Review: Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android product images (3 of 3)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 5.0

Adobe released Lightroom Mobile for tablets then phones last year, and it was only a matter of time until the popular image editing software came to Android devices. Earlier today, the company announced Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android–something that was in the works for a very long time. Since then, Android has evolved to become what is arguably the most advanced platform for image taking due to manual controls and RAW DNG output capabilities with certain devices.

While the app in no way is terrible, it surely hasn’t made any major advancements. In fact, many of the big mobile editors are still ahead.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Pretty much the same thing as Adobe Lightroom for iOS, which is great for photographers that want to make the most absolute basic of adjustments

– Even faster sync capabilities than with iOS devices

– The ability to share so many different apps immediately from the phone is a really nice feature for photographers that want to use the image edits for branding and marketing.

Cons

– No Android DNG RAW support

– Still no way to actually convert an image to Black and White unless you desaturate or use a preset

– Your library of VSCO presets still cannot be imported and used. This makes us sad pandas.

– Syncing through collections is still really weird, though an understandable way of working in the most efficient way possible. Instead, I’d want to sync specific folders in my catalog

– Instagram, EyeEm, and VSCO all have distortion correction available; but Adobe hasn’t yet implemented it into their app

Gear Used

We tested Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android on a Google Nexus 5.

Features

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Adobe Lightroom Mobile has a load of features and options available to allow the editor to do their job as simply as possible. With that said, the company gives you the basics like gesture control, sync control, etc.

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The app allows you to fine tune each gesture to do almost whatever you want it to be–which is nice for folks that are primarily Apple product users but have seen the light in the fact that Android users belong to the clearly superior race of mobile phone users. Gesturing is also a very simple way to ensure that the screen isn’t cluttered in any way since you have such a small amount of space. In fact, Lightroom Mobile for Android devices only works at its best on phones. As we were told in our initial meeting with Adobe, it just isn’t pretty on tablets and clearly wasn’t designed for them. Adobe states that they’re working on this though, and realistically we can expect it this year (though they don’t state the latter.)

In many ways, Adobe Lightroom for Android is the exact same thing as Adobe Lightroom for iOS devices. This really does make sense, but many of us expected some sort of performance improvements and new features that were asked about previously to come in. Hopefully, Adobe will be releasing these features this year–and instead their release of the Android version today was just to get it off the group.

Indeed, Adobe Lightroom Mobile still syncs with Lightroom Desktop through the use of collections, which in our opinion is weird and clunky, but makes sense for photographers that only want to work on specific batches of images and nothing more. Personally, I’d much prefer to go through a folder, cull the images I don’t want out of said folder, and then sync that folder for my own personal editing on my own time later on. It would make those already pretty quick subway rides in NYC even quicker.

Ease of Use

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Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android is very much about the use of gestures, though there are also sliders and areas to click on. What is truly very cool though is the ability to double tap on images and get new displays with metadata and other information.

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Adobe Lightroom Mobile otherwise only allows the most basic of enhancements to be done. Most Lightroom users spend the majority of their time in the basic adjustment panel and then sometimes sync the adjustments from one image to an entire batch. The app can’t execute the syncing of your edits to a single image to the rest of images in the Mobile version, but that’s totally okay.

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Besides the basic adjustments, Adobe Lightroom Mobile lets the user crop their images and apply presets. These presets are Adobe’s own, and many of them are pretty good but nowhere as good as what the community has designed.

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While working with presets and other editing features, the app will give you a preview of what you’ll see when the preset or edit is applied.

Real Life Applications

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To be honest, we see very few people needing to use Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android or even Lightroom Mobile at all. The ones that will get the most use are those that do what we call line-work. Essentially what that means are the photographers that have lots and lots of images to edit–though collections still aren’t the most efficient way of syncing then if you really think about it.

However, there is a lot of value for wedding photographers, portrait photographers and event photographers who have uploaded their images, stepped away from their computer and want to continue to work on them while away from their desktop or laptop. Then when they get back, their changes will be synced and applied. It makes lots of sense for them, but we can’t see it routinely being used by landscape shooters, street photographers, or anyone else besides working pros that need to deal with lots and lots of images.

To that end, I really wish that this were around when I was a wedding photographer. The ability to make micro-adjustments to images while I’m away from my computer and instead out doing something else is a very handy feature and indeed helps me work around the clock in the most efficient way possible providing that the programs are able to sync correctly and in time.

Conclusions

Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android in its current state isn’t at all a bad app; but it isn’t for everyone and even the photographers that it is best for we’re not sure would want to shell out $9.99/month for it. To be fair, that’s a drop in the bucket to a working pro and they’re bound to get some of that back in tax write offs.

We’re also willing to forgive the fact that Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android can’t support the editing of RAW DNG files given that it’s such a new feature to Android. However, we’d expect the feature to come this year at least.

What we really don’t understand though is why Adobe hasn’t launched it with distortion correction when almost every other app for mobile devices has it and can do a fairly decent job.

three-Phoblographer-Star-rating

Adobe Lightroom Mobile for Android gets three out of five stars. We believe that it still needs time to simmer and develop to really have mass appeal.