Lightroom Mobile and why it's not for me

So I must admit...I woke up this morning and saw there was a Lightroom Mobile announced, I was pretty damn excited.  I only had a little bit of time so I didn't have time to read anything about it.  I grabbed my iPad mini and downloaded it.  In the mean time I opened Lightroom and it informed me of version 5.4 being available, lets start downloading.  

I don't use my iPad nearly enough.  Most of the time it's pretty much reserved for when I travel, but I do make a conscious decision to use it from time to time....but it seems like there's always 10 app updates every time I pick it up (a sign of how often I actually use it).  But regardless...I do travel more than the average bear and was pretty excited about this new "LR Mobile".  When I got home from work...everything was downloaded....so lets get to it.

As soon as I fired up Lightroom it gave me some indication of using the mobile LR.  I make sure it's set to on.  I don't want to wait anymore.  LR Mobile gets started on my iPad, I log into my Creative Cloud account....so lets start doing some port processing!!!

So of course...I don't read any directions anywhere.  I'm an engineer and a man....I'm going to figure this shit out.  I'm already 15 seconds into it and I got a notification that I'm signed in and somesync is on.  Booya!  (and yes...I mistyped that on purpose....say somesync in a German accent........yeah....for my homies from Deutschland)   

I fumble around for a few minutes and can't seem to create a collection that syncs.  This is because I generally only ever use smart collections and my first mistake was thinking that smart collections were going to work.  They do not.  Not....completely...there is a workaround though.

On the iPad I decided to add some pictures from my Camera Roll as I need to be able to edit photos I send to my iPad while on the road.  Usually I either wifi them over from my Sony A7r or if I'm using my Eye-Fi card in the x100s I'll zip them over from that. (I expect the x200 will have wifi).  LRM creates a date and time stamped collection which within seconds shows up on my desktop.  It's got an icon to the left of it...this must mean something.  

So apparently there is only support at this time for regular Collections.  When you go to Create Collection, you now get this different looking window...

Now we're going somewhere.  So check that bottom checkbox if you wish to use this collection to sync with LRM.  So I drag and drop two RAW files and two JPEG files into this new Collection and on my iPad I pick a few photos from my Camera Roll.  Things just start syncing in the background.  

So as you can see....the file sizes just utilize Lightroom's "Smart Preview" as four 36MP files are only 11.2MB.  These I'm guessing get uploaded to Creative Cloud as well as I tested out a iPad sync with Lightroom closed and it worked.  

Shit that sucks

First show stopper for me is the fact that I can't set stars, unpick pick and reject flags.  If you use these as part of your workflow, then this is not an issue for you.  Personally I only use the pick flag when taking gear pictures for reviews.  After using Lightroom for a few years..I'm not going to change my workflow.  Sure I use the reject flag, but my usual run thru is with 2-4 stars.

My hope was to be able to rate photos with LRM.  Hopefully this is a future feature.  After all...this app has literally been out for less than 24 hours.  This statement applies to all the things that I don't like about it really.  I will tell you now that the app appears very stable, very fast, but has a few things lacking.

When I'm on the road or even out shooting I like to InstaFacepage something sometimes.  I rarely travel with my Macbook Pro so it's usually just the iPad and the Macbook Air.  Like I mentioned above, I'll zip something over via wifi to the iPad, edit it in SnapSeed or these days in Photoshop Express and slap it on some social media page.  I like to leave the big edits for when I get back home on the dual 27" monitors.

The toolset currently is rather limited.  Outside of what you see above, you get contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance and saturation.  No HSL, split toning, sharpening, noise reduction, lens correction (anything in that LR module), or effects.  You have a small set of presets (these are the default LR ones) and you can adjust aspect ratio.  And of course, no brushes, gradients, or spot removal either.  So as of right now you can do less than you can do with Photoshop Express.  

The nice thing is that it does display the EXIF data just like in LR.  The small amount of changes you can make are applied back to the original files when it syncs back with LR with the exact same figures as you see in the app.  

Even if there were a limited number....some custom presets would be very appealing.  And for small web use....the toolset is probably enough.  But what's the point?  What's the future?

I've sat here pondering how LRM fits into my future.  Next week my wife and I are off to Ireland and France and currently it doesn't really add much of anything.  All the major post processing for prints is going to be done when I get home.  Without including star rating it doesn't give me anything to my normal workflow.  I guess I can find the rejects.....

But here's the thing....if I'm just going to use it to quick process a file for social media while I'm out and about....I'm still going to prefer to use Photoshop Express on my iPad.  The lets me do everything editing wise that this does and gives me a few more things I can do.  If I'm going to use this to actually sync with all my photos while I was traveling....well I still have to import them into Lightroom on my laptop....soooo......why would I spend more time to then upload them all to the iPad?  So I can make a few white balance adjustments while on the jon?  Every scenario I run thru my head of being on a  shoot, sitting on a train, being on vacation/trip I just can't seem to have a use for this RIGHT NOW.  So....I'm I'm sure the good development people at Adobe Lightroom Mobile Sector are all part of the 17 people that read this blog....here is a list of my demands:

- More Cataloging options.  Ratings, Colors, Keywording and if you have time Metadata
- Sharpening and NR as a minimum
- Since this isn't something that's ever going to be a full blown version of Lightroom (or will it?) I'm willing to sacrifice the Radial Filter but demand the Graduated Filter and Local Adjustment Brush.
- I imagine profile corrections might be a tall order, but manual transform corrections are a must.
- Even if only in a limited number (top 10 or 20)....custom presets and the ability to save presets which then can be synced to Lightroom proper.
- As part of the cataloging options, enable use of Smart Collections.  (right now you can setup a normal smart collection and just drag and drop it into your synced collection, but this should just work)

Overall, I must say....the quality of this app seems top notch.  The toolset is just a bit too limited for me at the moment.  If you have some additional thoughts on how this is going to work for you....I'd love to hear from you.  

PS:
For those of you bitching about having to join creative cloud....get over it.  It is what it is and it's the decision and direction that Adobe has taken.  10 years ago people were bitching about the end user license agreement on Windows, I'm sure Gary at work used to bitch about any delays with the Pony Express....the bottom line is this....Adobe makes amazing software which has become the industry standard.  There are other cheaper and free options and they are more than happy to get your support/business.  Personally I'm happy with CC.  On my mobile device however...I'll stick with the other Adobe product....Photoshop Express.