Adobe Release Lightroom 3 Beta 2

Lightroom News

Lightroom 3 Beta 2

Adobe today have surprised everybody today by releasing a Beta 2 version of their forthcoming Lightroom 3 software. The first beta version was released in October 2009, but I doubt anybody expected a further version before the final release. You can download the new Lightroom 3 Beta 2 version here.

Almost simultaneously with the Beta-2 release the usual first-looks, video clips, reviews and resources have appeared on the web from those in-the-know and the regular Adobe insiders.

Adobe have stated:

We’re offering a second public beta of the next release of Lightroom to give you a chance to preview the progress we’ve made on the new features and enhancements in the upcoming version. It’s an opportunity for you to evaluate a select portion of the new features planned for Lightroom 3, to help the team discover and address issues if any, and to send feedback that the Lightroom team can use to make Lightroom 3 an even better digital darkroom and more efficient assistant for you

However if you’ve had cause to visit the Adobe Lightroom 3 forums recently and viewed some of the criticism there, perhaps that, and I suspect the release of Aperture 3 by Apple may have played a part in this unexpected release. It may be that Adobe are buying some time due to Aperture 3 and I would hazard that an anticipated June release of the full LR3 probably looks unlikely now.

That asides there are a few new exciting features on offer that I’m sure will keep the bulletin boards and forum contributors buzzing for a while. Probably the most headline grabbing of these is functionality for tethered shooting; however it’s only for a limited set of the upper market professional Nikon and Canon models; Sony and others will presumably have to wait, but I can see this being a controversial point for starter. One other much requested feature now included is support for Video files, which can be added to your library, rated, filtered, and even made into collections. Some of the other improvements include:

  • Improved performance and faster importing and loading of images.
  • Full implementation of Luminance noise reduction.
  • Further improvement of Colour noise reduction.
  • Additional functionality to Watermarking.
  • Improved folder browsing with the ability to dock folders to make it easier with long file hierarchies.
  • Ability to use point curve editing in the tones curves like Photoshop
  • Additional criteria in smart collections
  • Sharpen brush can be set to blur

These are just a few of the enhancements in LR3B2 with much attention paid to the engine under the hood, with a lot of the bugs ironed out focus placed on improving performance and speed.

SOME First IMPRESSIONS

ToneCurve One of the much requested features on the Adobe forum was the ability to edit the Tone curve in the same manor as Photoshop. Well now it’s included, and by simply clicking on the Point Curve icon at the bottom left of the Tone panel, editing is switched to Point mode. Photoshop fans will be in familiar territory, but I for one for one, found Lightroom’s Tone sliders far more intuitive and easier to control.

I’ve only briefly toyed with LR3B2, however, as PC user (not MAC) I’ve really noticed a significant improvement in performance. LR3B1 I found prohibitively slow, so much in fact I seldom used it for anything but trying out the new functionality. This was a common theme amongst PC users reporting to the Adobe forum; it was almost if LR3B1 release was aimed specifically at MAC users, where it’s performance seem admirable. LR3B2 is really quite lively on a PC, rendering is much faster, so is zooming, and even switching between modules seem much more responsive. Mind I’ve yet to test this on my large desktop library back home.

Resources

If you want a quick run down of the new features and functionality of LR3B2 a good starting point would be to checkout the Adobe TV video walk-through by Julieanne Kost Julieanne Kost here, which as she so often reiterates, is excellent! If you want an more information check out the one by Ian Lyons at Computer Darkroom. Other resources can be found listed on Tom Hogarty’s Blog, and there’s another video from Terry White here.

Go ahead and download your free copy now!

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