I’ve got some great news for you this morning: Lightroom 3 is out and available for download!
I already discussed the most important new features in an older blogpost but here’s a summary:
- Better Image Quality (mainly Sharpness and Noise Reduction) through new processing technology: you might want to give those older files a spin
- Highly improved and streamlined import dialog with a lot more control: you’ll finally know beforehand where your imported pictures will wind up on your harddrive!
- Built-in tethered shooting for selected Nikon and Canon cameras: see what you’re capturing on something bigger (and more calibrated) than your 3 inch camera LCD
- New Effects Panel with improved Post Crop Vignette (it looks like the natural Vignette, but works from the cropped corners) and a fairly realistic film grain rendering engine.
- Export your slideshows as an (HD) video, including music
- New Custom Package Print Layout lets you put different photos in different sizes on the same page: great for card layouts. Add some text with the Identity Plate and for a lot of simpler projects, you won’t have to go to Photoshop or Indesign again when you want to layout a greeting card
- And finally, saving the best for last, a feature that was not yet in the public beta: automatic Lens Corrections.
This feature alone will be worth the upgrade price to a lot of users: if a correction module is available, you can set up Lightroom to automatically remove Lens Distortions, Chromatic Aberration and Vignetting. This is done at a raw level, so it does not render a TIFF file. This is a huge time and space-saver. The list of supported lenses will be somewhat limited at first, but is expected to grow with future dot releases of Lightroom 3. Furthermore, you can create your own profiles with the freely available Lens Profile Creator. No doubt, others will also make correction modules available either for free or a fee. And finally, if I were a manufacturer of lenses such as Nikon, Canon, Sigma or Tamron, I’d be sure to put up some profiles on my website as well! These automatic profiles work together with manual profiling, which allows you to correct perspective distortion (you know, those buildings that seem to trip over because you could not get far enough away from them when taking the picture). Below is a Before & After screenshot of a the combined results of Automatic corrections (the barrel-distortion of the 24-70 at 24 mm) and Manual fine-tuning (making the left and right edges of the window frame run parallel to each other).
It’s taken a while longer than expected, but Lightroom 3 is well worth the wait. Check it out for yourself on www.adobe.com. If you want a multi-language installer, you’d better check your local Adobe site. Belgian & Dutch people can follow this link.
Update: in Europe, the full version of Lightroom 3 will cost about 300 € (with slight variations depending on whether you choose a boxed version or a download and the VAT of your country). This is similar to what Lightroom 2 cost.
The upgrade will cost less than 100 € and that price is valid for both LR1 and LR2 users! Just make sure your computer meets the system requirements for Lightroom 3.