Lightroom 4 Review

Soft Proofing

Lightroom 4 includes long-awaited soft proofing functionality, providing an onscreen preview (the soft proof) of how your image will appear in print (the hard proof). The concept, if not the actual practice of soft proofing is rather straightforward. Monitors, by and large, are capable of displaying a wider dynamic range and color gamut than we can print. Simply put, there are image colors you can see onscreen that cannot be printed. If you can preview this mismatch before you print, you can make specific adjustments to the file destined for the printer to address these differences.

Previewing print output

In the Develop module go to View>Soft Proofing>Show Proof or use the keyboard shortcut (S) and your image is displayed in the main editing window surrounded by a 'white' background. In the soft proofing panel located just beneath the histogram, you can select any ICC profile that is installed in your system, choose between a Perceptual or Relative (colorimetric) rendering intent and immediately observe how these two parameters affect the contrast, saturation and brightness of your 'print' image.

Once an image is edited so that it looks perfect onscreen, checking the Soft Proofing box (outlined in red)... you a preview of how the image will appear in print. Lightroom offers a Create Proof Copy button (outlined in red). Clicking it creates a Virtual Copy so that edits you make in soft proofing mode do not alter your 'master' image.

In short, you are previewing the print output on your monitor. Checking the Simulate Paper & Ink box takes things to a more precise level of comparison. Instead of showing the white background as defined by your monitor (which will always be brighter and more neutral than printing paper), this option attempts to mimic the hue of the paper you've chosen via the ICC printer profile, applying it to the background and throughout the image area. The deep rich black of your monitor is similarly mapped throughout the image area to the relatively weaker tone of the ink/printer/paper combination specified in your selected ICC printer profile.

Output-specific editing

If all you could do was see just how much flatter and duller your print was going to look in comparison to what you see onscreen, soft proofing would be very depressing. Fortunately this is only the start. When you hit the Create Proof Copy button, Lightroom makes a virtual copy (VC), places it alongside your original image in the library and adds the profile name to the image's metadata (for easy searching).

With your VC created, selecting a before/after view automatically displays the soft proofing version (at bottom) alongside the original 'master' image (at top). You can see just how much contrast and saturation are lost by printing this vibrant image on, in this case, a matte paper.

Now you're free to make adjustments to brightness, contrast and/or saturation until this proof copy more closely resembles your original image. And because your changes are applied to a VC, your original image remains unaltered. Note that if you attempt to make edits in soft proofing mode without first creating a VC, Lightroom will prompt you to create one.

By making adjustments to the Basic panel controls, I was able to obtain a closer print-to-screen match than what we saw in the previous set of images. In cases like this one, where a highly saturated image is being printed on a matte paper with pigment inks (a combination with a significantly reduced color gamut), it is often impossible to get an exact match in hue, saturation or contrast. What soft proofing allows you to do is get the print output as close as you can before making a physical print.

Although not soft proofing per se, in Lightroom 4's Print module you can adjust both brightness and contrast of the print output without altering your catalogued image. There is no visual preview of the adjustments so getting them right will require a fair bit of trial and error. If you constantly complain of prints that are too dark (or light), however, and are intimidated by the soft proofing workflow described above, this offers a quick way to adjust your print output without affecting your catalogued image.

Click here to continue reading our Lightroom 4 review...

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 480
Ray Kroll
By Ray Kroll (2 months ago)

I have LR 4.0 operating on Vista. I tried to update to a newer version of LR however after the download, the exe file will not open to install the update. I disabled pop ups to no avail. Can anyone help??

By paulophotojedi (3 months ago)

I have used LR2 & LR3 with all my other NIKON aps-c slrs without a problem. I now use a D600, lr3 would not support d600 nef files, so I have upgraded AGAIN!!!!! to LR4 and WOW no surprise d600 nef files still not supported, now trying to download the ADOBE update. Why does a company of this calibre FAIL to get there products right first time? Yes ADOBE I am not at all happy!!! why do your customers have too keep laying out the bucks for your lack of foresight its not as if you actually invent anything yourself, you simply buy up other software companies brilliant software and in my opinion make it worse! Now I have had my rant, does anyone out there have a successful relationship between their Nikon D600 and Lr4 if yes how did you manage to get there? Cheers good people. Paulo

By plasynant48 (11 months ago)

First posting to a knowledgable info source
As a user of Elements and CS5 I bought into LR4 only because my recently purchase D5200 Raw files were unaceptable to CS5 which in turn seems reluctant to accept ACR 7.4. Since I prefer to tweek layered selections how do I overcome this impasse? Advise would be very welcome

1 upvote
By jaba (Feb 19, 2013)

Dear all:

Is it confirmed that is slower than LR 3?

