Last week, Adobe announced Photoshop Lightroom 4 and released the photo management software as a public beta available on Adobe Labs. Lightroom has enjoyed a public beta for each of its four iterations and it’s one reason the product has been popular among photographers. “Giving early customer access to new versions of Lightroom has helped our team deliver an outstanding battle-tested product that really stands up to the demands of photographers worldwide,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president of Digital Imaging Products for Adobe.
The new features in Lightroom 4 are ready to be tried and tested, including:
- A Map Module that includes location tagging controls and a standard map that places photos in the locations they were shot
- Video format support for trimming and extracting frames from video clips, applying adjustments to clips and sharing video to Facebook and Flickr
- Simplified basic adjustment controls
- Soft proofing features in the Develop module
- More local adjustment controls such as Noise Reduction and Moiré
- Templates and tools for creating photo books in the new Book module
- An email engine within Lightroom for sending mail directly from the application
I saw a quick demo and what I found most interesting were the new Map and Book modules. The Map module provides a really striking visual representation of the photographer’s journey around the world, though it’s probably a bit depressing for the user who doesn’t jet around the world very often. The bookmaking features are intriguing to me, and the Book module exports to PDF or publication at Blurb.com, an online publisher.
There are also many smaller features, including “fast load data” in DNG files for faster load times in Lightroom 4. You can also have a lossy (less than top quality) comp for fast loading. Another nice addition is soft proofing and gamut warnings for screen and print profiles. I’ll be curious to try these but I know it’s traditionally hard to get precise color management exactly right. One more note for holdouts on Windows XP: Lightroom will require Windows Vista and newer with version 4.