The team would like to thank the 350,000+ photographers who have downloaded the Lightroom 3 beta and provided feedback on the new improvements. We’ve worked on improving several key areas and have prepared a second public beta of Lightroom 3 as we get closer to our final release. Because this public beta is closer to our final release we are more focused on receiving feedback on the improvements we’ve made since the original public beta. And more importantly, by utilizing broader testing from a larger community of photographers we can help ensure that you can trust the quality of the final Lightroom 3.0 release.
As per our first public beta we went back to the drawing board and revisited what we believe are the fundamental priorities of our customers: Performance and Image Quality. The Lightroom 3 public beta had been stripped down to the “engine block” in order to rebuild a performance architecture that meets the needs of photographers with growing image collections and increasing megapixels. The raw processing engine also received an overhaul right down to the fundamental demosaic algorithms that now allows unprecedented sharpening and noise reduction results. The feedback has been very positive but there were certainly areas where we received some valuable “tough love” and we’ve addressed that feedback in this update.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s new in this release:
- Improved performance throughout the application for faster importing and loading of images
- Native tethered shooting support for select Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras
- Luminance noise reduction has been added to the previous color noise reduction improvements available in the first public beta for outstanding overall high ISO quality
- Support for importing and managing video files from DSLR cameras for better overall photographic workflow control
- Improvements to the import experience in the first beta to reflect public feedback
- Improved watermarking functionality from the first beta to reflect public feedback
Please read the following for additional details that are also included in the release notes for this update. These notes reflect a summary of changes since the original Lightroom 3 beta release. For more details on the original Lightroom 3 beta, please visit this entry.
The redesigned import experience was an important improvement in speeding up your access to your images and improving your ability to effectively organize your images. There was a significant amount of feedback in this area and we’ve worked hard to address not only the workflow improvements requested but also the performance of the experience. Additional details below:
- The folder browsing view has been significantly improved to allow a clear view of folder hierarchy and the ability to quickly minimize the hierarchy view by double clicking or “docking” a folder. The performance of this view has also been improved.
- Default selections have been improved so that the import experience waits for a folder selection before scanning for images and remembers the last folder you visited.
- The performance of importing your images into Lightroom has been improved significantly when copying from an external card or just adding a folder from its current location
- Import’s compact view is more powerful, allowing access to important, commonly used fields that can be customized on a per import basis while still relying on the fundamental choices provided by an import preset
- Lightroom will import commonly used video file formats. (More on that below)
- A full size preview of an image located on a memory card can be viewed in the import Loupe view
Video Format Support
Video files captured by newer DSLR cameras are becoming an important part of a photographer’s creative effort and has been a hotly discussed topic on the Lightroom 3 beta forums. This update allows photographers to confidently import all of the still and video content captured on their Compact Flash or SD card and Lightroom will help manage and organize videos alongside still images. Tagging, rating, filtering, collection and smart collection features are available for organizing video content and video filter will help narrow down your collection to just your video files instantly. In the grid and loupe views of Lightroom, the duration of a video file is presented on the preview of the video content and playing video files is just a click away.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer in a studio environment to appreciate the instant feedback provided by a tethered workflow. Any time you need quick access to an image immediately after capture, simply plug in your Nikon or Canon DSLR via USB or Firewire and start a tethered session to view key camera settings, control the shutter release or apply various metadata and develop settings to incoming images. No need for intermediate software or “watched” folders, Lightroom will handle the communication with your camera and safely transfer images to the folder you specify. For this first implementation we’ve certified a limited number of Nikon and Canon DSLR models and look forward to adding additional Nikon and Canon camera models going forward.
EOS 1Ds Mark II*
EOS 1D Mark III
EOS 1Ds Mark III
EOS 1D Mark IV
EOS 5D Mark II
EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi/EOS Kiss X2)
EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i/EOS Kiss X3 Digital)
EOS 1000D (Digital Rebel XS/EOS Kiss F)
*Tethered support is not available on Windows 64-bit Systems for these cameras.
