Professional photographers and serious digital camera hobbyists will appreciate this free beta for Adobe's Lightroom. Upon launching the program, your library of images appears at the bottom of the screen for easy selection, with drag-and-drop functionality to bring selected images into the workspace for proofing. Lightroom's main functions are divided into four sections including Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Print, each offering different options for working with your images. Using the Library tab, it's easy to pick and choose the best images of a set, with layout options for viewing similar images side by side and zoom options for image comparison. Image ratings let you differentiate among similar shots so when you're done you know which images to keep. The Develop tab lets you experiment and manipulate several photo attributes and color correction values with easy-to-use sliders. The Slideshow tab lets you assemble a presentation of your best shots, giving you control over positioning, fade transitions, and how quickly Lightroom displays each image. When it's time to Print, Lightroom lets you work with a number of options for positioning, background, and photo information overlays (such as title, exposure, date, and keywords) to make your final product look the way you like.
While lightroom is fairly easy to work with, more effects to apply to images would have been a welcome feature, as would the ability to quickly create and execute layouts for Web pages. The absence of music during slide shows and automatic digital-camera or memory-card detection are also noticible exclusions from the Windows version. We found Lightroom to be a useful tool for those who are serious about their photos. This free prerelease offers both pro and casual users a chance to check out Lightroom's capabilities before Adobe sets the professional price point in January 2007.
Note: The Lightroom beta 3 requires free Adobe membership. The Download Now link will take you to a page to log in or register.
Project: Lightroom is Adobe's effort to engage the professional photography community in a new way, giving you the opportunity to kick the tires and shape the feature set of a new tool being created just for you. Ultimately, we want Lightroom to be truly built from the ground up by photographers, for photographers, helping solve your unique workflow challenges.
The Lightroom beta 3 build expires January 30, 2007.