I downloaded the new version of Adobe Lightroom 4 as I love the program and was looking forward to a new and improved version. Like myself, a lot of you are probably wondering if it’s worth the $79.00 upgrade? ($76 at BHPhotovideo) Well, I think it is for a for a few reasons in particular, and in this article I will go over them so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth spending the money.
The first new feature I noticed was the ability to move multiple folders from one hard drive to another. This may not be a big deal for those of you with smaller databases, but when you have a monster DB with Network drives you often need to move files around. In the past versions of Lightroom this was a pain a the one folder at a time method was all Lightroom allowed. It was actually easier to just remove the files sometimes and then re-import from the new location depending on the size of the move. In any event, you can now move multiple folders at once. I’m not sure how many you can move at once, but so far I’m moved 4 folders and now I’m moving 17 folders at once as I type this. Great upgrade Adobe!
Lightroom 4 Also has much more video support capabilities and is really a welcomed addition. Just being able to play the videos easily in Lightroom is enough for me, but Adobe added a some other features like trimming and exporting, but that is better off left to other programs dedicated to video editing in my opinion. Being able to watch them quick without launching QuickTime is a big plus!!
The next feature I noticed was the huge improvement to the Develop Module.
Tons of New default presets are built in which can really speed up your workflow if you learn to take advantage of them and virtual copies!! Beyond that initial awesome upgrade is the New tone control area on the right hand side. It’s completely new and uses a newly developed processing engine. Basically what that means is the sliders are much better and you now hove more precise control over the tonal ranges in your photos. You can get more out of Raw files with less noise and other issues and it’s easier to do.
You now have independent controls and it’s set up for a top down workflow. Get your exposure close first, then fine-tune your highlights, shadows, whites, and then blacks. Also, holding ALT down when your selecting slider will reveal the mask for you which is incredible helpful!! Try it out as it also works in Lightroom 3 😉
Next we have the Clarity slider which basically turns your photo into a HDR look if you go to far with it. Very similar to the tonal contrast feature in the ever so popular and personal favorite of mine, the Nik Software.
Now check this out with the Clarity slider jacked up and a little bit of shadow fill, white, and black tweaking. Huge difference and I obviously went way overboard, but it’s really nice to use on certian images to a lesser degree as it adds a nice POP to your image. It’s also worth noting how well Lightroom 4 handles the Halo issues that are usually caused by adjustments like this.
Lastly, Lightroom 4 added a Book Module and a Geo-tagging Map Module. Cool features adopted from iPhoto and Aperture I’m sure, but I really don’t use these features personally. The book interface seems cool, but I prefer using the Adorama Photo Books and their online software. It’s incredible easy to use and powerful, but more importantly the books are amazing quality and affordable. Online can be an issue at times though, so for that I use the Photojunction software. It’s free and incredible powerful!!
As you can see Adobe really did add some solid features to the new Lightroom 4. Is it worth the ~$78 dollars US?? I personally think so and I’m glad I got it. I do reviews for my photography work though these days and Lightroom is just perfect for that type of work and any work that requires mass editing and organizing. Weddings come to mind in particular which was the initial reason I got into Lightroom from photoshop and bridge in the first place.
I hope you all got something out of this, and please feel free to ask questions or comments below. I’m always happy to try and help if you have any Lightroom issues as well 😉
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