Lightroom 3 Beta 2 – What's New

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ADOBE Lightroom 3 is coming this June. The second beta release for testing now highlights the new technology for image processing that was only hinted at in the first release.  This new beast now has twists and curves.

Release  2 from Adobe of Lightroom 3 Beta more than hints at what is coming. Adobe wants to get it right. This latest test release has changes and additions from the first Beta that were worth the wait.

Curve adjustments

User request generated or from basic operation practicality this Beta is sporting some serious curves! Yes, full tonal curve adjustment is supported within the Lightroom.  Finally!

The custom curves each can be saved  for future use or to produce variants virtually in Lightroom and look at them side by side or in  a Collection as has been possible with Treatments.


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All the listed tonal curve selections  in the pull down menu below Strong Contrast were user added. They range from standard curve ‘tweaks’ to exotics like  Slide Contrast and Chrome.  In the left Panel a history of changes can also be seen. These changes are part of what created the virtual images in the Quick Collection sample via the Ctrl  ‘ command.

One interesting side note. Those of you using LR 2.x may notice some of these saved curve definitions popping up as options in your older version! They share a directory for storage under the defaults. Can’t edit them to the degree you can in LR3, but you can create more radical tweaks with the control point technology that is now available.

A Quick Collection display  in a Lightroom Screen Shot below shows several variations at thumbnail size, along with some other photos for contrast. The full size sample of the tree bole is in the ‘Special Gallery’ link below. It is available for comparison testing for those who desire a sample with that type of basic contrast, shadow and light, detail, and colors. Have fun!


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New Image Technology

The first Adobe Lightroom 3 Beta Overview testing of the new image technology did not show much overall improvement in either WYSIWYG or print tests.  The Process 1 and 2 ‘toggling’ in LR3Beta1  did not do much except in de-mosaicing on edges and color transitions. That review mentioned that  print workflow was being done mostly outside of LR3Beta1 and there may have been some interaction that ‘stepped on’ improvements.  The same print workflow this time produced markedly better output.

Adobe is now references  image improvements as the 2010 (v 2003) technology. The Lightroom TV presentation on Release 2 talks more about this and the various built in toggles available for direct comparison.

The sample image of the Color Checker below in the Noise Reduction section was shot at an ISO 3200 level in very mixed and bad lighting . It shows the improvement  from a basic ACR RAW  conversion to an optimized output. Minor White Balance was applied to aid in clearly displaying how much NR cleans up.  All processing was done within Lightroom 3 beta release 2. Only the Screen Shot grab was externally manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. The full image containing this Color Checker is in the Special Gallery and is offered as a base level ACR RAW translation without any White Balance adjustment via 2003 technology from LR3beta2.

Noise Reduction

In this beta, full Noise Reduction is available. The first release disabled part of the NR tools (except by an ‘exploit’ that wasn’t documented). Realistic evaluation is now available. Each users work will benefit differently and cameras and conditions will further alter the results.  The sample of a portion of a standard Color Checker below demonstrates a before and after of an image captured at ISO 3200 in mixed light. The ‘Select’ image uses Process 2003 and the ‘Candidate’ image uses Process 2010.  Process options are available in the Camera Calibration Panel when using the Develop Module.

Other adjustments for the ‘Candidate’ image include Camera Profiling,  Sharpening, and optimized Noise Reduction with some ‘Detail’ retained.


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Other Comments

Lightroom 3 is going to have some level of video capability. This test version only displays/recognizes video files and launches them in the default  system  viewer. The prevalence of video capability in cameras and popularity for all expertise levels demands some functionality in the basic imaging workspace. How far Adobe will go in Lightroom is really unknown and evaluation is so far meaningless.

Lots of ‘fixes’ and interface changes have already been exploited  from the beta input process including fixing the sub-folder problem in an obvious way. A big check box at the upper portion of the Input screen should have been there all along. There’s also elimination of some of the trickier little things about the LR interface in the Develop module.  The PDF release notes contain several large and small fixes tricks and new features worth looking over.

One area of increased or noticeable performance boost appears to be in processing of DNG files. These files load noticeably quicker and update on the screen faster than other complex image types. Adobe’s investment in DNG not withstanding, this may provide an interesting glimpse into their engineering of data handling. As camera manufacturer’s offer more models that generate DNG as a in-camera file type, this may generate even more Lightroom Users.

