I’m reading all the new PL7 posts. And I can understand people being a bit disappointed expecting big new features.
I tried the trial of version 6 recently and I really liked it. And I can’t overstate that. I was waiting for the version 7 to come out so I would not pay the upgrade price. It was really close to the release of version 7, so why not.
To add to that, what I really miss is a roadmap. At least something short term. I think it would make people buy Photolab much more. This would also show people commitment DxO lab has towards the future of the product. Not that they do not have it but for the newbies it would signal their commitment so much better. Not everyone hangs around the forums all the time to feel the engagement of the DxO team members.
I have come to agree about the roadmap. For the most part, DxO is showing that they have a focus and a commitment. But that focus seems to change a lot. There might be good reasons for that. However, over the years many goals DxO has publicly disclosed in this forum or through support channels have been delayed and then dropped. And the feature/improvement backlog has become legendary. This leaves a lot in an unfinished state and can make some of the developers’ wonderful engagement with customers here less helpful. And the marketing material for new products at dxo.com has been lacking in important details for years despite complaints.
I also started off with Photolab 6, been using it for the last year since I bought my Sony A74, and just upgraded to Photolab 7 and added Filmpack 7. I like the software in general and really enjoy messing with different film presets, but to be fair I have difficulty suggesting the package to others who haven’t used it over Adobe Lightroom.
For a long time the main advantage of Photolab to me is its DeepPrime denoise, but the new Adobe AI denoise has essentially eliminated this factor where the latter performs just as good if not better. Then, the price is actually acceptable; the price I would have paid if I subscribed LR alone for a year, is essentially the same as the amount I make an upgrade with Photolab. Let’s say you use it often and plan to upgrade yearly, then there is no advantage over cost, though you might argue you can upgrade bi-yearly which is also true.
However, what may bug me more is the lack of features such as auto masking is working a lot better in LR with the new “AI” detection, plus all kinds of presets lots of photographers are selling, there are just quite a lot more to play with if you use LR.
The Adobe suite is a great bargain but the biggest issue is if you stop paying for it it stops working. You are basically committed to paying for it every year for the rest of your photographic life. With DxO products you can skip one annual update if the newer version has nothing exiting for you and still get the upgrade discount the following year. Or, if the software meets all your needs you can choose to upgrade it at longer intervals or even never upgrade, and the version you have will continue to work! For some, especially those on tight budgets or who are retired. or close to it, that is a major benefit over the Adobe suite.
The one thing I find disturbing is the 38% jump in the upgrade pricing over last year. I know there has been inflation around the world but a 38% jump? Do the improvements to PL7 create a 38% jump in productivity? Are they worth 38% more than last year’s upgrade price? Does the update solve 38% more processing dilemmas that one encounters?
A 38% increase in upgrade pricing? Talk about fueling inflation.
Let’s assume you want to stay up to date with DXO OR Adobe. That means paying DXO yearly for their updates, just like you need to subscribe to Adobe yearly.
What does that look like in terms of cost?
Well it’s £99 for me to upgrade Photolab alone from Elite-6 to Elite-7. That doesn’t get me all of the latest updates.
Last year I bought a year’s subscription of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (and) 20GB cloud storage for £72. That’s everything for £72.
That’s not to say Adobe is the better product suite overall, but in terms of cost, I could’ve spent less with Adobe and gotten the same functionality (plus improvements through the year, not big changes once a year).
Ultimately it’s up to the use, but with yearly big releases it’s not unfair to compare a year’s Adobe subscription with a year’s DXO usage followed by an upgrade.
(Canon, PL5 on desktop GTX 1050ti, Win 10 & on laptop GTX 4050, Win 11)
As I set out in a separate topic, I’m not sure that will be true in the future.
A long term roadmap would be a terrible idea, as demonstrated by Osborne Computer many decades ago when they published details of what would be included in the next generation of their portable computer, so customers decided they’d wait for that rather than buy the current model, which basically killed the revenue stream without which the company couldn’t survive and folded not long after.
The assessment of what is important is personal.
If PhotoLab had the asset management capabilities of Lightroom, I’d have left Lightroom years ago.
(Sten-Åke Sändh (Sony, Win 11, PL 6, CO 16, PM Plus 6, XnView))
I think the asset mangement in Photolab is surprisingly good if we take in account that it is just in fact version 1.0. How many years have Adobe had to refine the asset management in Lightroom??
The main critic I have against it is that it´s not a professional implementation really because if it was it would have both vocabulary import and export. Capture One has for example and I had to use that a year ago when my computer crashed and I had to migrate my image metadata to Photo Mechanic.
I personally think Photo Mechanic + Phololab is a far more powerful and scalable solution than the “monolithic” catalog of Lightroom that doesn´t really scale at all and over the years has shown quite severe performance problems with many images to handle.
None of Lightroom, Capture One and Photolab can handle more than one catalog in parallell which is must in more professional asset management systems. Photo Mechanic can handle any number of catalogs and you can very easy search any combination of the catalogs with just checking a selection box in the interface and perform a “union” search instantly.
If I want to migrate from Photo Mechanic it´s just to export the keyword-list and let the new system index my assets and rebuild the maintenance forms and that goes the other way around to. Photolab interacts beautifully with not just Photo Mechnaic but a lot of other third-party programs. I use it together with XNView too.
In fact, I think it is a very strong selling point either of DXO or Camera Bits seems to have noticed yet. It is a long time since I saw Lightroom as an alternative for me. I just don´t understand either that Adobe doesn´t offer a cheaper alternative without Photoshop. Nowadays I have no use for Photoshop what so ever and I don´t think I´m alone with that opinion.