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Adobe Lightroom 3.2 Review

Review by Ron Risman

September, 2010



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Review Sections:

Introduction (1)Library (2)Develop (3)Slideshow, Print & Web (4)Conclusion (5)

Introduction

This review is based on two months of using and testing Lightroom 3.0, as well as testing both Lightroom 3.2 'RC' and the final release of the Lightroom 3.2 update. Throughout this review I will point out new features and benefits over Lightroom 2.0 and will also highlight some of the new updates and enhancements in the free Lightroom 3.2 update that was just released. Keep in mind that as subsequent versions are released - with patches, enhancements, and bug fixes - that some things mentioned in this review may change.

Update: I was about to publish this review yesterday, August 30th, while at the same time Adobe released the Lightroom 3.2 update. I have been using the 'Release Candidate" of Lightroom 3.2 for a few weeks and had experienced some performance problems with it, so instead of publishing my review yesterday afternoon I instead downloaded the public release of Lightroom 3.2 and used it for a few hours last night in order to update this review before it went live. In testing the software last night I did find that Adobe has corrected some of the performance issues that was plaguing the 'release candidate' version as it rendered full screen previews on the fly. So in this review whenever I talk about Lightroom 3.0 you can apply every thing mentioned to Lightroom 3.2. Please see the last page of this review (Page 5) for a list of updates that are contained within Lightroom 3.2 - most of which are support for newly released camera models and lenses.

Review

Adobe Lightroom 3.0 improves on the immensely popular 2.0 version of the same software.  Lightroom 2.0 has become somewhat of the defacto standard for photography workflow and editing, and has done so in fairly rapid time.  At first glance it would seem that a decision must be made between purchasing Lightroom or Photoshop as they offer some overlapping editing features, but after taking a closer look it soon becomes clear that the two software packages complement each other and Adobe will continue to work hard to keep it that way. 

This review is not about the differences between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, instead it will focus on the feature enhancements in Lightroom 3.0 (and 3.2) and whether Lightroom 3.x should be at the top of your list as a new purchase or as an upgrade from 1.0 or 2.0.

For those unfamiliar, Lightroom 3.0 is software for both the PC and Mac platform that allows you to catalogue and manage your images, perform non-destructive edits, print your images singularly or in a variety of layouts including custom layouts, create slideshows, web portfolios, and manage images that you upload to popular photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Facebook, SmugMug, and others.

New Enhancements and Features in Lightroom 3.0

There are a host of feature and performance improvements in Lightroom 3 including an overall speed increase, smarter imports, tethered capture, improved noise reduction, better sharpening algorithms, improved (more natural) vignette, lens correction with perspective correction, the ability to organize video clips alongside photographs, improved watermarks, more flexible print layouts, exportable slideshows with HD quality, and the ability to manage images uploaded to online services such as Flickr or Facebook.

Lightroom is broken into five modules, each performing different functions.  Each of the modules are broken down and explained in further detail below:

Layout

Lightroom is laid out identically to Lightroom 2.0. Slide out left & right columns house drop down panels The center of the screen is reserved for image display, either as thumbnails or individually.  The pop-up film strip along the bottom contains thumbnails of whatever collection, gallery or folder you have selected, while the top of the screen contains the menu navigation, links to the individual modules (Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web), and a Library filter that allows you to find and display images based on a variety of filters or metadata (star rating, file format, keywords, etc.).

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Lightroom 3.2 Review Pages:

Introduction (1)Library (2)Develop (3)Slideshow, Print & Web (4)Conclusion (5)

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