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New Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software is the professional photographer's essential toolbox, providing one easy application for managing, adjusting, and presenting large volumes of digital photographs so you can spend less time in front of the computer and more time behind the lens.
Submitted by Greg McCary a Expert
Date Reviewed: September 17, 2008
Strengths: File Organization, speed, ease of use
This is by far the best RAW editing software you can get. I have used it solid for over a year. File oraginization, and great easy to use RAW conversion software.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $179.00
Purchased At: Local Store
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by Xia_Ke a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: July 3, 2007
Strengths: Where do I begin? A few particulars I love:
*Ease of adjustments
*Use of metadata instead of editing actual photos
*Overall streamlining of workflow
Weaknesses: A couple things I would like to see as opposed to actual weaknesses:
*Better noise reduction
*Text and watermarking tools
*Ability to export print layouts as a jpeg or tiff file for those who don't print their own photos
Please note the $199 price reflects Adobe's introductory offer, which is no longer available. However, I will say this much, having used Lightroom for a bit now, it is worth every penny of the full $299 price. EVERY PENNY! Keep in mind, Lightroom is not meant to be a replacement to Photoshop. I can't remember where I read it but, I think it's summed up best by the statement that Photoshop is for destructive editing while Lightroom is for nondestructive editing.
I come from more of a graphic design background, rather than photography. I have been using Photoshop for a few years now and while it is great for graphic design where I am only working on a few things at a time, it is very inefficient when you just need to make level adjustments on a whole batch of photos. Another problem I found I was having was keeping track of all the photos I was taking.
In comes Adobe Lightroom. It was actually just something I stumbled across. I knew Photoshop CS3 was due out soon and I was looking to upgrade. While checking Adobe's website I saw this program called Lightroom. After reading more it seemed like just what I was looking for. However, having only enough funds to either get Lightroom or upgrade Photoshop, I opted to try the demo before I jumped in. Now, it's hard to picture my set-up without it. The other reviewers have done a great job of going through the modules but, I'll give a rundown and my opinions as well. Please note, this will be for release 1.1.
Library: This is the "bread and butter" of Lightroom. Above all, it was meant as a database for photos and boy does it do it well. This module allows you to catalog your shots in several different ways, add keywords and metadata info, review and compare your shots, and make quick adjustments, Now this is just a very abridged version of what the Library module is capable of. It does all of the above very well and has definitely streamlined things for me.
Develop: Here is why I really love Lighroom. Adjustments that used to take a while to do in Photoshop now can be done in a very small fraction of the time. To top it off, you can create a preset for any adjustment you may do and then you can apply them instantly to any other photo. One other nice feature is that all editing is done with metadata so your original is never actually edited. This is nice if you use jpegs as you won't degrade your shots. Also, adjustments done in Lightroom don't go way overboard like Photoshop does. They will only go to just beyond the point of looking fake. 2 adjustments I have found particularly helpful are "Recover" and "Fill Light". Have a little bit of blow out in the clouds of that landscape shot? Using the recover option will help bring back some of the detail. Lost some of the detail in your shadows? Add some "Fill Light" to bring it back. Keep in mind, there is no substitute for proper exposure but these will help even out harsh light conditions. To round things off, there is great grayscale conversion allowing you to controls levels of all colors/tones, noise reduction, sharpening (which has been much improved in 1.1), as well chromatic aberration and vignetting adjustments for lens correction, and finally camera calibration adjustments to help correct your camera's color profile settings. There are a couple of things I find that are missing or that could use improvement though. I would like to see better noise reduction capabilities. Also, I would like to have text capabilities and watermarking. However, Lightroom works flawlessly with Photoshop. Pics can be exported right into Photoshop, or any other editor, where you can make changes. Once saved, your changes will automatically be saved in Lightroom.
Print: I don't print my own photos, I send out for mine. That being the case I haven't really used the Print module yet. It seems great. Lots of layouts built in which are easy to adjust. Of course, as with everything in Lightroom, user presets are easy to create and save. One thing I would LOVE to have available on this, for people like myself who send out for printing, is the ability to set-up print layouts and then be able to export it as a jpeg or tiff. As it is now, I have to export to Photoshop to do layouts.
Slideshow and Web: I have not used either of these so please see the other reviews or Adobe's website.
Okay, assuming you are still reading this, let me just say I LOVE this program and couldn't imagine being without it now. I am very much just an amateur though, so please take the above review for what it's worth.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $199.00
Purchased At: Adobe
Similar Products Used: Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint, Nikon Picture Project, Irfanview, Photofiltre, etc.
Submitted by drg a Professional
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2007
Strengths: -The interface that allows seamless movement between modules
-Modularity does not enforce a particular workflow
-Unusually powerful tools such as the Targeted Adjustment Tools.
-Well thought out if not perfect presets for contrast and tonal choices
-Small footprint in size (see weakness for the potential gotcha)
-Click on everything interface
-Workflow is flexible
-Once set up, a very good print interface.
-Database separate from application and relocatable.
-1.1 update demonstrates Adobe's commitment to this concept.
-Interface with Adobe products as well as others.
Weaknesses: -Not as initially intuitive as it appears.
