Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ask Ron: What do you think of Lightroom 5?

Adobe announced the public release of the beta for Lightroom 5. Here’s a video on the new healing brush and you can learn more on the Adobe Blog:

Learn more on the Adobe Blog

I got multiple emails today asking me what I thought about it so I thought I’d just say a few words.

People often ask me why do I need Photoshop when Lightroom is so good. Until now one of my first responses was something like “because the clone / heal process in Lightroom is painful for anything beyond spot touchups, so you need to go to Photoshop to do real image corrections. With the inclusion of the advanced healing brush (which is closer to the content aware patch tool from what I’m seeing), the gap just got smaller. I think this is a great addition to the product and one I’m excited to see added.

The other big features announced today are (click here to learn more about them):

  • Radial Filter – I was surprised but glad to see this one as I do often make adjustments in my best images to try draw the viewers attention to the most important part of the scene. Vincent Versace does a good job of explaining this methodology in his book Welcome to Oz 2. It’s nice to have this built in for those quick touch ups, and it’ll be super helpful to photo journalists who have to do this to a bunch of images very quickly.
  • Upright – The ability to automatically level horizons or other lines in photos will be a huge time saver for me. I currently do this manually as a first step on many photos, so this and the new grid are something I’m very excited about. The demo that shows the new keystone corrections on buildings has me super excited!
  • Smart Preview – The ability to do offline work on my laptop when I don’t have my external hard drive connected is super important and something that was lost from LR 1.0. I’m glad to see this back and better than ever.


While I probably won’t install the beta (because I only have production and no test machines), I’m excited about what I see. Thus far no huge announcement has been made that makes me think that this is a must upgrade for those with older cameras on tight budgets. However, it looks like Adobe is listening and adding some nice new features that will be enough to entice me to upgrade.

Where to order

You can not buy this product at this time.

Click here to download the beta and try it out, but make sure you only do so on your test files – not your real files or catalog!.

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