LightRoom 4 Beta: Review pt.1

Note: I will be re-reviewing this as more beta versions come out and as I explore more of this new program. Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta


Monday I received a facebook message from a good friend of mine who was delightedly explaining that there was a new Light Room that was coming out. Being that I am a huge fan of Adobe’s LightRoom product, I’ve been using it since 2.0, I quickly downloaded the beta. I’m not going to lie, I did not read the beta notes immediately until after I installed the program beta. Skimming over it I immediately thought “Uh? What is this? Are you serious?” I then proceeded to go to the list of changes which below I have listed, because I really did not want to think that what I saw was the beta:

High Level Summary of What’s New

Robust Video Support

Manage images by location with the Map Module

Simplified Basic Adjustments

Powerful new Shadow & Highlight controls

Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance

Soft Proofing Reinvented

Elegant Photo Book creation

Email from directly within Lightroom

Publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr

Enhanced DNG workflows

Adobe Revel export workflow

After reading these ‘improvements’ which included a “Map” feature and trying a few of them out, I felt really, really, jipped. Which, I will explain below.

Robust Video Support: I’m not a huge videographer so I’m sure that this is really exciting to a lot of people, but perhaps just not me. It’s something nice to have no doubt, but I can’t help but question; was LightRoom’s intention originally to remain a “lite” program for photographers to workflow and process their images? Why add more un-needed stuff? Could this have not gone into photoshop or perhaps even make a “VideoRoom”? There is also Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas out there, for those who are familiar with these programs.

Manage images by location with the Map Module: We already had this in the way of metadata? Why do we need another module for this? Why have this tacky looking map taking up one of the slots above that I accidently click too easily? Why the position of it as well? Why not put it a different location? Some of you may be wondering what is the “Map” Module. Well, the map module is a module within LightRoom4 Beta that shows a large map where you can put metadata into a panel on the right side, after doing so it will place your photo on the large map on the module. Which we can already add to metadata without the physical map being shown to us. To me I find this to be catering to the creepy-stalker-camera guys and teenaged girls who frequent facebook? While I do understand that this may be good for networking, I still find it rather obnoxious to have to deal with and rather pointless.

Simplified Basic Adjustments: They weren’t simple enough already? I don’t understand why companies think they have to simply something that is already simplified enough. Why change it and confuse a lot of people because they think the original wasn’t simple enough? Lightroom has always been simple and frankly I didn’t see too much of a difference.

Powerful new Shadow & Highlight controls:  To have the shadow controls like the highlight recovery is nice. However don’t we already have tools inside that already help with shadow? I will be looking more into this.

Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance: Again, we had this. However this time they chose to give us a ‘brush’ to be able to selectively change the white balance in certain areas. While this is nice, I would have liked a better control on clone and heal rather than a focus of change on ‘noise reduction’ and ‘white balance’ selective tools.

Soft Proofing Reinvented: Great to have. This is another new option that I have to delve further into and will be very soon. I do hope that they have improved this greatly.

Elegant Photo Book creation: With this module we get to do a little of what Adobe’s InDesign does. You have two options, one is to print to “blurb” and the other is to save as a pdf book. While I do like the pdf book idea, I will say that I probably would prefer to do this in, InDesign as much as I do find the program to be tedious it is still more powerful by far. However, I think if anything this is probably the most useful thing they have added in this new version of LightRoom.

Email from directly within Lightroom: Why? Yes, one can say it makes it easier to upload photos via email. It also includes an address book. But really, is it that difficult to just open Chrome, Mozilla, IE, etc and upload the images via email? Again a rather insignificant update, but useful for certain individuals.

Publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr: Another useful item for certain individuals. While we had the option to upload to Smugmug and various other sites we now have the ability to publish videos directly to facebook or flickr with this new version. However; this proves somewhat useless to those who are processing their images in photoshop afterwards unless they have a habit of reimporting the images afterwards.

Enhanced DNG workflows: DNG are great. I’m glad they implemented an update for this. DNG, for those who don’t’ know, “is Digital Negative (DNG), a publicly available archival format for the raw files generated by digital cameras. By addressing the lack of an open standard for the raw files created by individual camera models, DNG helps ensure that photographers will be able to access their files in the future.” –Adobe, So to have an update of any kind for DNG is wonderful.

Adobe Revel export workflow: I am not very familiar with “Revel” or what was once called “Carousel” this “program” is a photo-sharing app. This app is an app for the iphone and ipad, basically think ‘instagram’- to some extent, for those who aren’t familiar. It’s basically a photo editing app for your phone. This is geared toward the people who use their iphones as cameras. To me, this is utterly useless as I don’t have an iphone and I find this new feature very gimmicky.

This being said, there are quite a few other minor updates, but after skimming them I’ve really decided that this new LightRoom should have never been a LightRoom4, if anything it should have been LightRoom 3._  I find a lot of these updates to be very useless or not really important to warrant a new LightRoom. However, as I have been told, Adobe is known to make new versions of their software without much in the way of an ‘update’. I think that the most important part of this is the “Book” module, but even then I still prefer to use InDesign. Don’t get me wrong there are several nice updates that they are including. However as I have said, it should have been a mere point update not a full number update.

LR4 Beta Blog:

~ by Weise Studios on January 11, 2012.

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