Adobe has released the fourth incarnation of its popular photo editing software, Lightroom, with a wealth of new features, including improved support for video and a price tag that has been slashed in half compared to previous versions. The new version, Photoshop Lightroom 4, costs just $149 for the stand-alone version (an upgrade from Lightroom 3 costs $79, instead of $99 previously) and Adobe hopes that this lower price will coax amateur photographers who may want to start using a professional software package into buying it. Previous versions of the software were priced at $299, a steep sum for most people. The new pricing strategy may also be an attempt to compete with Apple’s Aperture, another favourite among photographers, which can be had off the Mac App Store for $79.99.
Lightroom 4 has also brought with it a host of new features, including enhanced support for video, better shadow and highlight processing (allowing you to bring out more detail from shadows and highlights), the option to create photo books from your images (which are then printed externally and mailed to you), additional editing brushes and better integration of social networks within the app. The interface hasn’t seen any dramatic changes, with the same layout from previous versions, so existing users of Lightroom won’t have any difficulties in adapting to the new version.
Lightroom has constantly been a favourite among many amateur (and, indeed, professional) photographers – in 2009, a survey carried out by the research company InfoTrends showed that out of 1,045 professional photographers based in the United States, 37% used Lightroom, compared to 6% who used Aperture (the remaining 57% used the Photoshop Camera Raw plugin). The trends with similar when it came to those who used Macs – 44% used Lightroom compared to 13% who used Aperture.
This new version of Lightroom is surely going to prove popular with the masses, and as a photographer myself I am certainly going to try it out. The lower price tag and improved features will make it a definite photo-editing solution worth considering for both amateur and professional photographers alike.
You can download a free trial of Lightroom (Mac and Windows) from Adobe’s website by clicking here.