Phill P
By Phill P (Oct 30, 2012)

Using 4.2 and have not noticed any speed issues. I don't have a lightning fast machine, an AMD quad core with 4Gb RAM which is 2 years old now, but LR4 seems to run just as fast as 3.4 did.

For a quick dirty fix on RAW files the auto mode is much better with the 2012 profile. The 2010 profile used to overexpose shots quite badly but the 2012 makes more effort to preserve the original lighting.

It's a bit bloated, yes, but useful for me. I can process all my RAW files and export them, usually to Jpeg for the web, at full quality easily and quickly. The geotagging feature is useful as is the Gallery, which I am still playing with.

It still fills your hard disk up with copies of everything but in these days of huge cheap disk space I can live with that. It is also very easy to use for my disabled partner, who picked up the basics in a few minutes, something not many people would think about.

By bennito42 (Sep 9, 2012)

Why do we in Australia have to pay an extra "surcharge" for the Upgrade version of Lightroom 4 compared to what is advertised on U.S. sites ?

By rawit60 (Sep 16, 2012)

Because they have to turn all the bits uspide down for your version? ;-)

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
By bennito42 (Oct 1, 2012)

Thanks for that most constructive reply.... I would've expected something more intelligent on these pages !!!

By oldhappycat (Oct 27, 2012)

I live in the Philippines. Download the software from Adobe's website. Buy your upgrade from a U.S. seller on eBay. Once you've paid, ask that the serial number be emailed to you. Use it to activate the software. Have the eBay seller just destroy the CD/DVD. It's not needed.

Timothy Phelan
By Timothy Phelan (Feb 27, 2013)

I really haven't seen any answer to why they charge more in some countries than in others, except that they can. I agree it doesn't seem fair at all.

By xxxkingjamesxxx (Sep 6, 2012)

I have been using LR4 now for two months and this is my first time using LR I previously just used PS ELE/CS. So far my experience has been that it's great for tagging, sorting and previewing previous to shipping off to PS. I also found it had adequate touch up power for minor editing and had a simple but not the best workflow layout.

Pros: Great for minor editing sorting and touchups for any recreational photographer or learning the basic's. Pretty powerful engine for quick workflow and editing ( see cons ) . Bonus is being an adobe product works very well in unison with other adobe programs.

Cons: As stated above the program runs a powerful engine but requires alot of CPU/GPU power to feed it, if you have not upgraded or bought a solid computer in the last two years this is probably not the choice for you. As someone else mentioned in another comment yes adobe LR is a "sandbox" program to some extent and is limited in creativity expression and you will have to use PS for.

By RawBob (Aug 15, 2012)

There are quite a few comments related to performance here, and I must admit some of them are justified. I have a 64Bit Windows 7 system with quad core and 8GB of DDR RAM and the first run of LR4 after boot can take quite a long time to load. After that, processing time is relatively fast, although not as fast as LR3 was on the same box. However, due to the new features, extended camera support and lens corrections, I can't really complain. Add to that the price tag, and I have to say it is well worth the money. So far some of my own work has been greatly improved, and once I became familiar with the new interface changes, quite a few process related tasks have become simple and efficient. Overall, good value for money assuming you can handle the slower startup and file processing times.

Di Ferro
By Di Ferro (Jul 30, 2012)

I am glad Adobe chose to drop support for Windows XP Pro. I'm VERY glad I downloaded a trial of LR 4 before purchasing it only to find out it didin't support XP.

I'm glad because it forced me to look for alternatives to Adobe's lazy decision to exclude XP and I found Corel AfterShot Pro. AWESOME!