-Needs an improved text or watermark tool.
-Care must be exercised in preferences settings to prevent consuming excess disk space via saving and preview options including thumbnail retention.
-Some features buried and may require jumping to another module though not a big 'problem'.
-Thumbnails may take some time to update to reflect changes so that user can work more quickly on images in the Lightroom.
-The Identity Plate needs to be strengthened as a tool.
-Weakness or Strength, it is an evolving product.
[ I wanted to write and post this before the I became too familiar with the 1.1 upgrade. The Purchase price reflects also buying an 'official' CD of the product from ADOBE Systems ]
Lightroom from Adobe Systems is a new approach to Digital Image Management. Designed from a new viewpoint and refined via feedback during public beta, Lightroom brings photographers a powerful modular application for end to end processing.
The virtual working environment ensures that images do not degrade nor become bloated masses of data. Lightroom remembers via its database from session to session without need to 'save your work'.
The Library module contains extensive sorting, selection, conversion, global adjustments, viewing and comparison options. This is not a conventional browser. You don't need one. The user explicitly chooses files to work with and then they are displayed in one of several options including a grid or filmstrip.
The Develop module, implemented from Adobe Camera Raw, handles RAW and other images from original digital or scanned sources. Image specific tools which have been further improved in the latest 1.1 release are available to refine photographs. There is the ability to use an external editor such as Adobe Photoshop (various versions) for images that requires extra work or special features not currently part of Lightroom.
The Slideshow, Print, and Web modules complete the Lightroom. Here are options not available before in a product of this type 'under one roof'.
Lightroom is not what I at first imagined. Viewing it as another browser/processor/image manager is a disservice. Understanding the underlying effort to keep it simple and not become another bloated product with a steep learning curve aids in appreciating the product. It is a place to handle those large shoots, a day of just out shooting, or collections that previously just wouldn't come together.
As a working professional photographer, once I used Lightroom for a deliverable, I was hooked. Now it is the tool I use the most for handling and adjustments to photographs. I use it for my personal work too, including 'just' snapshots.
Can Lightroom work for one or two photographs? Sure. But let's face it, there are always a lot more than one or two photos to catalog and eventually be able to find again. When there is lots of work, lots of repetition, and not having to do the same thing over and over again, this is where Lightroom really excels...
Users can globally sync up Meta data, adjustments, conversion types, output sizes and more with minimum work. Meta Tags can be assigned upon the initial import of images in the Library module including copyrights, IPTC tags, and keywords and then assigned to a new collection. Add the ability to assign a series of global adjustments to an individual collection of RAW images and you are on your way.
The briefly mentioned update to Lightroom version 1.1, improves the program with not only a powerful sharpening module, but a clarity tool for contrast adjustment and lets the user work across multiple storage platforms and has better data basing facility.
The Adobe PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM BOOK, The Complete Guide for Photographers, by Martin Evening from Adobe Press is a highly recommended 'accessory'.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $225.00
Purchased At: Adobe Systems
Similar Products Used: Digital Photo Pro
Adobe Bridge (and other Adobe related products)
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by gahspidy a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: June 27, 2007
Strengths: Too much to list. . .everything
Excellent library/browser for your digital images.
Good editing functions and tools.
Allows you to perform common tasks quickly and to many images at one time.
Excellent handling of RAW files, as well as others.
Weaknesses: Some of which I mentioned previously but have now been addressed in the 1.1 version (free upgrde)
Lightroom is basically a very sophisticated and well thought out library/browser for your vast stash of ever-growing volumes of digital pictures. In addition to be very good at keeping track of all your files, it has the ability to handle RAW format and provides some powerful editing abilities for adjusting your RAW files as well as files of other formats. It is not meant to replace Photoshop, but rather works as a front to it and allows you to further edit an image by opening it in PS itself.
At first, Ifound it a bit awkward to incorporate Lightroom into my regular workflow. I think this is because when you make edits and adjustments to your images, you don't click close and save. . .you simply move on to the next. Lightroom does not actually apply these edits to your file, but simply gives you previews of how the changes look. your file is never"damaged" or altered. This is a good thing, but took me some time adapting to the concept. I personally have always felt comfortable in finalizing an image if I was happy with my changes. This is not to say that you cannot finalize an image after you have done your adjustments. Lightroom allows you to "Export" your finished file in a choice of different formats to whatever folder you wish. If I wish to finalize an image and save it as a tiff file, i can Export it as such and have it savede to the same folder where it will lay side by side with it's original RAW file.
There are lots of great things about LightRoom, and i am getting more and more comfortable working with it.
I had some disappointment with a few things such as the sharpening filter, some minor issues with layout, and mostly the fact that when i would hover my pointer over an image it would not display its characteristics.(making me have to actually click on it to see if it was a RAW file or Tiff, etc)
Today, Lightroom just made available an upgrade (free) to 1.1ver. which addressed all the little things that quirked me about it. Great sharpening filter now, file info available on hovering pointer, and some visual improvements in the layout.
Great, I'm really lovin this program now.
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $199.00
Purchased At: Amazon.com
Similar Products Used: ACDC, Jasc Paint shop pro, Photoshop CS2
Type of photography: Outdoor
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