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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 now shipping  
Monday, March 5, 2012 | by Rob Galbraith
Following a two-month free public beta, Adobe today released the shipping version of Photoshop Lightroom 4, the company’s pro and enthusiast-oriented all-in-one photo management, RAW conversion, image editing, and image output application.

Headline features for the new version of Lightroom include simplified and improved image processing controls, new highlight and shadow recovery technology, additional local editing controls, enhanced support for video files, location-based image management features, and integrated photo book creation. 

And in perhaps the biggest practical change in the new version, Adobe has reduced Lightroom’s price by half. A standard license costs US$149 in the U.S., and both an upgrade license for previous Lightroom users and the student/teacher version cost US$79 in the U.S. Lightroom 4 is available now.

Before and After: Photoshop Lightroom 4 (Screenshot courtesy Adobe

New in Photoshop Lightroom 4

Here are some of the notable new features and capabilities of Lightroom 4:

Revamped tone controls The basic tone controls in Lightroom 4 have been redesigned to be more intuitive and easier to use, and Adobe says that the underlying processing algorithms have been improved, enabling photographers to achieve a better result faster. 

Among the changes that Adobe is focusing particular attention on is improved ability to extract detail from highlights and shadows without producing visible artifacts.

Soft-proofing Like Photoshop, Lightroom 4 now has a soft-proofing feature designed to let you preview how an image will look when printed or displayed on a specific output device with a known ICC profile. When you invoke soft-proofing, Lightroom creates a virtual copy of your image that simulates the output appearance and which you can edit without affecting your master image. 

Additional local adjustments Earlier Lightroom versions included local editing brushes for exposure, contrast, sharpness, and several other adjustments, allowing you to limit these editing effects to targeted areas of an image. Lightroom 4 adds local editing brushes for white balance, noise reduction, and moiré removal. 

Photo book creation Lightroom 4 includes a new module for creating photo books. It includes automated layouts, the ability to adjust and customize those layouts page by page, and reasonably sophisticated typography tools. Completed layouts can be sent directly from Lightroom 4 to Blurb, the service that will print and bind your book. You can also output your book as a PDF file for printing by other means. 

Enhanced support for video files Lightroom is now able to play video files within the application and also perform light video editing tasks. You can trim video clips and extract still images from clips. A subset of Lightroom’s processing controls -- including exposure, contrast, and white balance -- can be applied to clips, as can a variety of built-in develop presets.

Location-based image management Lightroom 4 includes a new Map Module which lets you organize and view images by location, view embedded GPS data, and assign locations to images manually or using a GPS log file, among other location-oriented capabilities. 

Email directly from Lightroom It’s now possible to select an image and email it directly from within the application, and the feature works not only with email client programs such as Outlook but also with a variety of web-based email systems such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail. 

Changes since the beta

There are several features in the shipping version that were not in the beta, including:
  • Reverse geocoding: for images that contain GPS coordinates in their metadata, Lightroom can determine the address or place name associated with those coordinates.
  • Auto Tone in the Develop module has been revamped to produce better results.
  • New develop presets: some develop presets have been revised and additional presets, including some specifically for video, have been added. 
  • Books can now be up to 240 pages long. 
  • More than 800 bugs found during the beta program have been fixed.
New camera RAW files supported

RAW conversion support has been added for the following cameras:
  • Canon EOS-1D X
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X
  • Canon PowerShot S100V
  • Fuji FinePix F505EXR
  • Fuji FinePix F605EXR
  • Fuji FinePix HS30EXR
  • Fuji FinePix HS33EXR
  • Fuji FinePix X-S1
  • Nikon D4
  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon D800E
Compatibility and beta expiration
Photoshop Lightroom 4 is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later and Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7 SP1, but it is not compatible with Windows XP.

Adobe says that the beta version of Lightroom 4 was downloaded more than 250,000 times. It expires on March 31, 2012.
Related articles  
Related coverage of this topic includes:
  • 30 videos available on Adobe Photoshop CS6 (April 24, 2012)
  • Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 release candidate now available (March 29, 2012)
  • Adobe aiming for Lightroom 4 update this week (March 28, 2012)
  • Apple posts Digital Camera Raw Compatibility Update 3.10 (March 15, 2012)
  • Adobe posts Camera Raw 6.7 release candidate (March 6, 2012)
  • Adobe posts some Lightroom 4 beta questions and answers (January 26, 2012)
  • Adobe to offer CS6 upgrade pricing to CS3 and CS4 owners (January 13, 2012)
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