By grahamdyke (Jul 9, 2012)

I am a long time user of Photoshop Elements 5-9 and occasionaly CS4-5.
I work in computing, software engineering and previously PC support.
My PC is a Core Two Quad (4 x 2.4Ghz), with 4GB Memory, 7K2 SATA drives and Vista (ok).

After having used Lightroom 4.1 for about 6 weeks now, I have never used any previous version, I am generally happy with whats on offer, BUT there are several major problems:

1. Adobe appear to have spent far too much time designing the little curly scrolls and giving the user options to configure them! Not sure how this enhances the editing experience. This was clearly to the detriment of enhancing performance, which is where they should have spent the hours.

2. The Spot Healing/Clone Tools is completely unusable in terms of performance. If 4 cores and 4GB of memory are not enough, god knows what is? Answers please Adobe.

More in the next post...

By grahamdyke (Jul 9, 2012)

3. Using Lightroom as a photo organiser, after having spent 5 years plus using Elements Organiser is a bit like going back to a flat text file after having Oracle for 5 years! This is the most dissorgansed organiser I have ever come accross, even worse than Bridge, organised chaos.

4. To illustrate the above point, try upgrading an Elements Organiser 9 catalogue containing 30,000+ images to Lightroom 4.1, then sit back and look at the mess it's made of all the tags and the higherarchy you used to have, but don't have any more.

5. Trying to continue using Elements Organiser, as your Organiser, alongside Lightroom as your Editor, is near impossible, especially if you work with RAW files, as I do. Both applications will use the .xmp sidecar file format, but in order to create these files in Elements Organiser you have to take the file into ACR, what a pain. Lightroom does automatically update this file at least.

By grahamdyke (Jul 9, 2012)

6. Lightroom 4.1 does not support Version Sets if the files are in separate folders, whereas Elements Organiser does. Surely this was a straight no brainer code port from one to the other? Why would I want to keep my Tiff, or JPEG files in the same folder as my RAW files? Another step backwards Adobe. This further contributes to the mess the conversion makes from Elements Organiser to Lightroom.

7. If you decide to use te new 2012 process system on your RAW files, then you really are stuffed as this is not compatible with the ACR version used in Elements 9 and the changes will look all wrong.

1 upvote
By grahamdyke (Jul 9, 2012)

8. Oh dear no Panorama stitching either, so you will need to go back to Elements, or CSX to do that operation and while your there do all the spot healing and cloning that you need to do! Lightroom does have Elements and CSX configured as alternate editors, but the process is painfully slow and when using the panorama feature in this way it invariably crashes, so much so that its just easier to load up the images in either Elements, or CSX in the first place.

9. So now I have to double up in lots of different places and of course this means I now have two, rather than one completely bloated Adobe application running at the same time, no wonder its bloody slow.

10. My advice would be if you rare currently using Elements Organiser/Editor and have more than 100 images, just keep using it and forget Lightroom. The enhancements really are not worth the change.

11. Alternatively use both and go get an 8 core/16GB PC with 15K SAS drives, or SSD's.

1 upvote
By Pa4k (Jul 8, 2012)

I can not agree with author in this:
"Develop module, for instance, and after processing dozens of images in PV2012, I find I am consistently getting pleasing results in fewer discrete steps."

In previous PV2010 in LR3 I was used only these few steps:
WB, Exposure, recovery or/and fill light, clarity and vibrance
In PV2012 I must to achieve the same result apply this steps:
WB, Exposure, highlights or/and shadows, whites, contrast, clarity and vibrance.
If the photo contains highlighted places I use WHITES to left but my photography loses pizzazz

By tictag (Jul 7, 2012)

What a fantastic review. Very impressed.

Canal Photographer
By Canal Photographer (Jul 2, 2012)

I've just upgraded from LR3 to LR4.1, and can't believe how slow this software works! It can take 20 seconds to do a simple crop. I have processor widget displays and after a slider has been moved the needle goes well into the red usually 100% usage for 10, 15, sometimes 30 seconds before gradually recovering to the minimum. It's impossible to finely adjust a slider as you can't see the effect for all of these seconds so you give up and move on to the next slider. This deprecates the resultant image so much compared with what you should be able to achieve.
LR3 worked very well and quickly. I have done all suggested things to improve the processing health of my computers to no avail.
If Adobe does not release a solution very soon I will be moving to Apple software as I cannot afford the 10 fold increase in image editing time.
How Can Adobe release software with such abysmal performance!?

