Lightroom 3

Lightroom 3 is now officially out, although I’ve not yet bought it but I certainly will. The upgrade price (from version 1.x or 2.x)  in the UK is around £75 (the cheapest I’ve yet seen is £72.99 on Amazon with free delivery) and if you are a teacher or student you can get the full version for around the same price. It seems to cost a couple of pounds more to download, which seems odd to me.

You can watch some Adobe videos about it which as well as showing off the product do also give some useful advice. As yet there don’t seem to be any reviews of the final product that go further than the press release.

As well as the much improved noise reduction that we’ve seen in the beta versions, it now also has several new features I’ve long been asking for, though of course I’m still waiting to see how well they work. Chief among them is lens correction, allowing you to set up single-click profiles for automatically reducing geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. It should ship with profiles for some common Nikon, Canon and Sigma lenses, but Adobe will also offer a free tool for creating your own profiles for any camera/lens combination. You can also manually alter the corrections.

Also very useful is perspective correction, one of the few other remaining reasons why I sometimes need to export images to Photoshop. I can also see myself making use of the new image watermarking tool, though other features such as the film grain simulation and Flickr integration I’ll probably give a miss – unless it’s so easy I change my mind on Flickr (and watermarking might well help there.)

I was less than convinced by the ‘easy image importing’ in the beta – frankly it seemed rather more fuss than the present simple dialogue, and images didn’t always quite end up where I wanted, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Something that isn’t made a great deal of, but I think many will find useful is the ability to use the tone curve just like the one in Photoshop. But perhaps even more important than all the little improvements it promises an overall performance increase.

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