There is a new vastly improved Watermarking functionality. The ‘Special Gallery’ contains  samples including images  generated with a PNG file as the watermark. The Tree Bole sample also contains a rotated watermark. Various images posted contain variations of some options now  available. Adobe has been consistent in enabling saving of all variations or optional Watermark types for the Lightroom user.

The ‘Special Gallery’ will continue to have samples added for other features or even if problems appear. The added Curve set will be made fully available via graphic representation after the regular LR3 release later this year.

Adobe has added an enhanced direct tethering option. In this version it is limited to certain professional and new models of cameras. There are a many other cameras including Digital Medium Format that will undoubtedly be added in the first full LR3 release. Several improvements based on LR’s ability to organize file handling workflow are now included. This test facility provides more hints at what is to come and is a large improvement over just having a ‘watched folder’ for capture of shots.


The major changes in Lightroom from the  overview of Beta 1 of Release 3 haven’t been reviewed again in this article. Changes and improvements are well covered in the Release notes (in PDF form from Adobe). The browser, organizational, meta data, file naming and handling and Library components continue to be made more functional and powerful. Commentary on these will be saved for the ‘final’ version in the new Lightroom this summer!

Lightroom 3 Beta 2 is a test program. It will go away when the first real version is released  and that appears to be slated for June 2010. In the meantime we can continue to evaluate and comment to Adobe Systems on what is needed. Add your comments to the Adobe database and please share your impressions of LR3Beta2 here and in the forums.

Oh yeah, one more thing . . .


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Lightroom still does Black and White very, very well.

CD Price ‘drg’

Adobe Links

Adobe Web Page
Official Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Page > >
Adobe TV for Lightroom Products - The Videos
Adobe Labs Forum Lightroom 3 – Share your comments with Adobe

Related Content

Adobe Software News
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Photography Software & Post Processing Forum

The Lightroom 3 Beta 2  Special Gallery at Photography Review

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  • PAul says:

    What looks really significant is the Publish option.
    First of all because they support Flickr and commenting through Pro accounts.
    That is a great push for Flickr.

    Secondly because it would be fantastic for Photography to have a publish service for Galleries or Forums.
    I suspect that Galleries would be more appropriate, but what better way to push than by making a publish service available in Lightroom 3?

  • CD Price - drg says:


    This was one topic that was discussed a lot with the first beta release. I’d like to see a more generic option, one that could be parametrized for different purposes beyond just Flickr or ‘fixed’ photo sharing sites. Of course PR would be at the top of my list!

    Like several other items spread throughout the Beta’s, I believe there is evidence that Adobe will do a lot more with several of the new features than we have seen yet. If not in LR3, by the second or third update (i.e. LR3.1 or L3.2) there will be several expansion of features to compete with other workflow products.

    Thanks for taking time to comment! Let Adobe know what you think too! That might help speed up the process.

    - CDPrice ‘drg’

  • PAul says:

    #1 workflow feature for me, I’m already using it:
    Setting the export parameters to restrict output file size to 280KB.
    I now no longer need a resizing application to produce files for forum upload.
    I can leave the sizing at 800px and let Lightroom optimise the output quality to match file size.

  • CD Price - drg says:

    That new set of paramters for exporting images is ‘very’ handy. A lot of little features like this keep appearing in the Adobe Lightroom concept. Tells me that this front end is indeed solidifying as the direction Photography Processing is going to continue to follow for some time yet.

    I’m glad. The Lightroom concept takes some dedication initially to make perform well, but once it is in place it is very efficient. It can be still used as a quick and dirty way to punch out work. Now I’m finding I can punch out that work as quickly with all the bells and whistles in play and then not have to revisit the work except when needed. Takes some experience and repetition to tag, keyword, organize, evaluate, edit, export/publish/post, etc. but from beginning to end this product has continued to improve for me since I first really started to exploit it’s full features.

    Saving the various sets of parameters from keyword/smart collections to watermarks, to universal/exposure match adjustment (to name a few) also can really speed up work as the day goes on.

    Keep checking the Special Gallery for added photos. I’ve had queries about other users adding images and have made that possible. See the Forums for Details.

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