Adobeu2019s rival to Appleu2019s Aperture software has been updated to reflect early users' experiences.

Adobe?s rival to Apple?s Aperture software has been updated to reflect early users’ experiences. Available as a free beta version, the photography workflow program enables users to import, select, develop and showcase large volumes of images.

The latest version adds features suggested by beta testers that allow greater control over export size and resolution, refined metadata selection with print output and RGB value readouts for greater editing precision.

New to the Develop module are Before and After preview tools and history features that allow a photographer to quickly preview and track changes and exert more control over the size and resolution of exported photos. A new dedicated Web module provides a rich web content editing experience and live previews of HTML and Flash output. Other features include resolution control in the Export module, an additional Straighten tool to correct camera angle issues, keyword import and export and the ability to save module settings with collections or shoots. Auto Import or Hot Folder support allows photographers to automatically add images to the Lightroom Library from a specified directory.

“We’d like to thank our early beta testers, and encourage more user participation in helping us build a final product that best serves photographers’ unique needs,” said Dave Story, vice president of product development for Digital Imaging at Adobe. “We will build upon the success of the public beta program with the release of a Windows version this summer.”

Leveraging industry-leading Adobe Camera Raw 3.4 technology, Lightroom now supports over 120 native raw file formats. New camera models supported by this beta are Canon EOS 30D, Epson R-D1s, Leaf Aptus 65 and Aptus 75, Olympus EVOLT E-330 and SP-320, Pentax *ist DL2 and Samsung GX-1S. Once images are imported, they can be showcased via slideshows, complete with music, as well as drop shadows, borders, Identity Plates and different coloured backgrounds.

During Lightroom’s public beta period modules and features will be added or changed based on the necessity and priority within digital photography workflows.

Lightroom beta 3.0 for Macintosh OSX Tiger (10.4.3), a universal binary application that runs on both Power PC and Intel Macs, is available for free download from the Adobe Labs Web site at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom. Recommended system requirements are Macintosh OSX 10.4.3, 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 768 MB RAM and 1024×768 resolution screen. The final shipping version will be released in late 2006. A Windows version of Lightroom beta will be available for download this summer. Further details around pricing, system requirements and availability have yet to be determined.