Lightroom 4 Beta Soon?

 

Lightroom 4 Beta to be released soon?

Lightroom 4 Beta

I was recently on a Photo workshop with a well known Lightroom 4 beta tester who also writes books on a particular aspect of Lightroom. He let slip his new revised book on Lightroom 4 is set to be delivered to his publisher in February 2012 and that we should seeing a Beta version of Lightroom 4 released very soon. He also intimated that there may be a few surprises in store especially with the Lightroom user interface, but he was pretty tight-lipped about exactly what those surprises would be. He had a beta version of LR4 on his laptop but of course we didn’t get to see it! He indicated that the released beta version would probably only contain around 60% of the functionality of the final release version so we can expect additional functions to be included at release time.

The Evidence

Other glimpses of a beta version have been observed on the web also with Sean Reid’s review of the Fuji X10 on Luminous Landscape where the RAW files were apparently converted in a beta version of Lightroom. Also keen eyed followers of Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom Killer Tips, have spotted a files called LR_4.0_796371_osx10_Release_Installer.zip and LR4R15ReleaseNotes.pdf” in his video release on December 12th 2011, so make of those what you will. Perhaps the final release is closer than we think although I somehow doubt that.

Of course, programming new features, and especially debugging and refining them even after beta testing can be a tricky and time consuming art, so don’t be surprised if the time fame gets extended, but it certainly looks also we should be getting a beta version sooner rather than later.

What New Lightroom Features to Expect?

The question now of course is what big new features can we expect to see in LR4. Judging from comments made by Jeff Schewe in the recent video release “From Camera to Print & screen” from Luminous Landscape, soft proofing (much to Jeff’s seemingly apparent annoyance) was dropped from the LR3 release at the very last minute, so I’d fully expect it to play a significant role within LR4. Soft proofing was a pretty major part of my wish list for Lightroom 4 as I still have problems getting my prints to match the screen version and I know many other photographers still do too. My wish list (which can be seen here) also contained GPS support, a keyword manager,  face recognition, and improved cloning and healing tools to name but a few. Certainly the later seems to have been a firm favourite around the forums together with improved local adjustment tools to include vibrance, white balance,  fill light and individual HSL controls. There’s a multitude of GPS devices around now too so that may just have caught the LR boffin’s eyes, but it’s certainly not on everyone’s list. There have also been many requests to add Photo-stitching for panoramas and HDR blending for HDR, but these require computational intensive algorithms and personally I can’t see them being included in Lightroom as they seem more suited to Photoshop.  Face recognition is popular in many other photo-packages now including Lightroom’s main rival Aperture; I’ve tried it and it’s a very useful too, so that would be a great addition to see.

Scott Kelby posted his wish list on his blog site in August which of course got a lot of attention and enough comments were left to justify another article on the most popular feature request for Lightroom 4. He also mentioned that the Lightroom developers were listening, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the most popular features request are included.

Let’s hope there’s not long too wait.

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