By Hansvdv (Jun 15, 2012)

I bought LR4 in February - was very excited to start using it - installed it on both my i5 and i7 Macs. And then experienced how it slowed down both machines (LR4 is almost 1gig in size which is 10x that of LR3).
I edit lot of weddings where I start off with 1000 plus images and just cannot afford sitting there waiting for images to load. So I'm back with LR3. And also have serious resevations about upgrading from CS5 - never again will I jump on the bandwagon of being one off the first to upgrade my software.

By gugarci (May 21, 2012)

Here's another link in case someone else is also having issues using plug ins.

By gugarci (May 21, 2012)

LR 4 will not load any of my Topaz plug ins.
see link below.
And I've read that other plug in, like NIK's, are also affected.

I've read that beta 4.1 fixes this issue but this issue was not in beta 4. It only showed up when v4 was officially released. And frankly I'm worried that when 4.1 get's released the problem will still be there and I will get stuck with this software. I never ever had these issues with LR3.

If v4.1 is not released soon I'm asking for a refund.

By Phodigraphy (May 13, 2012)

Except of some pretty bad stability issues that don't allow a consistent workflow, the interface and results I get from LR are great.
It seems like they released this product before it was ready, it hangs a lot and always stops responding/crushes within 30 minutes of using it (most of the time withine 10 minutes), Yes, Every single Time I work on it!!
It's a complete mess! so right now my advise is, stay with LR 3 till LR4 will be fixed because it's definitely broken.

dutch martin
By dutch martin (May 12, 2012)

Okay people

Deal of the day and you only have 24 hrs so move quick Hunts photo has the deal of the day for Lightroom 4 till midnight tonight I just scored 2 copies for pretty much nothing I luv hunts always offering the best deal and service.
price $105.00

By snapshottomugshot (May 2, 2012)

i am planning of purchasing lr4. but i cant decide yet till i figure this out.

im a new user of mac, i have a macbook pro. 10.6.8 but i don't know if im running a 64bit processor or 32 bit i have been turning over rocks to know this. can anyone help me.

Paul North
By Paul North (May 2, 2012)

The system itself will run 64bit, there are some programs that run at 64bit and 32bit, the mac itself is 64 bit. A way to see if a program is running at 64 or 32bit is go to applications -> utilities -> and open Activity Monitor, on the right side it will show if app is running at 64 or 32 bit. Here is a link to a helpful page.

By JamieTux (May 11, 2012)

It's 64bit, all Macs are now and the OS itself changed to ONLY 64bit (and broke a lot of 32bit only apps) at Snow Leopard - play away!

By beaubadger (6 months ago)

Old post I know but just for anyone else wanting to know. If your processor is only Core Duo then it's 32 bit and you can't run LR4. If it's a Core 2 Duo then it's 64 bit and you're good to go. You can find this out if you click your apple symbol (top left) and choose About This Mac.

By Jihn (Apr 27, 2012)

Just an update - 4 weeks ago Adobe released a 4.1 Beta release that was suppose to fix many problems that people were having. Fixed some but many remain. No word from Adobe when a non-beta release will be delivered with problems fixed. Little frustrating to pay for a product and not have it work properly. Reluctant to use it for production work.
Makes me have severe reservations about upgrading to PS CS6 after this experience.

1 upvote
By MIKdotMIN (May 8, 2012)

Beta is so that those problems can be found and fixed. Have you sent a bug report to Adobe?

Bob Blount
By Bob Blount (Apr 19, 2012)

Dropping XP excludes lots of potential sales. adobe with photo shop update restriction make Microsoft look docile.

Paul Szilard
By Paul Szilard (Apr 17, 2012)

This review is the best I have come across on LR 4. A big THANKS to the author!

I had been forced to upgrade to LR 4, as my camera (D4) is not supported in LR 3. This is a shame as I was actually quite happy with LR 3. However I wouldn't have any issues with LR 4, except I can't get a smooth operation and decent speed. I am happy to upgrade h/w, however I am not sure what more I can do.

