Did you cancel your Adobe Sub., or keep it?

I’ve take the plunge and purchased DXO PhotoLab 4 (Elite). Now the question is whether/when to cancel my Adobe sub.

I’m not unhappy with LR/PS (especially the latter). I purchased PL4 because it offers better raw processing within the range of things it does (more limited than LR, for sure) and I own other pixel editors (Affinity, Acorn, Pixelmator) that are less capable than PS but able to replicate or even exceed its key functions.

I also own other software to do HR, Panos and focus-stack merging. Not as convenient as LR but with good results (better than LR, certainly, in some respects).

But I do not own & cannot find (or make… I tried) software that ingests images (renaming, un-duplicating) as well as LR or can find images with such fine-grained precision. I think I can hang on to that without an Adobe Sub, however, because the LR ‘Library’ module remains functional.

May I ask, if you have faced the same choice:

  1. Will I loose ‘upgrade’ options (even for the Library module) if I cancel the Subscription while keeping LR Classic?
  2. At what stage, if at all, did you finally ‘let go’ of the Adobe teat? Did you delay? Why?

Thank you for your advice,


While still on old PS / LR 5 – it does, what I need it for – in your place I would keep it ‘in the toolbox’.
So, no precise answer … :slight_smile:

have fun, Wolfgang

My issue has always been the dam and Lr excels in that regard, and to be honest in some others as well. I just cannot break with Lr and it remains my core raw editor. PhotoLab gets better all the time though and am finding I use it more and more as my go to editor. The dam element remains an issue but even here there is some hope, but it needs to be more than just a file browser. So no real answer yet.

All that said, if it is just the library functionality have you considered Adobe Bridge? It is free and does most of what Lr can and without a catalogue. As for using Lr in a reduced way - I do not think you will get any updates and if you uninstall it I think it might be lost (not sure though).

I’ve used Lr for years and my photo repository depends on keywords and other metadata management functions. PhotoLab cannot replace LrC in my case as of today.

Also: The subscription model might be hard to love, but it basically takes away the question “should I upgrade or not”.

DxO releases products regularly and if you want (new sexy feature) or need (new camera) a new release you have to pay again and again and again… it’s a kind of self-inflicted implicit subscription.

To find your answer, ask yourself if you can live along this line:
Make your choice, pay your price and stop complaining.
(you can replace complaint by greed, lust, doubt etc.)

I haven’t worked with LR in years. However, I did start looking for a DAM recognizing that DxO likely doesn’t have that high on their list of priorities given people seem to have been asking for it for quite some time. Photo Supreme was the answer for me. VERY full featured. They do have a trial. You may want to check it out if you’re not familiar with it. Yes, $129 seems pretty steep to me but in the neighborhood of what other DAMs are going for, but it does a LOT and can be nicely customized. https://www.idimager.com/

I also recently started playing around with Excire Foto. It, too, has some nice features. I do tend to like the cleaner interface - a lot easier on my old eyes (even on a 27" iMac), but it’s not nearly as full-featured as Photo Supreme.

I switched from lightroom 6 to on1 when adobe introduced the subscription model.

When I recently switched to PL4, I discovered PL4 wasn’t much good as a dam.

I have been using Adobe Bridge (free) and found it very good but with a few irritations.

I have been trialling other dams including photomechanic which I didn’t like at all. I’m currently trialling imatch and so far really impressed. I anticipate purchasing at the end of the trial. I think it will help me bring some order to my large photo library.

A major thread on the topic here: Recommended alternatives to lightroom for cataloging & integration with DXO.

FWIW, I also chose Photo Supreme.

my subscription is an account. so free adobe bridge. and PSE/PRE 13 yes 13.
(video? eh most encoders are far better (Davinci Resolve))
for quick parts good and fast.
Photo? only library and that is a bit lost in history on updating. (i lagging behind bigtime in ingesting.)
(tagging and keywording i do in front so export jpeg become is dump and store.)
pixel editing? too little for keeping it.)
So basicly i have two sleepers in my harddrive.

Adobe Bridge is a good enough to manage XMP until DxOPL can handle this correctly.
BUT no profesional setup nor 1000 image’s a month. so your milage may differ.
So keep LR aside for awile and use it as compare software and backup for things you can’t or don’t like in DxOPL.
after a wile the workload starts shifting more to the first step DxOPL and when you open LR less then once a month your there. cut the cord. :slight_smile:

Another very satisfied Photo Supreme user here. Have only had it for a couple of months and it has taken some time to learn and get my workflow set up but it is now doing everything I want. I use it for all my Canon M50 photos as well as for our 2 cell phone photos. With Photo Supreme I send all images to the editor(s) and do all Keywording, etc.

