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So Adobe Lightroom 4 is Out Today, It's All About the Light Baby, All About the Light

Adobe Lightroom 4 is officially available today and at half the cost of Lightroom 3. The new version costs $79 for an upgrade and $149 for a brand new purchase. Many of you have been using the beta for the past few months which will probably expire soon. You can download a 30 day trial version to decide before you buy of Lightroom 4 here. The new release requires Windows Vista SP2 or later, or OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or later so make sure your current operating system can support it.


So... is Lightroom 4 worth it?


In a word, hell yeah!


Opps, that was two words.




Well for no other reason the new lighting controls are fantastic. Every photographer knows at the end of the day it's all about the light, and here the good folks at Adobe have outdone themselves with reworking the old exposure, recovery, fill light, and black sliders into four new sliders: highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. These new sliders give you far more control over how the light is exposed in your photographs allowing you much more granular control in all the details that matter. You also still get a broad exposure slider as well, but the other lighting sliders are where the action is for Lightroom 4. The new control over highlight light is especially welcome.


What else is cool and better with Lightroom 4? Clarity. The clarity slider in Lightroom 4 gives that ever so lovely grit that you love -- only now with much less glowing halo. I feel like I'm addicted to clarity these days.


My favorite improvement of all though is more of a pet peeve than anything. The thing that probably drove me nuts the most about Lightroom 3 was that my noise reduction and sharpening effects would not render correctly in fill view in the Develop module. I had my fingers crossed big time when the Lightroom 4 beta came out that they'd fix this problem and indeed they did. Ironically noise reduction and sharpening effects still do not render correctly at fill view in the Library module, but this is of much less concern to me than the Develop module where I spend most of my time processing.


As far as speed goes, Lightroom 4 is an improvement over the Lightroom 4 beta (which was slow as hell), but not really much of an improvement over Lightroom 3 for me. This may be my biggest disappointment in the release. I was hoping for a bigger speed boost, but Lightroom 4 still feels just a touch sluggish to me. I'm on a 3-year-old MacBook Pro though and maybe this is just God/Mother Nature's way of telling me that it's about time for me to upgrade my Mac and finally make the jump to SSD while I'm at it.


I've also now begun changing my workflow with Lightroom 4 and am now importing all of my photos as DNG instead of CR2 files. I'm doing this mostly because I'm hoping that Lightroom will run faster if I do this. Recent comments made by Product Manager Tom Hogarty suggest that DNG adoption may improve performance with Lightroom 4.


With Lightroom 4 you get much better control with your brushes these days as well. Adjustment brushes now include temperature, noise reduction, shadows and highlights.


Additional improvements include a new Book module (which I don't use now, but who knows, maybe someday I will), the ability to do very basic video edits, reverse geodecoding and tons of bug fixes.


More from CNET, 9 to 5 Mac, the Verge, and MacWorld.

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Uploaded on March 6, 2012