Windows 7 64bit Professional; i7 920 cpu 12 GB of triple channel Corsair Extreme RAM; 2x1TB drives in RAID 0 with measured access speed of over 200MB/sec; 2GB video card.

I have even disconnected the internet and then turned off all anti virus (temporarily), but I still get jerky processing from moving the LR sliders, such as Exposure. I am on 4.1 RC. I tried putting LR cache on an SSD, but still no real benefits.

Interestingly, my MacBook Pro 13" i7 Dual Core laptop performs smoother for the same thing! So there must be something that I am missing on the Windows settings, but what?

1 upvote
By Hansvdv (Apr 23, 2012)

I agree with Paul on the LR being super-sluggish. I've got 2 MacBook Pro's - an i7 and i5. Thought there was something wrong with my machine (we normally use the i7 for video editing and the i5 for stills). LR4 is running so slowly on the i5 that I thought there was something wrong with the machine and then tried it on the i7 as well - same problem - now I've changed back to LR3. As a so-called professional photographer I don't have the time to sit and wait and wait and wait for simple commands to render. This is disappointing Adobe.

1 upvote
By Vitruvius (Apr 27, 2012)

Could be a GPU issue since Adobe is offloading much of the high needs video processing in other softwate to the GPU since it can do it much better. Try different hardware acceleration setings and make sure you have the latest GPU driver.

By MPA1 (Apr 16, 2012)

I'm sticking with Apple Aperture, thanks.

Had it since first release and see no reason to change now. It's had most of these "new" features Adobe has just launched for some time already.

By Neodp (Apr 13, 2012)

All this Lightroom BS (been there; done that), is nothing but a marketing play thing, and that is just over-priced, for people who think they are pros, for paying the high prices. Get off, the tiered upgrade wheel of hell. Forget Lr catalog hell. Real editors, of Raw photos, don't care how pretty the interface is, for newbies. It's the output that matters. You can do the same things with completely open software (in MANY choices). A pretty face, will not educate you in the technology of digital photography. You either know; what you are doing, or you don't. Do not look to a closed program, to educate you, or give you editing abilities. Go open, or go home. I'm sorry to break this to you, but not everyone who claims to be a pro, is a pro. Wasting money down the Adobe rabbit hole, will be your regret. You don't need hand holding programs, you need open programs, that have the ability to do any thing you can imagine. Set your color profile in ufraw, or stay with JPEG. Use the Gimp!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By Dim67 (Apr 14, 2012)

I completely agree with you. Ive been using Faststone. It's free, its simple - its blazingly fast compared to LR and it doesnt clutter your HD with a gazillion hidden files and folders.

By Greatness (Apr 27, 2012)

Obviously one of those who things he was a pro and figured it out. I wonder if it was his work or personality that was the unprofessional factor!

1 upvote
By withmax (Jul 22, 2012)

HI there I just wonder if you know any good FREE editing programs for a mac for real estate photography??

By BruceNorton (Apr 12, 2012)

LR3: 99.6 mb (mac OSX)
LR4: 909.4 mb
Adobe bloat?

By forpetessake (Apr 13, 2012)

It's getting bigger and slower. It's now in the bloatware category with poorly designed user interface. I'm afraid either Java or similarly incapable technologies have a lot to do with it.

1 upvote
By forpetessake (Apr 9, 2012)

User interface, colors (or absence of those), buttons, tabs, ergonomics is absolutely awful. It can compete with SilkyPix for the title of the ugliest modern software. Not that Adobe ever had any Photoshop with cleanly designed UI, but LR4 is especially bad in this department. On the other hand, all the basic functionality is there and quality of adjustments is good and price is almost reasonable.

By bigdaddave (Apr 9, 2012)

Learn how to use it properly and you'll change your mind LR4 is a FANTASTIC RAW converter

By forpetessake (Apr 13, 2012)

@bigdaddave, I'm writing software for living, you don't tell customers, who abhors a poorly designed UI -- learn to use it properly. It's the stupidest thing to say, you will simply lose them. Rather, you find competent people to properly design user interface -- that's the easiest part of the software design. Adobe did a terrible job at that, it's shocking to see such an incompetence. The fact that they made it so slow and so fat also tells a lot about their software development competence, or should I say incompetence.

