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Lightroom 4 is now available!

Tuesday 6 March 2012

After a number of weeks of beta testing, Adobe has released the full version of Lightroom 4 – the most widely anticipated upgrade for digital photographers around the world.

Lightroom has become the industry standard application for managing small and large catalogues of digital photographs and has virtually replaced Photoshop as the “darkroom of choice” for processing digital images. As well, Lightroom’s superior printing capabilities have made it the mainstay of fine art photographers who regularly make fine art prints.

Lightroom 4 adds a number of capabilities to what is already an excellent product. Perhaps the most significant is the new Develop module. At first glance, the adjustments will appear the same. This is because LR4 loads your images into LR3’s 2010 Process Version. But you will notice an exclamation point icon down in the bottom right (when in the Develop module). Click on it and you can convert the image to Process Version 2012.At the same time, the Basic palette of the Develop module is also converted to the new adjustments. These new adjustments – Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks – provide for even greater “accuracy” to specific tonal regions within each image. Basically, Tone Mapping – which offers much more precise control – comes to Lightroom! As you drag your cursor over the different adjustments in the Basic palette, note how the Histogram highlights the areas that will be adjusted.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… Lightroom 4 is coming in at a lower price point – only $149 for the full version and $79 for the upgrade or education versions. Once you’ve purchased and downloaded LR4, expect to take a few minutes to install it. Then, when you first open it, LR4 will upgrade your LR3 catalogue and previews. Note: you will still be able to use LR3 after the upgrade; LR3 will just need to re-create the previews in it’s own preview format. When you open LR4, you may also need to update your plugins to a version that will work with LR4. This process is straightforward with dialogue boxes to prompt/remind you to do so.

I will provide more information about LR4 over the next few days and weeks. It is exciting to have yet more creative power at our fingertips, so stay tuned!

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