The publish collection functionality has been improved with the following:
- Enhanced options for setting the Flickr Title field
- The ability to designate the target file size for the exported image
- Export original video file support
Sharpening and Noise Reduction
The quality improvements in the first Lightroom 3 beta have been well received but incomplete without the ability to utilize luminance noise reduction controls. Lightroom 3 beta 2 introduces a much more complete solution that includes an outstanding luminance noise reduction control and we’re excited to hear your thoughts on the improvements. Open the metadata filter in the Library module to filter down to your high ISO shots and let us know if the combination of Luminance and Color noise reduction provide you with the quality you want. In general the new processing technology should really bring out the best in your raw files. The details and textures will be crisper and somewhat more naturally rendered. We are now applying minimal noise suppression in the new demosaic method compared to earlier versions like Lightroom 2.6. This means that surfaces will show more texture and have more “bite”. For example, a photograph of a fruit or a leaf will display extraordinary textured detail in the skin of the fruit and the crinkles in the leaf. It also means that very high ISO images will — by default, with Luminance set to 0 — appear to have more grain. Much better looking grain, to be sure, but if you’re just going by an absolute number telling you how much of it there is, that number will be higher.
By popular demand we returned the original post-crop vignette style to Lightroom 3 beta 2 that had been removed in the first Lightroom 3 beta. There is now a choice of three separate vignette styles: Highlight Priority, Color Priority and Paint Overlay.
- Highlight Priority is the default vignette style and resembles the same vignette effect provided naturally in a traditional lens vignette.
- Color Priority is a variation of the highlight priority vignette style that is designed to avoid hue shifts in the vignette areas.
- Paint Overlay is the original post crop vignette style that was introduced in Lightroom 2. The effect is based on blending black or white in a graduated fashion to create the vignette effect.
Many photographers have requested more control when working with the tone curve than is currently allowed with the previous “guided” or “photographic” tone curve control. This release includes an option to enable a traditional point curve commonly found in the Camera Raw plug-in or Photoshop. Our goal for this implementation is to allow advanced Lightroom customers to achieve the power and control they’re looking for without complicating the experience for photographers new to digital imaging.
Ever shoot a horizontal image and realize it looks better when cropped vertically? There was a bit of magic in convincing the crop tool in previous versions of Lightroom to swap orientation but now you can just tap the X key to change the orientation.
The process version specifies which version of certain Camera Raw image processing technology should be used when rendering and editing files. The image quality improvements in this release are so fundamental to the visual results of your image adjustment settings that we’ve needed to add the concept of a process version for the first time since the Camera Raw plug-in was introduced in 2003. The process version allows Lightroom to maintain identical visual presentation of images you’ve edited in the past but still allow you to take advantage of the latest processing technology by updating an image to the latest process version. All images edited prior to Lightroom 3 are associated with Process Version 2003. Moving images to the latest processing technology is suggested but depending on what adjustments are applied to the image, different image characteristics will change more dramatically than others. For example, any images with sharpening and noise reduction adjustments will be affected the most but the demosaic changes apply across the board, so there will always be some visual change. By default, we’ll leave your images just as they were but if you want to take advantage of the latest processing technology, you can update to the latest process version by selecting the notification icon in the lower right corner of the image. (Or from the Settings -> Process Version file menu available in the Develop module) By default, all new files in Lightroom 3 beta will receive the latest process version.
We received quite a bit of feedback from photographers confused by the process version options in the first Lightroom 3 beta so we made several improvements that are intended to ensure that photographers can access the absolute best raw processing quickly and easily:
- The graphic to let you know that the current image selected in the Develop module is a previous process version has been enhanced and relocated to a more prominent position over the lower right corner of the image.
- Clicking on the process version graphic provides additional details about what will happen if you should chose to update to the current process version, the ability to see a before/after view of the old and new process versions and the ability to update all the selected images or all of the images in the filmstrip at the same.
- The process version levels have been renamed 2003 and 2010. The names represent the year in which the processing technology was introduced. That should give you an idea of how often we plan on updating the process version.
Several improvements to watermarking have been included in this release:
- Additional text options have been added including shadow controls for opacity, angle, offset and radius.(This is not currently available in the Windows version of Lightroom 3 beta 2)
- The location of the watermark can now be set by relative anchor positions within the image or specific insets.
- The size of the watermark can be set proportionally or to fit or fill the image dimensions
- Watermarking is now available in the Slideshow module
- A new Slideshow option to prepare previews in advance will ensure that a slideshow is never interrupted waiting for image information to render to the display.
- The maximum print resolution has been raised to 720ppi
- A “Rotate to fit” option and a “rotate cell” command were added to the custom print package layout tools
- Developers can now utilize ActionScript 3 galleries in the Web Module
- In the 2010 Process Version, the algorithms for Fill Light and Highlight Recovery have been changed to reduce the possibility of tone inversions. You will likely need to fine tune the settings on these sliders after you upgrade the process version
We’re much closer to the final release of Lightroom 3.0 and this beta release represents the majority of improvements planned for this version. However, we still want your feedback on the latest improvements and we still might have a few new things in store for the Lightroom 3.0 release.