a16 April 2013

Lightroom 5 beta - evolution not revolution

I took this photo almost 2 years ago in the Old Town of Warsaw, Poland during sunset. There is quite a mess in the frame but what I like in this image is very soft light, resulting in very calm and tranquil atmosphere.
With previous versions of Lightroom introducing so many new cool features (eg. version 4.0 reinvented most of the sliders, added Book module; 4.1 introduced tone-mapping as well as improved controls for chromatic aberration reduction) I expected the same from the next major release, i.e. 5.0 which beta was just released by Adobe yesterday. You can download the beta for free from Adobe website. It will continue to work until 5.0 is officially released (a few months from now probably).

Frankly speaking I'm slightly disappointed with scope of changes. Although there are some nice and interesting additions, there is nothing without what I couldn't live (eg. I can't live with Clarity slider from 4.0 :) ). Here is the list of major changes with a short comment from me for each of the features. Probably there are hundreds of smaller improvements but I'm yet to discover them:

Improved Spot Removal - spot removal saw some great overhaul in version 5.0. It is no longer simple spot removal in fact as you can select irregular regions (and not only "spots") by making brush strokes. So I would say it's now closer to Spot Healing Brush tool from Photoshop CS (although still not that powerful).

In the image below I used this feature to get rid of the trash bin:

Upright - the best addition of all in my opinion - it can automatically fix skewed horizontal or vertical lines with a single mouse click. It does some great job and will probably be loved by anyone shooting architecture without a tilt-shift lens. What's great about this feature is that it doesn't crop much of the image.
In the image below I managed to fix all vertical lines by choosing Vertical option from Upright panel:

Radial local adjustment - up to know there were 2 types of local adjustments: graduated filter and adjustment brush. Now there is 3rd one - radial gradient filter. It works in a bit similar way to U-Point technology from Nik. You draw a circle (or an ellipse) and adjustment is applied only inside it (or outside of it). You can also feather the adjustment.

Below is the sample image. I used two radial filters on the clouds to add more drama to them. I could of course use adjustment brush to achieve the same result but it was much quicker with radial filter. Graduated filter wouldn't work here well as there isn't clear line dividing sky and the buildings.

Offline editing - you no longer need to have access to your original files while editing photos (of course you will need this access during export) - instead you can use Smart Preview - smaller version of the original file.

There are also some improvements to Slideshow and Book modules. However, I haven't looked into them yet as I don't use neither feature often.

As I said these are pretty nice features but I don't think they will greatly improve image quality like changes in version 4 did. For me the only useful ones are Radial filter and Upright so unless I will find some other useful improvements I will stick to version 4 for now.

I'm interested to hearing your thoughts, so share them here or eg. on Facebook.

Post a Comment