We actually have 2 DAM’s. My wife is not very techie and I want to keep her away from all my RAW files. Thus Photo Supreme would not be appropriate for her. But she uses our photo library quite often and I wanted something simple and safe for her.

Our second DAM is MYLIO. We both love it and it’s very user friendly for my Wife. After working with my images in DXO, and very occasionly another editor, I send them as jpg’s using Photo Supreme to a folder that is set in Mylio as a Source Folder. Mylio automatically syncs all images to our 2 desktop PCs, our 2 laptops and our 2 cell phones.

This may sound a little complicated but my workflow actually goes very quickly using a powerful and reliable DAM (Photo Supreme), my wife has access to all our jpg’s and we have them automatically sent to all of our devices using Mylio. I’m happy! :slight_smile:

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Thank you all for such thoughtful recommendations.

I have previously tried Bridge, Mylio and a couple of other ‘DAM’s’. I have downloaded Photo Supreme and played with it a bit. I’ll keep the trial around and keep exploring,

I agree that Bridge is powerful and, once it has had a chance to index the file tree, offers several useful things (filters, rating, stacking). But it’s just a file viewer at heart: not much advance on the DXO ‘PhotoBrowser’ in my view. And it is pretty a long way down Adobe’s priority list.

I, too, suspect that the ‘stub’ of LR that remains for un-subscribed users cannot be updated. So I’m not inclined to look for a solution there to ingestion, file naming, rating etc.

But I’m not sure, in fact, that I need a DAM. I am too lazy to use keywords. I was once religious about them but found that I rarely used them and was not very disciplined in choosing them and, once, when LR got tangled, it mysteriously applied a couple of keywords to many different photos & keyword categories. I found I could not fully eliminate the error without ditching the catalog! Ugh!

I find the file system works well enough as a minimal D/B when combined with a good viewer: the DXO PL4 browser is good enough & fast enough for this (as fast/faster than Bridge), although I wish it would permit sub-folder search and its filtering is just primitive.

Then there is a variety of other strategies for searching and collecting images by content & characteristics (I have a license for Excire for LR that I have found very useful for serendipitous as well as directed search… I am looking at using Excire Foto with PL4).

So the main requirements I have are re-naming on ingestion (by date, shoot) and sorting into hierarchical folders by date (the way I store my images). Avoidance of duplicates is also important because I tend to leave images on the camera cards for months as fall-back copies (LR would refuse to import the same image twice).

“Hazel” (noodlesoft.com) is a folder utility app on the Mac that will manage a couple of these ingestion steps automatically but won’t really manage the duplication problem (it can identify dupes but not if they e.g. have a different name or are in a different directory).

Apologies for the length of this reply! Good wishes,


If you want a DAM independent from raw processing then IMATCH is widely regarded as the best. It will even allow you to store your keywords etc within the raw file if you want to

Regarding Focus stacking how do you find Affinity Photos focus stacking compares to your dedicated solutions?


I am still on 6.14 here

I’m probably one of the few who completely dropped Adobe (PhotoShop and Lr) prior to its subscription based model. I considered Lr perpetual, but saw the writing on the wall in the end. Good for a time, but then PhotoRaw, and an additional 2-3 steps added to a workflow. I truly despise “renting” software. I want to own it.

If I was a professional and relied on an industry standard application to put food on the table, I might feel differently. Today however, PLE does what I need. With whatever level of DAM it has or will have. I have no problems sorting photos and filing things away. For me, PLE delivers a good balance of features and value, but I understand why some might need “more”.


Getting a license code grants us the right to use software. We never actually own it…

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I was not interested in subscribing to Adobe either, but that was primarily because I don’t use Photoshop very much, and I found the cost for Lightroom alone to be expensive compared to upgrading the stand-alone version every couple of years. After searching for an alternative, I found Photolab 1 Elite In late 2017, and quickly ditched Lightroom and never looked back.

I’m sure you realize that none of us actually owns commercial software. At best we have a license to use it under prescribed conditions, usually with a limited number of installations. You can’t legally sell it or even give it to somebody else with your activation codes.

Considering the combined very high cost of the standalone versions of Lightroom and Photoshop when they were available, for those users who prefer to have the most updated versions available to them, the subscription is actually a terrific bargain.


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Hi Mark,
Realize I don’t technically own software… Yes I do. I’m not trying to profit or sell anything. I’m happy with what I have. It meets my needs. Most importantly I’m not subscribing or paying a monthly fee. Of course you can look at it different ways… but in the end I prefer this type of business model.

