Lightroom 4 Beta Available for Download.

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Adobe Release Lightroom 4 Beta

Well it’s here, Adobe have today released the beta version of Lightroom 4 Beta and it’s available to download from their web site here. I haven’t had much of a chance to play with it so far, but the big new features seem to be Video support (which is not really of much interest to me, but no doubt very commercial), GPS support, new shadow and highlight controls, additional local adjustment controls and the much requested soft-proofing. Adobe’s summary of the new Lightroom headline features is as follows:

  • 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

Lightroom GPS support includes integration with Google maps. The Develop module has a new engine with a 2012 Process version, and the local adjustments now include noise reduction, temperature and tint, shadows, highlights and moiré. The clarity slider has been refined to help reduce artefacts and after such a long, long wait, soft-proof has finally been introduced to Lightroom including both paper and ink simulation. Soft-proofing has been a much requested feature and it was way up there on my list, so hopefully at long last I won’t have to waste so much expensive photo-paper trying to get my prints look like the screen version.  There’s also book creation direct from Lightroom and tight integration with Blurb printing services.  A full list of the changes, new functionality and enhancements can be found in Adobes release notes here. Some notable absentees are face recognition, and improved slide shows so lets hope Adobe are saving those the final release version. Face recognition is a much heralded feature of Aperture so I’d be surprised if Adobe didn’t match its functionality in LR4, and improved slide shows have been a very much requested feature on the forums.

As ever, don’t use this with your existing Lightroom catalog as it is only a beta version and things could go wrong. Adobe list some know issues in the release notes. Back up your catalog first, and remember this is only to test drive the new functionality an not meant to be a perfect, fully working copy.

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