Was Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Worth the Wait? A Lightroom 4 Review
With the long waiting period over, Adobe has finally released its latest version of Photoshop in the form of Lightroom 4. This highly anticipated release follows the release of the Beta tester a few months ago which met to rave reviews from its early critics. Now that we’ve had a few weeks to test out the improvements and new features in Lightroom 4 and compared them to what we saw in the beta release, we’re finally ready to publish this Lightroom 4 Review.
(After the review, please make sure you buy your copy of Lightroom 4 through my links which really helps us keep the site running!
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Review
We start off this Lightroom 4 Review with an update on the system requirements from Adobe. No longer does Adobe Lightroom 4 support 32-bit Macs or Windows XP. In order to run Lightroom 4 you’ll need a 64-bit Intel processor and OS 10.6.8 and up or for Windows you’ll need Vista or Windows 7. This system upgrade has been implemented to meet the new updates incorporated in the Adobe’s new Photoshop program, ensuring that you’ll be able to run all the features smoothly and without any glitches.
With that announcement out of the way, on to the fun stuff! First, I’m going to get into some of the features that really stood out to me in both the Beta testing and the actual release. Then, we’re going to go into a few of the other features.
Process Version (PV) 2012
The Develop module’s Basic panel tools have undergone a huge upgrade in Lightroom 4, opening up a wide array of new options and tools to users. Presets are now arranged in categories along with six new slots for video with others are available for download. But perhaps the biggest change is the sophistication and maturity of the Develop algorithms. Because of this change, sliders in the Basic panel are rearranged (which took a little getting used to) but the improvements are well worth the additions.
Shadow detail and highlight are much easier to manipulate and focus into fine detail and the dynamic range of your digital files are extended for higher detail and realism. Recovery and Fill are easier to manipulate and the odd effect they sometimes had on shadows has been eliminated.
I also really like the changes to the Histogram as it is now easier to keep an eye on your exposure. Hover features on the Histogram allow you to instantly pinpoint which control needs to be adjusted and the overall usability has become artist-friendly.
Map Module and Geotagging
Employing a much needed upgrade on Aperture’s mapping system, Lightroom 4 makes tagging simple and fun. An essential part of many of our jobs (and a fun pastime when we’re at home) the location-tagging function is fantastic. By importing a GPS tracking log in .gpx format, you are able to map an image route for a trip or project, allowing you to see a point by point interactive map of the area. Tools like these save time and money while being attractive to customers and clients. You simply input the difference in times between the shots and Lightroom 4 maps out the route for you. Very cool!
RGB Point Curves
Finally, Lightroom 4 has implemented a Tone Curve panel from which you can make Point Curve edits on individual RGB channels. No more switching over to Photoshop to make these separately. Now, you can simply click on the “Edit Point Curve” icon in the Histogram window and go through the Channel menu to find which RGB curve you want to change. Thanks to the TAT (Targeted Adjustment Tool) and exact control for RGB curves, it’s much easier to fine-tune balance, perfect color, switch between positive and negative images and many other options that weren’t available before.
Spot Proofing Feature in Lightroom 4
Perhaps one of my personal favorites, the spot proofing improvements help Lightroom to automatically detect my ICC profiles from my user folder, allowing me to easily make proof copies to work on in the develop module. Because of relative colorimetric rendering, colors are matched to an almost perfect hue but the perceptual rendering makes smoother gradations while giving up accuracy. In Lightroom 4, I’m saving myself time and money by spot proofing with greater ease. This is one of the main functions which persuaded me to upgrade from Lightroom 3 and it’s such a useful function to anyone who prints their own images.
As I print fine art prints this upgrade alone is worth the price of upgrading to Lightroom 4.
Enhanced Video Support
Although I rarely shoot video I couldn’t forget to mention this! The increased options now available for video files makes Lightroom 4 one of the best releases by Adobe in a long, long time. The ability to scrub video and playback in Library or trim clips with image editor makes this worth the price alone. Plus, .moc and .mp4 are now supported as are .mts files which are generated from AVCHD. This makes video editing on the go much easier and gives the ability to upload vlogs and YouTube vids straight from your laptops in the field. Exporting direct video from Lightroom can be done with DPX, H.264 or in the existing format of the file. Plug-ins are available for publishing to Flickr and Facebook, making this a great Social Media Marketing tool.
Other Features of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
Like I said before, those are just a few personal favorites that Iwanted to highlight for Lightroom 4. There are many other features that make this program (or the upgrade) well worth its price. In working with Lightroom 4 over the past week and a half, here are some other features that I found which make Lightroom 4 go above and beyond the call of duty:
- Advanced tonal recovery updates make Lightroom 4 an investment in progress
- Improved and increased localized adjustments
- Basic video editing is simple and helpful
- Improved Book layouts make adjustments a snap
- Lower price than Lightroom 3
- Clear interface design
- Workflow is smooth and uninterrupted
- Lens and camera based corrections make Lightroom 4 an editor’s dream
- Email directly from Lightroom 4 with email of your choice
- Presets fully utilize new processing technology
And that’s just the beginning. Really, if you want to find out about all the features on the new Adobe Photoshop program, Lightroom 4, you’re going to have to pick it up for yourself and dig right in. After all, that’s what being a photographer is all about, right? I will also be adding more Lightroom 4 tutorials to help you get to grips with Lightroom 4 and perfect your workflow.
So, if you’re ready to increase your income and decrease your workload at the same time, the all new Lightroom 4 from Adobe is exactly what you need. So don’t forget to pick up your copy through our links, it really does help us to keep adding more articles to the site, thanks to all those who buy through our links.