What Is It: Lightroom is a digital darkroom for post-camera tweaking of images. Every darkroom control is replicated here and some controls we never enjoyed in the dark are added. As well as white balance, exposure and tonal controls that can be applied globally, a set of brush-based tools can apply changes locally.
For instance, the Skin Softening brush smooths skin and hides blemishes without softening important detail of eyes and hair. There is new and better noise reduction. Controlled conversions from colour to black and white include variable grain effects. Adobe Flash slide shows are a doddle to create.
Conversion from RAW is done automatically when the image file is imported. The Develop module of the program has every control available in Photoshop. The only things that can’t be done are the graphic design functions that turn a photograph into an illustration of some sort.
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To Good: I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom for the past month or so now, and it workflow has proven to be quite quick. If you’ve not used Lightroom before, it does take a little getting used to though. The Beta is free but will expire in May. Which means you’ll have to buy the full price version if you want to keep using it.
The Bad: The Beta version is exactly that. It is not the final version and there are many areas that will be improved (which is the purpose of releasing a Beta).
Verdict: The release of Lightroom 3 beta is part of a trend by software companies to offer fully functioning versions of upcoming programs for public testing. Get it.