Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 software is essential for today's digital photography workflow. Now you can quickly import, process, manage, and showcase your images--from one shot to an entire shoot. Quickly batch process, convert, and apply metadata to … see full wiki
I am a Photoshop CS3/Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw user, and when Lightroom 1.0 came out in beta for user testing, I downloaded it and tried it out. At the time, I didn't see much use for the application, and my other Adobe applications seemed to offer me the same and better, so I opted not to add Lightroom to my photo processing arsenal. I took this most recent opportunity to tryout Lightroom 2.0 however, because of all that I've been hearing about its improved functionality from fellow photographers - I wanted to see for myself what it could do.
I've hardly scratched the surface on this feature-rich application, but there is much to admire here. With Lightroom, Adobe offers a photo-centric application (as opposed to Bridge, which attempts to be everything for any user from any of Adobe's applications, including audio, graphic design and video applications) that is sleek and professional and very, very useful.
One of its main strengths, and I believe its main purpose, is as an organization database for the ever-growing amount of digital images today's modern photographer typically accumulates. I've found Bridge to be a sluggish image viewer - point it to a folder of several hundred RAW files, then go have a 20-minute tea break until it's done setting up the previews. With Lightroom, you can import your images into the database in one go and forever after they can be viewed immediately whenever you open the application. I've been amazed so far at how quickly I'm able to access images in Lightroom and get started on the selection and editing process with very little lag time.
RAW file editing functions are immediately available in Lightroom (in Bridge you have to open a separate Adobe Camera Raw application to begin edits, another 60 seconds at least), and much of what you can do in Adobe Camera Raw is available in Lightroom as well - exposure adjustment, curves, clarity, etc. There appear to be some differences, however - for instance, unless I've missed spotting it, Lightroom appears to lack the one-click convert-to-B&W feature that ACR provides (I would expect to see this in the hue/saturation/luminance tab, where it exists in ACR). Lightroom now allows spot editing (although no selections), which my current version of ACR can't do, in some cases saving me a trip into Photoshop altogether.
Overall, I've been very pleased with how much editing functionality Lightroom immediately makes available to me and thus how far along I can get in my editing before I need to open Photoshop to finish things up - not having to bop around among two or three applications at once throughout most of the workflow saves a lot of time.
I have yet to have a need for or tryout the Slideshow, Print, and Web tabs of the application, so I can't provide any critique on those in this review.
So five stars to Adobe Lightroom 2 for its sleek, intuitive interface and PS CS3-worthy suite of editing tools. All this functionality in one single application provides a welcome improvement to speeding up the photographer's workflow.
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