I started using Lightroom when its first version came out in beta in 2006, and it has been my main tool for organizing and processing my images ever since. Every new version provides a significant upgrade, with less need to drop out of Lightroom to Photoshop or other software packages to do something extra.

Adobe has now released a beta of the next version – Lightroom 4.   They provide a helpful set of videos with Julieanne Kost showing what’s new in this version.

I’m always most interested in what they do in the develop module,  so found this video of particular interest.  The 12 minute video covers:

  • The new 2012 process
  • The new develop module sliders for Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks.  These are quite different to those used in Lightroom 3. By default they all start in the middle at zero; moving to the right brightens that part of the image, and to the left darkens it.
  • Automatic chromatic aberration correction
  • Local adjustments now include colour balance, so you can fix local colour casts
  • Local adjustments also include noise reduction, so you can fix brightened up shadow areas where local noise has appeared
  • Improvements to saving presets

You can get the Lightroom 4 beta from here if you want to have a play. Be aware that it is a 400 mbyte download, and as a beta you should just be exploring and not using it as the only means of managing your photos.  It’s free, but this Beta 1 will expire on 31 March.

Finally, here’s just one example what Lightroom 4 Beta can do.  This is part of a random image of mine with bad chromatic aberration (the green and purple fringing) that was very well corrected, automatically.

Part of an image with bad chromatic aberration

Image after automatic chromatic aberration correction by Lightroom 4 Beta

Image after automatic chromatic aberration correction by Lightroom 4 Beta