That’s not the only question… It’s also a question of whether to upgrade at all.

In not sure what the calculus is, but I’m a philosopher and art historian, so I’m never surprised when I can’t do the maths.

The features that distinguish 6 from 5 haven’t really convinced me; ditto the features that distinguish CC from 6. So it’s not about features, really.

It’s also not really the expense: I just subscribed to Office 365. It’s a similarly priced subscription model for some far cheaper software, and it similarly includes some features that are meant to entice subscription. For me, it was a matter of expense: I was no longer able to install Office 2008 on my Mac—well, I could install it, but updates were only possible with some silly hacks—and needed the Suite for myself, my wife, and her sons. A single license runs $180, for one machine. We have 3 machines that need the upgrade and 2 that could use it. So at $100/year, it makes some economic sense to go with the subscription model, assuming Microsoft takes another 4 or 5 years to push out another version.*

But with Lightroom, I only need it for one computer, so there’s not really a clear economic incentive. If I had jumped on the CC bandwagon back when it first appeared, I would’ve paid over $200 to upgrade from LR 4 to 5. Sure, there was Lightroom Mobile and the other bits, but I don’t think that stuff was worth $120, and don’t think much was changed in the interim… Maybe if I made more and better use of Photoshop, maybe.

On the mobile side, I’ve used Google Docs on the phone for awhile, and the Word for iPhone puts it to shame. Similarly, I can get similar features in other photo editors (Filterstorm Neue, for example, offers virtually the same toolset for a one time price with ongoing updates and new features added as they come available), but they’re often a bit kludgy. Tone curves, for example are available in Filterstorm Neue, but the sliders for fine tuning of regions are only in Lightroom Mobile, and they really make all the difference.

So with Office 365, it makes economic sense to subscribe, given my number of machines and users. But CC only makes sense if I actually use the new features and LM and Photoshop. And, as my Reviews of alternatives suggested, Adobe isn’t really the only game in town.

One thought: if I’m really serious about Photography, $10/month isn’t much to have access to (arguably) the best tools. But then I’m not convinced that I have to spend money I prove that I’m serious about something. If I was really serious I’d buy a large format printer or set up a wet dark room and really get serious about it.

So I have 2 days left on the trial and I’m still vacillating. In sha’Allah tomorrow I’ll check and see what—if any—data from CC can be read by 5… So far, it looks like keywords (unsurprisingly) and some Develop settings (surprisingly).** I’m not sure what I’ll glean from this exercise, if it will sway me one way or another, but it can’t hurt.

*I could, of course, move us all to LibreOffice: it’s mature and feature rich. But it lacks full compatibility with Office, and since my wife emails school papers and I email resumes, we need to have a pretty good idea what the documents are going to look like on the other end, and that just doesn’t happen with LibreOffice, and, sadly, doesn’t really even happen with Office for Mac either.

But it’s better than it used to be, and for professional documents, spreadsheets, and etc., Office really is the only game in town, as far as I can tell. You can get by with free options, but there’s a price to pay.

**It also looks like I’ve been spoiled by the speed of CC… It’ll be hard to go back, but I want to see what I’ll lose if I do.

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