Adobe Announces Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta

Adobe has just released a whole slew of videos showing off the Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta.  Yes, you can download it now. Yes, it’s free to use.  (Links below.)  In the past there’s been an internal expiration on the beta application, so you won’t be able to keep using it very long after the final release becomes available.

If you’re new to Lightroom you can check out all the videos, but if you’re an old-hand here’s what I recommend.  First, skip the “Intro” video, the “Mapping” video, and the “dSLR Video” video.  There are some nice tidbits in there, but nothing to get revved up about.

Next, merely skim through the info on the new book module.

There are two further videos about this module, but even after watching them all start-to-finish, I’m not entirely sure I’m excited about it.  As a wedding photog who makes albums I want it to be awesome, but so far even the “Advanced Book” video is a bit lack-luster.

Now for the good sh*t.
The soft-proofing video will be awesome for anyone who regularly goes to print.  Julieanne Kost gets pretty specific about different features and usage scenarios – much of which can probably be skipped until the product is in full release and you’re actually ready to integrate it into your workflow.  The first few minutes will give you a solid overview of what to expect.

Something else she addresses in the soft proofing video is upcoming changes to the DNG spec.  As a wedding photog who only delivers a fraction of the actual number of frames shot, I’m pretty excited about the ability to compress and downsample all those can’t-quite-deliver-but-can’t-quite-throw-out RAW files.  Plus the option to embed about 200k extra data into the DNG file, and significantly improve Develop Module load-times?  Yes please!

Of course we’ve saved the best for last.  The develop module video:

/highfive for full controls (including blacks & white-balance!) on the adjustment brush and gradated filters.  I’m also thrilled for the ability to boost noise reduction in areas with increased fill light (now called “shadows”,) better isolation of the histogram into five zones, RGB curves, and a big quality improvement to the clarity slider.

Download: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom4/

Remember this is beta.  Don’t use it on the only copy of your precious data.  Take some for-fun photos, or make a copy of an existing shoot.  I am not responsible if you frack yourself.  (I realize that should be self evident, but it seems like all the cool kids make this claim on their blogs, so I’m lining up for a “cool” badge, too.)

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Lightroom 4?  Are you excited?  Will you test out the beta?  Tell us down below!

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