Lightroom on the Creative Cloud vs. Aperture Cost Analysis

by Mike on May 6, 2013

Adobe announced today that it is going subscription only for its Creative Suite of programs. And it’s made Aperture look even cheaper.

Right now, Aperture costs just $79 through the Apple Store.

Adobe’s pricing for a single desktop application will be $19.99 per month, or $49.99/month for the whole Creative Suite.

That’s a big difference in cost, especially if you are not an Adobe power user and have an existing version of Photoshop that you’re happy with.

$79 to own something forever vs. $240 for one year!

That stinks, but a lot of people use Lightroom (or Aperture) and Photoshop together, we should look at things slightly differently.

Right now, you can buy Lightroom 4 for $107 from Amazon. Photoshop CS6 is $610.

That’s a total of $717.

Now if you plan to upgrade in two years, you are really taking a hit paying $49.99/month for the Cloud, because you’re talking $1200 instead of $717 — an increase of 67%!

Heck, even if you factor in Adobe’s first-year discount for existing CS3 or later customers, which is $29.99 for the first year. For that, the two-year cost of subscribing is $960 ($36o for the first year, $600 for the second).

It looks even worse if you think you’ll be happy with the same version of Photoshop 3-4 years from now. Many people still get along fine with CS3 (2007) or CS4 (from 2008).

As it stands now, the Creative Cloud looks VERY expensive if you are just a Lightroom (or Aperture) + Photoshop user. However, the pricing is pretty decent for power users that take advantage of all the Adobe products and upgrade regularly.

And man, Aperture looks pretty good at $79, even if Lightroom beats it out features-wise. (I prefer Aperture’s workflow to Lightroom’s features personally)

Fortunately, you will still be able to purchase Lightroom with a perpetual license, which is probably way more attractive than the cloud option for most people.

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