Lightroom's update speeds up your workflow – and much more....

Product Overview

Overall rating:

91%
Overall score:91%

Product:

Adobe Lightroom 1.1

Price as reviewed:

£205.00

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Lightroom’s extensive Beta period produced a piece of software that, for a first release, was pretty much perfect – or so it seemed. But as with most software packages, as users report bugs, the program needs updating to fix those. This first .1 update from Adobe, however, has taken things a little further, with some quite major changes and additions.

The main change is how the interface actually works. The Library module was quite unwieldy, as Lightroom v.1 referenced pictures in folder subsets. That option is still available but Adobe has now added catalogue options. Folders or imported pictures can simply be opened in their own Lightroom window as a Catalog, which can be saved. This really speeds things up, making Lightroom work more like one of my favourite applications, iView Media Pro. Catalogs can be imported, merged and exported too. Incidentally, in the ‘import from card’ option, you can automatically eject the disc after import – a small change but typical of the updates in Lightroom that speed up your workflow.



Another new feature in the Library module is the Spray can, which replaces the keyword stamp. This lets you ‘spray’ multiple images by moving your cursor over images in the library window, and it’s not just limited to keywords, but ratings, flags, labels and more, and is a useful tool for quickly tagging or selecting images.



In the Develop module, Adobe has brought in some of the features from the Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 update, including the ability to mask areas so you can sharpen just the edges, for example. Sharpening now works on the Luminance channel, so only sharpens the detail and not the colours. This makes it a better tool all round as, previously, accurate sharpening had to be done in Photoshop.



Another new tool is the Clarity slider, which uses a combination of contrast and sharpening to add crispness to an image, and despite the interface remaining the same, the noise reduction is much better. There are numerous subtle improvements to other areas of the Develop module, including better spotting tools, and the red-eye tool having a makeover.



The Slideshow module now gives smoother transitions, and you can now select images in the library for inclusion in the slideshow, rather than the slideshow showing every picture in the folder.



There have also been changes to the Print and Web sections, including a fast resolution selection tool in the Print module, as well as a print overlay, which displays the image size, and the ability to add borders and drop shadows to web galleries in the Web module.

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Verdict

Usually a .1 update to software wouldn?t warrant a review in WDC, but Adobe has thrown the rulebook out of the window ever since it first announced the public beta of Lightroom. Aside from bugs and minor fixes, this is quite a big overhaul of the original Lightroom software, and tinkering with the program shows more than is highlighted in the update Read Me file. The Catalog system in itself is a big improvement both to workflow, speed and sharing catalogs across a network, while new controls such as the sharpness masking are genuinely useful, well thought through and executed perfectly. In short, a great piece of software is now even better, proving to be a fantastic tool for the photographer ? and we?re still only in Version 1…

Verdict

Usually a .1 update to software wouldn’t warrant a review in WDC, but Adobe has thrown the rulebook out of the window ever since it first announced the public beta of Lightroom. Aside from bugs and minor fixes, this is quite a big overhaul of the original Lightroom software, and tinkering with the program shows more than is highlighted in the update Read Me file. The Catalog system in itself is a big improvement both to workflow, speed and sharing catalogs across a network, while new controls such as the sharpness masking are genuinely useful, well thought through and executed perfectly. In short, a great piece of software is now even better, proving to be a fantastic tool for the photographer – and we’re still only in Version 1…