Lightroom CC on iPad Pro - First Impressions / by Alain Zarinelli



One week into my change of mobile setup, I can give an initial opinion on the difference between the MacBook Pro, running LR Classic CC and PS CC, versus iPad Pro (2018,) running LR CC.

First off, the hardware, iPad Pro 12.9” (2018) with the Apple Pencil 2 is amazing. Blazingly fast, and very precise. I have had no issues editing my Sony A7Riii RAW files (about 45-55MB per photo) in Lightroom CC, Affinity Photo, or Pixelmator. In fact, local edits are faster on the iPad than on my iMac 5k in the studio: in Classic CC, creating masks for local edits with auto mask enabled often creates a noticeable lag between the Wacom pen (I use a 24” Cintiq Pro) and the mask on photo being updated. No such lag at all on the iPad! I’m still researching what the difference really is - it might be that iPad edits are shown using the smart preview instead of the full resolution photograph, but I’m not certain that’s the case…

At any rate, editing in Lightroom CC on the iPad using the pencil is a joy. There are some nitpicks I have as far as Lightroom CC is concerned, though. In the trimmed down “develop module” in CC, the tool layout is different than in Classic CC (or even CC on the desktop,) why?! In the detail tab, there is no way to visualize how the slider movement affects the photo - especially aggravating when ‘masking’ for sharpness. While the mask can be visualized in local edits by ‘clicking’ on the pin for the particular edit, it would be nice to be able to turn it on and off using the ‘o’ keyboard shortcut as well. Finally, it would be nice to change the color of the mask overlay from red to something else (I prefer green…)

All in all, though, I am pleasantly surprised as to how well the iPad Pro/Pencil/Lightroom CC combination works to process photographs while in the field. I am sure my nitpicks will get sorted out over time - some might just be me set in my “old” PC ways; after all the iPad is a touch device…