that wouldn’t ALSO demand a much better computer, period.

      In other words if you expect to edit 36-50+ megapixel RAW files on an ancient computer, you’ve got bigger problems than Adobe’s plans for LR6.

      What Lightroom 6 MUST do is, simply put, be faster than Lightroom 5 when compared on the same, current generation machine.

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  8. Austin Swenson

    It’s probably about time to move all the way over to 64 bit anyway for heaven’s sake it’s been so many years since they could take advantage of it

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  9. David Hall

    I’ve got plenty of computing power… bring it on.

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  10. Jon Ellis

    My rig is 64 bit win7 with 16 gig ram and LR is still slow at times. Would love this to be speeded up in the net version!

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    • Jim Johnson

      Supposedly, that is one of the issues that Adobe is trying to address with LR 6.

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    • Ryan Venedam

      Huh, I’m running a similar rig, Windows 8.1 64-bit, 16gb RAM, but never had it lag on me. What processer is it?

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  11. Nick Viton

    standalone would be sweet

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