The new Lightroom 4 looks pretty good. Some very clever improvements to how things work and some changes in the algorithms behind the scenes.
In this Adobe Lightroom 4 Review I will briefly highlight the main changes that I have seen so far:
So taking it from the top:
1. Localized Adjustments (image right) are much improved and now include noise, temperature, shadow and highlight control among other things. So you can brush in an adjustment to the shadows and at the same time add a noise reduction, pretty cool.You can also make localized temperature adjustments, so you can warm up the shadows.
2. The Basic controls Exposure, Recovery and Fill Light have all been changed to a new mix of Highlight, Shadow, Blacks and Whites (image below). The key change is that each of the new control covers just a portion of the histogram. The adjustments seem smoother and more intelligent, than the old ones.
3. Clarity is much improved, in that you will not get halos now.
4. Curves are also now more like Photoshop CS5 in that you can create as many anchor points as you like, but the biggest change is that you can now adjust the curves for each of the RGB channels. So you can use this to warm or cool an image in the shadows or highlights or even overall.
5. The auto lens adjustments are similar to before, but the chromatic aberration control works simply and independently and is much more effective.
6. Video digital management and basic video editing is now included.
7. Create a book and publish to Blurb, all in Lightroom!
8. There is new process (algorithm) to apply the development settings to the images. It is possible to compare the before and after images using the new process (algorithms) versus the old. The changes are quite small and should not cause you nay inconvenience. since the changes are small I simply updated the images in the batch mode for the filmstrip I was working on.
In summary big improvements, with a lot more scope for doing almost all your image development in Lightroom. Only small thing was that I noticed the sharpening has not been improved as much as I was hoping. So for sharpening and noise reduction I will keep using CS5 and NeatImage. Also I was expecting an update to the lens list to include the Canon 800mm IS L, but alas this lens is not listed yet.
I searched for a while to find an upgrade button in Adobe, but all you have to do is click on the “Buy” button and it will offer you an upgrade option. My local download took ages, so eventually just downloaded the trial version and it will ask for the new serial number, and somehow automatically detects the old Lightroom serial number.
When you start Lightroom 4 asks you whether you want import the old catalogues, it converts them nondestructively and uses the old previews until you refresh with the new process.
All up, a highly recommended upgrade.