Sunday, November 28, 2010

Best Deals for Lightroom 3

[11/30/10 update: the upgrade worked.  See below.]

Unless you're a student or teacher, or you're upgrading from a previous version of Lightroom, Lightroom 3 costs $299.  Here are ways to get the full version for less (legally):
  • $129.99 - On Black Friday 2010, Amazon posted a "Lightning Deal" for LR3 at this price.  Unfortunately, the sale only lasted a few minutes and by the time I found out, it had already expired.  Amazon may post another sale like that on Cyber Monday ... who knows?
  • Around $150 - Try to buy Lightroom 1.x or 2.x then buy an upgrade for $95. See below.
  • 169.99 - currently available on Amazon at this price.  I don't expect this price to extend beyond Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, and it may expire even on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010.
  • $199.99 - currently available on and (with free shipping) at this price until Nov. 30, 2010.
I saw a used copy of Lightroom 1.x on ebay for around $50 and thought about buying one so that I could upgrade from it. I called Adobe and asked if I could upgrade from a used copy of LR and the rep said yes as long as the software is no longer being used by the previous owner, has been deactivated, and hasn't been used for any upgrade. The seller confirmed these so I bought it.  Hopefully things go as planned.  If I had seen the $170 Amazon deal beforehand I probably would have just bought that instead to avoid the risks of being disqualified for an upgrade.

11/30/10 Update:  I was able to upgrade to LR3 successfully, even before the LR1 seller deactivated the LR1.  When you install LR3 and enter the upgrade serial number, it will ask for the serial number of the previous LR version.

I've seen Lightroom being offered by some websites and ebay sellers for really low prices.  Usually $99 for a full version.  When I read the fine print, the sellers usually say that the sale is only for a license or a serial number and not an actual copy of the program.  So far, each one I've seen has some very suspicious issue such as:
- fine print saying that the product CANNOT be registered.
- claiming to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau but not being listed on the BBB website
- seller supposedly being from a foreign country but the software is being mailed via US Postal Service
- dubious backstories such as "our store is closing and we couldn't sell these software"
- no response to inquiry asking for evidence that the software is legitimate and authentic
Etc. etc.  In short, I didn't want to risk buying from these sellers.  Note: besides legal issues with the use of pirated software, Adobe can remotely deactivate software that is found to be pirated.

I downloaded the trial version of LR3 but didn't get to use it much during the 30-day trial period.  I got somewhat of an extension to it by downloading the LR 3.3 release candidate.  AFAIK it will work until 12/31/10.  Note the usual disclaimers with pre-release software and note that this will overwrite your existing installation of LR3 (if any), though the old version can be reinstalled.


  1. Nice post! I was wondering about a digital copy versus the DVD copy, do you know the difference between those two

  2. Thanks and happy holidays! I believe only Adobe allows digital copies. All other legal sellers can only sell the DVD version.

    In terms of advantages, I can't say for sure until I get my copy of LR3 in a few days. However, to my knowledge, the advantage of digital is that if your file gets deleted, Adobe will allow you to download it again. You might also save on shipping cost.

    The advantage of DVD is that it may be easier to resell. Based on having bought several versions of PSE, I think you might also get coupons for trial versions of software, little discounts, etc.

    Hope that helps!


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