Adobe just announced the first public beta of the upcoming Lightroom 3, the next version of its professional photo-management and post-processing application. As someone who’s recently taken to photography as a hobby and has been trying out Apple's Aperture 2, I’m excited to see the changes listed for this beta.
According to Adobe, Lightroom has been reworked from the ground up to make it faster and more capable of dealing with large and ever-growing libraries. It also uses a better noise-reduction technique so that you can improve your photos taken at high ISO settings. Besides these improvements, there is a new watermarking tool, portable sharable slideshows with audio, more options for creating print packages, a film grain simulation tool, better importing, and better support for publishing your images online.
Adobe’s Web site has a few short videos highlighting the changes in the beta, a blog post about the update, and other resources on the newly instated NAPP Lightroom 3 Beta Resource Center. Free trial versions for both Mac OS X (68.1MB) and Windows (120MB) are available for download (a free Adobe ID is a prerequisite, though) and will expire on April 30, 2010. The Mac version requires Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6, 2GB of RAM, and 1GB of hard drive space. I’ve installed it already; it’s time to see if Lightroom can really give Aperture a run for its money.