And there’s always a but, this version will expire sometime in March when Adobe issues the commercial version.
Also anytime you work with anything called “beta” it means all bets are off when it comes to manufacturer’s guarantees. So if you do download Lightroom 4 make sure your original files are safe and you’re working with copies. Why? Some beta software has been known to crash without warning and you don’t want to be working on unsaved images if this happens.
So why I am so excited about Lightroom 4?
While this is a conditional excitement (I’m still waiting for the big guys to weigh in) the videos from Adobe TV that walk you through the changes suggest that LR4 might be a way better product than LR3 which is the industry standard for working photographers. (Photoshop is still the big daddy of RAW editors but Lightroom does everything a working pro needs done quickly and at less than half the cost at $300 and less for an upgrade from a previous version.)
You don’t need to be a pro to appreciate and use LR3 or 4. What it’s really good for is quickly processing large numbers of RAW files and creating top-quality JPGs for viewing, printing or selling. If you shoot weddings or special events or even hundreds of images at Aunt Sally’s birthday party you’ll love Lightroom.
If you shoot a few dozen images and just want to send them via email them to Aunt Sally or post them on a Flickr site then IPhoto (free on the Mac) or Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 (available for PC or Mac at under $100 is more than adequate.) For example, my wife who won’t call herself an amateur photographer took our Olympus Pen with her on a couple of trips with her mom, sister, sister-in-law and niece and came back with a few hundred images that were actually pretty good. Using IPhoto she cropped and edited the RAW images and created enough JPGs that she made a photo book as a Christmas gift. That’s our niece doing her Sophia Loren thing.
So there you have it. If you’re looking for some new RAW editing software try out LR4 and the rest of us better start saving up to but the upgrade.
Photos on this post by Marion West.