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Lightroom 4.3 test version gets partial Retina support

Support for high-resolution displays is available when editing photos but not cataloging them. Also: Adobe supports for raw photos from the Canon S110 and a dozen new cameras.

Support for Apple's Retina displays and other high-DPI screens, arriving in Lightroom 4.3's photo-editing module but not yet elsewhere, is helpful for judging fine details like wispy hair.

Support for Apple's Retina displays and other high-DPI screens, arriving in Lightroom 4.3's photo-editing module but not yet elsewhere, is helpful for judging fine details like wispy hair.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland)

A test version of Adobe Systems' Lightroom 4.3 has added partial support for Apple's Retina displays and other high-resolution screens.

The Lightroom 4.3 release candidate, available on Adobe Labs, shows photos in the develop module so that one pixel in the original photo occupies one pixel on the screen. That means a much sharper and detailed image than with the older Lightroom 4.2, which scales images so that one pixel on the photo occupies four pixels on the screen.

I was worried that Adobe would Retina support for Lightroom 5, which presumably will be a paid upgrade, but perhaps the fact that Apple's competing Aperture software has had Retina support for months encouraged the company to move faster.

So that's the good news for Lightroom customers. The bad news is that the Retina support is only in the develop module, where photos are edited. There's no support in the library module, which is used for actions such as sorting and naming photos and which can show them either in a thumbnail grid view, full-screen, or zoomed in fully.

To my eyes, photos viewed in Retina-capable software support look sumptuously detailed, and it's been one of the chief pleasures of using Aperture for me in recent months. But as a practical matter, Retina support while cataloging thumbnail images is as important as while editing a single shot. It's very helpful to be able to see fine details in the grid of small images, letting me make better decisions using thumbnails instead of full-screen views.

Thus, I eagerly await full Lightroom support for Retina displays, or as Adobe calls them more generically as they spread beyond MacBooks, HiDPI displays since they show a lot of dots per inch.

Unfortunately, the Lightroom 4.3 release candidate doesn't support high-resolution displays in the library module, where it's useful for looking at thumbnail images.

Unfortunately, the Lightroom 4.3 release candidate doesn't support high-resolution displays in the library module, where it's useful for looking at thumbnail images.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

The new version of Lightroom also fixes a few bugs and supports raw photos from a range of new cameras, including some high-profile compact cameras from Canon. It also finalizes support for the Nikon's full-frame D600 instead including only the "preliminary" support that came with Lightroom 4.2.

The full list of new cameras supported is as follows:

Canon PowerShot S110

• Canon PowerShot G15

• Canon PowerShot SX50 HS

• Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000

• Casio Exilim EX-FC300S

• Nikon D600 (final support)

• Olympus PEN E-PL5

• Olympus PEN E-PM2

• Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS

• Panasonic DMC-GH3

• Pentax K-5 II

• Pentax K-5 IIs

• Pentax Q10

Lightroom is steadily increasing in file size, something that might cause concern for those who've moved to machines with faster but capacity-constrained SSDs rather than conventional hard drives. The Lightroom 4.3 release candidate is 410MB for OS X and 750MB for Windows.

The raw support also is available in a release candidate of the Adobe Camera Raw 7.3, a Photoshop plug-in for handling the higher-end image formats. Raw files offer higher image quality and flexibility than JPEGs, but they require some manual processing into more convenient formats that can be shared with people or devices that can't process the proprietary file formats.

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