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Lightroom 4 – Continued success!

Sunday 1 April 2012

I am certainly enjoying the new Basic panel of Lightroom 4. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but my results so far have always been an improvement over what I could achieve with Lightroom 3.

The biggest difference I find is how much more precise the adjustments are to specific tonal regions. The best example is in the Exposure adjustment – it really does a wonderful job on the mid-tones without adding highlight clipping with increases or shadow clipping with decreases in exposure. This is at it should be.

Furthermore, the Highlight adjustment does a superb job with the high 3/4 tones without introducing highlight clipping – again, wonderful. The same can be said with the Shadows – I can open up shadows very nicely and much more precisely than with LR3.

Something else I’m finding, is that LR4 is much better at handling slightly clipped Highlights. In typical Expose-to-the-Right fashion, when shooting raw I slightly clip my Highlights to achieve slightly greater dynamic range. LR4 tames those Highlights much more smoothly than previously.

As a result of these improvements, I find I am reprocessing more and more of my LR3-processed images (Process Version 2010) to PV2012. However, in doing so, I don’t like what LR4 does in attempting to match what PV2010 did. I found that I needed to “zero” the Basic palette adjustments (not the masks, though, not th lens corrections, so “Reset” is not an option) and start over. Not a problem as the results were better than what I had previously, but it does mean spending a few minutes tweaking the Basic adjustments. To do the “aerating” easily, I created a Develop Preset called “Zero after PV change” – one click and the Basic palette adjustments are zeroed and ready for me to work with.

One caveat – Speed: LR4 is slower on my MacBook Pro 2 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM. I notice a lag with switching modules which is annoying. Also, with some adjustments there is a lag.

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