Adobe Release Lightroom 4.1 but Disappointment for Flickr Users
Adobe have released an update to Adobe Lightroom with version 4.1 available for download which is free to registered users. Version 4.1 brings support to several new cameras (notably the Canon 5D MIII, 1DX, and Nikon’s D4, D800 & D800E), some bug fixes, new lens profiles, and rather surprisingly, some new features too. This was not dissimilar to the release of Lightroom 3.1 which also added new features, presumably some which were still incomplete at the time of the official release but which the team wanted including. New features include the ability to process 24 and 32 HDR files, save photobooks as JPEGs, and publishing via Adobe Revel. Also greatly enhanced are the colour fringing tools where the user will notice several changes to the Lens Correction panel. Details of the release can be found here.
Lightroom 4.1 – First Looks
Many of the changes are of no surprise of course since Adobe made RC (Release Candidate) versions to users for beta testing with Lightroom 4.1 RC2 being the version prior to the official release. However, I didn’t participate in any of the beta testing and hadn’t road tested either RC1 or RC2, so my first taste of version 4.1 was the official release. My first impression was one of much improved performance on Windows. I found version 4.0 ran pretty smoothly on my Macbook Pro but stumbled along on my Windows 7 desktop (Intel Quadcore 2.4 Mhz, 8GB Ram, 64 bit) and found myself frequently watching and waiting as the little circle span around on my screen. Again I recall a similar experience with LR 3.0 which didn’t improve on Windows until version 3.1. Now my windows version is much more snappier. I discussed just this point with several photographers whilst in Iceland last week, who reencountered similar experiences. It seems the initial Adobe Lightroom release may be optimised for Mac OS, and us poor Window user have to wait a while longer .. who knows, but it certainly seems that way.
Performance aside, the big change is in the Lens Correction Panel, where the Remove Chromatic Aberration has been placed on a separate Colour page, with Fringing gets it’s own page and a set of Defringe controls, comprising two amount sliders (Purple Amount, Green Amount) and two hue sliders (Purple Hue, Green Hue). The former are conventional amount sliders, the latter two are “split” sliders and will present a new type of control to most Lightroom users, but basically allow you to control the amount and hue of the defringing. I find simply clicking the check box works liker a dream on just about all of my pictures and is a fantastic new tool. It’s made a big difference to removing some colour halos on some of my old photographs too. The tools are the work of Eric Chan and if you want to find out how to really get to grips with this new functionality then you’d better read his post here.
Disappointment for Flickr Users
If like me, you frequently post to Flickr via the Publish Service Adobe Flickr plugin, then you could be in for a surprise. There was a well documented bug in the 4.1 RC1 version where if you had double space or CR characters in your caption field (which Flickr is added as your description), then then photo would fail to export, as would any export to Flickr presenting a “Can’t Update this collection” error message. This was supposed to be addressed by adobe in RC2, but it appears the bug is still present in the final 4.1 Windows release version. You can get around it of course by removing the offending characters or not having any caption text, but if you’re like me and like to format a full description in a word processor and paste it into the caption field then you’re in for a shock. I’ve been trawling the forums to see if there are any work-arounds, some of which have suggested disconnecting from Flickr and re-authenticating the account but this didn’t work for me. I can still post to Flickr sans-caption, but to loose this functionality is very disappointing. I’ve also noticed that Flickr doesn’t recognise my GPS data added to photographs in the map module so would be interested to hear if anybody else has encountered similar issues. I just hope we don’t have a long wait from Adobe for a fix.