With Adobe Systems' release of version 2 of its Photoshop Lightroom on Monday night, the company no doubt hopes customers will be drawn by a number of new features in the software for sorting, cataloging, and editing photos.
But the company believes an external factor will also help the software: the booming sales of high-end SLR cameras. These high-end models are helping usher in many of digital photography's biggest changes, and Adobe is trying to intercept the trend with Lightroom.
From 2007 to 2008, digital SLR shipments increased a dramatic 41 percent to 7.5 million units, according to market researcher IDC. And though plenty of those cameras went to gadget-happy doctors or to snapshooters who won't exploit the cameras' full features, plenty of others went to the photography enthusiasts at whom Lightroom is aimed.
"Prices are coming down, so more people with entry-level SLRs are experimenting," said Tom Hogarty, the Adobe senior product manager in charge of Lightroom. "If you pick up the camera for the sake of creating an artistic thing and not just recording a family event, you've really taken the plunge into serious photography. Anyone at that level is an ideal Lightroom customer."
One significant feature common to SLRs is the ability to shoot "raw" photos--the images taken directly from the image sensors without the camera baking in its own assumptions about what's right.… Read more