Adobe releases Lightroom 3

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Adobe has released Lightroom 3, the latest version of its popular photography workflow management and raw processing software. This new version is filled with a number of improvements and new tools, including support for DSLR video files, improved noise reduction and image sharpening features, and profile-based lens correction—a feature that was rolled-out for Photoshop users in the recent Camera Raw 6.1 update.

A number of other improvements are also included in this release: Lightroom’s overall performance speed has been increased to keep up with constantly growing library and image file sizes. Photographers can design and add custom watermarks to their images. Slideshow tools have been improved as well—it’s now possible to include custom soundtracks on slideshows and export them as video files in a variety of sizes, up to 1080p. Over in the Print screen, new tools allow users to create and print (or save as JPEG) custom picture layouts, and even save a layout as a preset.

One of Lightroom 3’s most anticipated new features is tethered capture. Photographers can now connect a supported camera directly to their computer, open Lightroom 3, and have images instantly imported into any folder on their computer or network while they shoot.  A full list of supported cameras can be found on Adobe's site.

The official release of Lightroom 3 follows a seven-month public beta process. Lightroom developers used the large pool of beta testers to fine-tune new features and solicit feedback on the program. Lightroom 3 beta was downloaded over 600,000 times following its release in October 2009. The beta version of Lightroom 3 will expire on June 30, and any testers who want to continue using it will need to purchase the program.

Anticipation for Lightroom 3 has been building since Apple released the latest version of its competitor photo management program, Aperture 3, in February, which also added DSLR video support.

Lightroom 3 is available now at for $299, or as a $99 upgrade for qualified existing Lightroom users. Lightroom 3 runs on a Windows PC or an Intel Mac running 10.5 or later, with 2GB of RAM and 1GB of hard drive space.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Superb new noise reduction algorithms
    • Better lens correction tools and support for lens profiles
    • Ability to maintain synchronized collections
    • Great watermarking tool
    • Slideshow module now exports video


    • Still some interface anomalies
    • Publish Services needs some work
    • Lightroom’s modal nature can still inhibit workflow
    • Lacks some of the frills found in Aperture
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