This is all interesting (and fun) although I did not mean to re-ingnite the LR-wars. I like their software (both LR and PS) and think on the whole it’s much better value than anything else on the market. Certainly better value than PhotoLab for the maturity and range of the tools and better than anything else I’ve tried (which is pretty much everything).

The reason I am considering unsubscribing from LR/PS is not primarily the money (although that’s always part of the consideration) nor the matter of ‘ownership’ that strikes me as mostly theoretical (or theological).

The reason i’m thinking about this at all is that PL4 seems to give me higher quality results for what I want to do with — maybe — 80% of my images than LR/ACR. The reasons I’m hesitating to drop the subscription today are

  1. The matter of ingesting, renaming, searching/filtering and (to a lesser extent) organizing my image collection

  2. I’ve noticed in the past that I can really like a RAW processor one week and then realize the next week that, either I can do that in LR after all (C1 Pro) or that the undoubted advantages the alternative offers are not so great that they replace the convenience of the LR/ACR/PS integrated suite (Iridient, or even Raw Photo Processor that eccentric but intriguing outlier on the Eastern Front).

I’m modestly confident that PL4 (and PL5…?) will at last cross that threshold.

Best to all, P


I’m not likely to ever let go of Adobe simply because I happen too think that Creative Cloud is the bet deal for photographers on the Internet today. I migrated to Lightroom Classic from Aperture years ago; it was not a painless process, but now it’s done. I only do limited editing in Lightroom; most of my work is done in Photoshop. Before the subscription, I used to spend between $160 and $180 a year just to update Photoshop; these days, I pay $128.87 to always have the absolute latest version of Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and Lightroom.
Is Adobe the best at everything? No, but in my opinion, the combination of the Creative Cloud features is unmatched. Other than Adobe, I use a whole slew of other software, mostly for specific purposes. For instance, Photolab 4 (mainly for older Nikon raw files, especially those shot at high ISO), ON1 Raw Photo 2020, Luminar 4 and Luminar AI, Capture 1 (the free Fijifilm edition to process certain Fujifilm raw files), and a few others. Most of these I do not update every time a new paying version comes out; it’s not as though I had unlimited funds! I do notice, however, that if you want to settle on a single product, while you may not have a subscription, the regular updates are not that much less expensive.
Nik by DxO is a case in point: I paid $49 in 2018, $40 in 2019, $60 in 2020, and $60 this year. I pay for this because I do use this suite, but really, this is a lot of money compared to what you get for the dollar at Adobe!
The other thing is that with some companies, especially ON1, I’m always hesitant to go for any upgrade deal, because I always suspect that “the best deal ever” will become even better a month later, and usually I’m right. This kind of marketing is not something I appreciate. DxO does not do this. thank goodness.
ON1 and Skylum both advertise “No subscription” in big letter, but then entice you to take advantage of “special deals” by joining a user community for a monthly fee, usually billed annually. Your mileage may very, but I, for one, prefer the Adobe way: you pay your yearly fee, you always have the last version of everything, and they never pester you with emails claiming that if you don’t buy something immediately, you’ll never get it at a better price. A refreshing change from all this is Affinity, but I have a hard time getting used to their user interface—clearly my fault, not theirs.
Sadly, Photolab 4 will probably go on my list of software that I will not automatically update any longer. Why? Because I have switched from Nikon to Fujifilm and my cameras are not supported by DxO. It’s a much smaller company, and they have to use their limited development resources sparingly. Adobe does not have this problem.
So no, I won’t cancel my Adobe subscription any time soon. To be honest, I don’t really understand all this anti-subscription rhetoric, but people are obviously entitled to their opinion.
Happy shooting!


Agree on your thoughts on results of Dxo PL vs LR. In addition PL is just more fun to use along with being less complex and faster.

I was originally going to do a clean break with the paid version of LR (I never use PS) and rely on Bridge or LR with no develop model for import and key wording. But then I started doing some architectural photography with tilt shift lenses and I needed not just HDR but HDR panorama. LR handles that well and buying independent software for that would require significant cost (however, I did buy SND-HDR from a Polish company which produces great results but only OOC raw files - no lens profiles or noise reduction applied).

So I am still using the Adobe subscription LR for import, keywording and certain types of processing. In addition, when I am working with a team of photographers submitting images to a client (non commercial but still a client), LR is our common “language” . When editing for consistent color/white balance on images produced by several photographers, you need a common platform.

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I let goof it on day one of owning Pl4. I was fed up of being tied to a rental arrangement for Adobe. I was also aware that while the library facility for LR was powerful it was also constraining and not always reliable. I have not regretted ditching Adobe and now use a combination of other apps with PL4 for additional and powerful Denoising. I have not looked back and have replaced the library facilities and search capabilities of LR with basic file mgt and PL4 search routines.

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