Since the new CS3 software collection was announced a few days ago and the smooching at the Photoshop Love Fest (Photoshop World Conference & Expo) will commence in a few more days, I thought this might be the appropriate time to take a look at the Lightroom vs. Bridge CS3 debate.
If I sound a little cynical or even slightly bitter in this article, sorry about that, it must be because I was (once again) not invited to participate in the big annual Photoshop Love Fest. Maybe someone will get the hint and invite me next year.
Anyway on to the big question of the day. Is there any specific advantage for a photographer to use either/or or both Bridge CS3 and Lightroom? The standard answers tend to be one of the following.
1. Bridge is meant for photographers and graphic artists who use other Adobe graphics applications in addition to Photoshop, and need to share and combine files from all the applications they use. (Adobe CS3 applications)
2. Lightroom is meant for photographers who shoot large quantities of predominantly RAW format photographic images, and wish to import, sort, edit and output those images in one smooth seamless series of non-destructive actions.
To complicate matters Bridge (and Adobe Camera Raw) is included with Photoshop and very few photographers (who shoot large quantities of RAW images) are even going to consider not buying Photoshop. Not buying Photoshop is sort of like not buying a lens shade (for most pro level photographers it would be out of the question).
But even Adobe seems to still be apprehensive about making a definitive statement about where Lightroom really stands in their product lineup. When Adobe recently attached the Photoshop name to Lightroom, I think a lot of us assumed that this meant that Lightroom would somehow be shoehorned into the CS3 group of products, but that assumption turned out to be either false or premature.
There is now a CS3 product group for graphics design professionals, website design professionals, media production professionals, and a monster package (for dentists, doctors and lawyers?) but nothing specifically aimed at photographers.
The Adobe Photoshop Family page (on the Adobe website) now features the new Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended packages in a box by themselves, with Photoshop Lightroom on the same level but outside the box as a product on it’s own. Photoshop Elements is so small on the page I did not see it until I had looked at the page a second time.
You were probably hoping that I would provide some sort of answer in this blog posting, but instead all I have done is thrown out more questions. I will tell you this though, I personally will never give up using Photoshop, no matter how powerful Lightroom becomes and I do on occasion use the Bridge and ACR functions in Photoshop. Why not?