July 29th, 2008. Today Adobe has release the new version of its Lightroom product, version 2.0.
In the following article you can find a detailed but concise review of major (and some minor) changes from existing 1.4 version and some (personally speaking) missing points.

Basically, not a huge step forward but a lot of welcome additions to streamline photographers work.

Let's analyze the changes in the different areas.

Library

  • improved library view (with, among other things, volume -i.e. disk-view and space occupied)
  • new filter bar that replaces the "Find" feature, to filter by metadata, attributes and so on. Up to 8 filters/columns in AND with OR conditions inside a filter. Particularly useful the combination of filter by Location.
  • You can also save filters to be applied on another set of images. Good.
  • smart collections are also added: you define conditions and dinamically Lightroom generates a collection with images mathing those conditions.

Import

  • increase of size of image from 10,000 pixels (Lightroom 1.x) to... 65,000 pixels (are they enough for the pixel race...?)

Export

  • export to same folder of source image
  • automatically import in the catalog the exported photos
  • adaptive sharpening (i.e. depending if you creating an image for press or display)
  • export directly to Photoshop without the need of creating a TIFF or PSD file, the export can be done as a smart object, thus enabling the use of non destructive filters in Photoshop. Also, multiple images can be opened directly in Photoshop to be assembled into a panorama or into a HDR (high dynamic range) image - though I dont like very much how Photoshop handles HDR....
  • external editor presets - you can configure (in the preferences) just one program as an official editor in addition to Photoshop, but you can define additional external program associated to specific image format (i.e. a specific file extension like .TIF)

Keywords

  • suggested keywords (on the basis of keyword combinations already applied to other images). I am not sure if this is very helpful, anyway....
  • keyword filter

Develop

  • here you get the major addition to version 1.4: local corrections, that means you can locally change contrast, brightness, saturation, color, clarity. This is great since very often not all the image can be treated in the same way, thus requiring time consuming editing in Photoshop. The approach is the "brush" one (i.e. like burn/dodge tool in Photoshop where the area where you modify? is not precisely defined) and not the selection approach (where you precisely define the area of modification).
  • auto-mask functionality to help you to limit your brush intervention to similarly coloured areas;
  • up to 2 "brushes" can be used in combinations and presets can be saved!
  • another great addition is the gradient tool, enabling you to simulate a gradient filter (for example to slightly change the color of the upper half of the image where you have the sky).
  • useful keyboard shortcuts have been added to the Basic adjustment panel: you can cycle through the controls using the comma/ keys, while +/- keys increase/decrease the active control at a standard step and at a greater step if also holding down the 'Shift' key. Pressing the semi-colon key resets the active control to its default value.
  • improved auto-adjustments, upon comments received by users (for example Canon users complained for too-orange reds).

Other stuff

  • dual monitor support - this can be very helpful if you have two monitors: on one you browse your gallery and on the other you see the image full size
  • beta version of new camera profiles. New profiles for the different type of cameras are made available and...
  • a Profile Editor is supplied on the Adobe Labs section of Adobe site: you will find it as the "DNG Profile Editor" (link here) since the input image for creating a profile must be a DNG file. You can now have your personal profile sets, that also include modification of the white balance.
  • new keyboard shortcuts, always welcome (I think keyboard processing is quite faster than mouse processing...)
  • cleaner interface, for example the left panel is now only for selecting image source
  • The Lightroom 2.0 is fully compatible only to Photoshop CS3 version 10.0.1 (latest to date) with new Adobe Camera Raw 4.5 (released today as well).

Missing points

  • still absence of a 1:1 view in Survey view, that makes impossible to compare in details more than 2 photos at the same time
  • no perspective correction
  • no support for CMYK color profile (the most used for printing)
  • still missing possibility of defining the export folder with a rule (e.g. using image timestamp).
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