Recently, Adobe have announced Lightroom 4, the successor to Adobe Lightroom 3, which has become one of the most popular photo editing and workflow programs out there for Windows and Mac. Just over 6 years have passed since the first version of Lightroom was introduced, and the current version
Adobe have launched a public beta program for Lightroom 4, allowing us to test the new software to see what's been improved.
This is not a detailed review of every new feature and update in Lightroom 4 but rather an overview and 'walk-through' of its highlights. As this is "beta" software, features may be changed, removed, or added prior to the final release.
New features added or updated to Lightroom 4 include:
- Support for viewing and editing video
- Map Module for geotagging images
- Simplified Basic Adjustments
- New Shadow & Highlight controls
- Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance
- Soft Proofing
- Creation of Photo Books
- Email photos directly from Lightroom
- Videos may be published to Facebook or Flickr directly
- Enhanced DNG workflows
- Adobe Revel export workflow
What is Lightroom
Lightroom combines photo or image management with cataloging and raw and jpeg processing functions in one program, including some basic image touchup tools borrowed from Adobe Photoshop. It also manages all this in a non-destructive fashion by never changing your actual original photos on your computer but by keeping all changes in a smaller database and then applying those changes to your photos for viewing, editing or exporting.
My review is based on Beta 4 running on a Macbook (early 2009 version with 4gb) under OS X 10.7 (Lion).
The remainder of this review is written from the point of view of Michael C. Tansley, one of our forum members.
Running the Beta
The Lightroom 4 beta program is open to the public; you do not need to be a current owner of Lightroom in order to use it. However, the beta version will expire at the end of March, 2012.
Once downloaded and installed, Lightroom 4 doesn't overwrite your old Lightroom catalog if you already had Lightroom installed. The software copies your Lightroom 3 catalogue to it's own version 4 catalogue allowing you to use the program without worrying about what it will do to your photos under LR 3. Just remember that any nice changes you make in LR 4 won't be shown under the previous version.
LR 4 beta doesn't keep updating its catalogue from LR 3 automatically but you can always 'resynchronize' and the software will bring over any changes from LR 3 to it's catalogue. You can't 'import' a catalogue into the beta version but this will be allowed in the final version.
Once started up you will notice that it looks almost the same as LR 3 except that any custom identity you have in LR 3 won't be displayed. The LR 4 Beta identity is displayed instead.
Adobe wisely kept the same layout, left hand and right hand panels displaying the navigator, folders, collections on the left and option panels on the right. The bottom panel is still the filmstrip. In fact, you could almost use this software and not realize its a newer version except for the extra module headings at the top of the screen and some renamed sliders in the “Develop” module.
Table of Contents
Main Lightroom 4 Beta Screen