Adobe updates Lightroom software to quell customer anger

The newest version of the photo-editing and cataloging software restores the earlier process for importing photos. Also: support for new cameras and the iPhone 6S.

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Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Adobe Lightroom lets people edit and catalog photos.
Enlarge Image
Adobe Lightroom lets people edit and catalog photos.

Adobe Lightroom lets people edit and catalog photos.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe Systems on Tuesday released a new version of its Lightroom software for editing and cataloging photos, reversing a change that triggered angry protests from hundreds of customers a month ago.

The new version -- Lightroom 6.3 to those who bought a perpetual license and Lightroom CC 2015.3 for those who pay monthly through Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription -- restores the earlier system for importing photos into Lightroom's catalog. Adobe tried simplifying it for the benefit of new users, but existing users railed against the removal of options such as the ability to automatically eject a memory card. The result was a torrent of outrage from Lightroom customers and Adobe's decision to back off.

The difficulties show the risks a company faces when losing touch with customers. Microsoft faced that problem when it dropped the Start button from Windows 8 and Apple faced it with a radically overhauled Final Cut Pro video-editing program. But listening to those customers can convert them into allies, too. Adobe apologized for acting without including those customers in a "broader dialogue" about the changes.

The San Jose, California, company still believes Lightroom's photo import process needs improvement, so later change seems likely. That's needed, said Matt Kloskowski, a vice president at photo software company On1.

"If Lightroom is going to get out to the masses, it needs to change," he said. "I taught Lightroom one-day seminars for nearly seven years that regularly had 400 to 500 people attend, so I saw firsthand every day what issues in Lightroom held people up...The absolute top No. 1 issue in Lightroom is import."

The Lightroom update also adds support for raw photo files from new cameras like Sony's RX1R II and Canon's EOS M10 , PowerShot G5 X and PowerShot G9 X . It also can automatically correct lens problems with Apple's new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Zeiss' new high-end Milvus line for Canon and Nikon SLRs, and Canon telephoto lenses used with a 1.4x focal length extender to enhance their telescopic power.

Full details are at Adobe's Lightroom blog.