Last updated on April 17th, 2018

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom now has two variations: the new Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic CC.

These two types of software may confuse you a bit at first. I know their names do.

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC?

Both variations are part of the Adobe Creative Cloud but Lightroom CC is the new, streamlined, cloud-based software.

Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic CC

FeaturesLightroom CCLightroom Classic CC
HDR mergenoyes
panaromic mergenoyes
make virtual copiesnoyes
slideshow modulenoyes
print modulenoyes
book modulenoyes
export color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB (1998), ProPhoto RGBsRGB
sync to creative cloudyesyes
plugin compatiblenoyes
soft proofingnoyes
Adobe Sensei automatic taggingyesno
color labelsnoyes
rename file namenoyes
convert to DNGnoyes
sync to Lightroom mobileyesyes
star ratingnoyes

Lightroom Classic CC, as the name suggests, is the original Lightroom from versions 1 to 5. Initially, Lightroom Classic could be bought as a standalone product without a CC membership. Now it is part of the Creative Cloud which requires a membership.

An important difference for Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic CC is that Lightroom CC doesn’t have the book, slideshow, print, or web modules.

The Plugin Issue

One of my favourite Lightroom plugins, Photomatix Pro, is only compatible with Lightroom Classic CC. I assume this is the case for the majority of plugins.

Adobe Sensei and the New Lightroom CC

This is actually a cool feature which is part of the new Lightroom CC and not the Classic. The Adobe Sensei tecnology produces automatic tagging so you can search for photos quicker. However, since travel photography is my passion, I organize my photos in Lightroom Classic CC by country and date. So finding specific photos isn’t a problem.

So here is the weird part: the facial recognition feature, which is also part of Adobe Sensei, is not available on the new Lightroom CC but is still available on Lightroom Classic CC.

adobe sensei automatic tagging new lightroom CC

An example of Adobe Sensei and automatic tagging in the new Lightroom CC. I used the search term “water.”

Backing Up Your Photos on the Cloud

The new Lightroom CC is marketed with backing up your photos on the Creative Cloud. However, you can do the same with Lightroom Classic CC.

I do want to point out that CC plans come with different amounts of cloud storage. However, I use Dropbox to back up photos. I find Dropbox is more comprehensive than CC and I already use it for backing up non-media files. Professionals, you’re going to need at least 1 TB of cloud storage.

Which Software to Use?

Use Lightroom CC if you:

  • want to do light editing
  • want to learn Lightroom in minimal time
  • don’t need to print photos

Use Lightroom Classic CC if you:

  • already use it
  • use plugins
  • want to do advanced editing
  • print photos
  • need full control of your photography library
  • are a professional photographer or designer

In summary, if you want full control of your photography workflow, then use Lightroom Classic CC, otherwise use the new Lightroom CC which is geared towards cloud-based users and who require less intensive photography tools for editing.