Adobe Photoshop Bridge CS3 vs. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

by George Mann

bridgecs3-01s.jpg

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.

http://www.photoshopworld.com/

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.

acr-01s.jpg

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.

http://www.adobe.com/products/creativesuite/

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.

http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/family/

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?


16 Comments

Dave Huss
2007-03-30 07:16:15
I cannot agree with your Raw view of LR. It works equally well with JPG and other standard formats. Its strong suite is its non-destructive approach to image manipulation. As to PS being the only choice is something that I believe Adobe would support whole heartedly since they would make more money but the fact is that Elements has the additional tools that LR lacks and is a better fit.
Doug
2007-03-30 11:36:48
That is probably a good idea. Have LR bundled with a new version of Elements capable of editing 16 bit files (since degradation of the image would be an issue).


The new version of Elements should have a feature which will disable the basic organizational capability sold with that product.


I also think there are two types of users. The serious amateur and the pro. I suspect amateurs make up an even larger portion of people who will buy LR and they will just need Elements.

Seshu
2007-03-31 08:16:32
George


You are such a tease. I started to read this post hoping to come to some logical conclusion about Photoshop CS3 and PS Lightroom, but it just appears to be an opportunity to link to Adobe's pages. You start off asking why you haven't been invited to Photoshop World. Well, I think I know - you don't seem to offer any solutions - just more questions. Come up with creative solutions and I am sure Scott Kelby and his group will take notice. And, pronto!

George Mann
2007-03-31 08:52:19
Seshu - thank you for your comments and sorry to be such a tease, but there is no real answer to the question at this time, we are in a transition phase and all the solutions mentioned in the article still have their part to play (in my workflow anyway). The Adobe links are there for the readers convenience.


Doug and Dave - some interesting comments regarding the role that Elements can play in relation to Lightroom but I personally prefer Photoshop CS (partly because I am a Mac user and Elements for Mac tends to be a version behind Windows).


George Mann
2007-03-31 09:11:12
The Photoshop World invitation comment was meant to be humorous, with the joke being on me of course. Nobody owes me an invitation, but I wouldn't mind getting one. See it's funny, isn't it? Just imagine me falling over a sofa, now you can laugh.


I always wanted to be Lenny Bruce but I could never get the timing down.

Hawaii Website Designer
2007-04-01 12:38:55
Personally I think Adobe Lightroom is way better than CS3's Version of Bridge.


I have used both and although Bridge can be useful, Lightroom's beautiful interface and graphics effects along with its non-destructive editing workflow make it a must have for me. The only draw back that I can see is sitting down to figure out yet another application for my web development needs. Aloha Techsupport Hawaii a Maui, Hawaii Web Design Company http://www.alohatechsupport.net has been using Adobe Lightroom for a while with no problems at all.

dizpark
2007-04-02 23:58:35
Not delving into the whole issue of CS3, Bridge and Lightroom DAM functions, I would choose ACR 4.0 over Lightroom 1.0 for at least two quality reasons. 1) Histogram in ACR changes depending on the selected output space, so you see what gets or does not get clipped (in Lightroom, unless you are exporting in ProPhoto, it is like shooting in the dark). 2) With ACR I get the same image appearance in the ACR preview as in the Photoshop. Not the case with Lightroom, which means I cannot trust what I see in LR, rendering it rather useless. This only affects some (many) Windows XP users (including me).
Luka Manser
2007-05-25 13:28:13
First of all overall speed with Lightroom is at least twice as fast as with ACR+Photoshop. It's simple, easy to use and doesn't require more complex knowledge of the matter.
Luka Manser
Luka Manser
2007-05-27 01:06:09
I mistyped my website, it's Luka Manser...
sam carriere
2007-05-29 08:02:55
I'd chose Lightroom over Bridge simply because Lightroom works. Bridge CS3 is a disaster -- the kind of thing that makes one want to know a good class action lawyer. Adobe has done more harm to its credibility by releasing a half-baked product that I ever would have thought possible.
W Lewis
2007-05-31 11:44:00
I just bought lightroom and love it! I still have PS CS2. I hate buying a new Photoshop and associated books.
├ževiri
2007-07-08 13:47:37
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.
emlak
2007-07-13 15:48:23
I also think there are two types of users. The serious amateur and the pro. I suspect amateurs make up an even larger portion of people who will buy LR and they will just need Elements...
NBA
2007-09-18 00:06:50
I still have PS CS2. I hate buying a new Photoshop and associated books :(
jaimie
2007-10-03 12:20:49
so in conclusion, would you say to edit my raws (that is go through and delete and trim the fat) lightroom is fatster than CS3? I shoot 4 gig cards and CS3 ain't bringing up my previews fast enough
terc├╝me
2007-10-08 06:51:52
Thanks for very interesting Article.