By Greatness (Apr 27, 2012)

he just dont like change

By SpazzWI (Apr 7, 2012)

This is the most amazing photo editing software package. Easy to use, a lot easier then the PS harecore version. I am not and expert, but this software makes it easy to work with your pics. I also have elements 10 and it is good but this is great to work with. It shows you all you need to know about each feature. I can hardly wait to try to book feature

By alfa (Apr 5, 2012)

I used the book module and produced a finished book. Its templates only match Blurb, the only supplier it is linked to in the UK.

Blurb's output is extremely disappointing compared to DSCL Colour Labs or even Photobox. Hopefully they'll both attend to matters with templates of their own.

1 upvote
By Zensphere (Mar 29, 2012)

For those who say it's slow, I don't see it. I'm wondering if your using 32bit computers. I just built a monster (64bit) 64 Gig of memory and three monitors because I edit video as well and it is doing things {For the good} that I've never seen before... LR4 will use the power and threads if you feed it.

By Jihn (Mar 23, 2012)

I was really interested in LR4 because of some of the new features in the develop mode. Would have helped my workflow a lot.

In short - I would hold off on buying LR4.
Especially if you use Photoshop CS5 to do further editing.

When I try to edit in CS5 it tells me i need new Raw Plug-in 7.0
Which is not available for CS5.

If I ignore the warning and edit in PS any way- CS5 hangs.
I've tried all the "work arounds" short of using the beta of CS6. Most do not work or are unacceptability cumbersome.
Who wants to use a Beta of anything for production work?
Not me. Especially after the latest upgrade to LR4.
LR is suppose to stream line work flow not complicate it. This version is a DOG.

Check out the Photoshop family forums at to get an Idea of all the issues.
Some of which did not exist in the beta version.
On top of all that it's slower than LR3.
Had to go back to LR3 for production work. LR4 is just too unreliable.
My recommendation for now is DO NOT BUY.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
By Douglas69 (Apr 4, 2012)

I'm sorry you feel that LR4 is a DOG. A lot of people using AMD processors have voiced their opinion about slowness. Have you tried 4.01? You can get the beta of it from adobe Labs. You might find many of the problems you are facing have been addressed in this version.

Personally, I've used LightRoom since Adobe gave me a free copy because I had bought RawShooter, the forefather of LR. I haven't been a huge fan of the program but I do use it. Since trialing 4.1 I'm very impressed with it. Particularly the way it handles noise and mild HDR corrections. I guess no one is twisting arms to make users buy it. I'll upgrade when 4.1 is out of beta. I'm fairly sure I'll find a lot more use for it too. I'm not so sure about Photoshop 6 though.

By Rainerfirst (Apr 23, 2012)

Been using Lightroom 3 for many months now. From what I can read between the lines is that the L4 is just not worth the upgrade. I can do all I need on L 3. Some functions on the Basics Panel have been changed about. I prefer the old fill in light, black e.t.c. So what if it has slightly better noise level performance and usualy at a price on a slight Photo quality depletion. One does not need a better noise leve performance if one has a top Camera. It's all a sale gimmig. I am sticking to my trusted L3 and Gimp to do much of my real Pro work woth. The rest is just good photography to start with.

By alfa (Mar 22, 2012)

I'm sticking. There's not enough in the new package to compensate for a huge loss in speed on my 18 month old Mac. Sliders very quickly stop sliding and adjustment becomes tedious. Giving up my second monitor speeds things up but overall it's still significantly slower than LR3.

More like a traditional Adobe product.

By PaulWa (Mar 20, 2012)

While I will say that I love Lightroom, Lightroom 4 is very slow. Lightroom 3 was brilliant, and fast. Lightroom 4 crawls, and seems to page the disk a lot more.

I do love the new functions and features though, especially in the Develop module.

By mmcfine (Mar 19, 2012)

Even though not really an upgrade I got LR4 for it's video archiving. this alone is a great way to archive and manage all the digital assets. You can do some simple trimming and color corrections to video clips but LR is not for that and hope Adobe won't make LR a mammoth as they so often do with other products. All in all, it runs the same as all other LR versions. I am running LR4 on a mid 08 MBP and it's OK.
If you need LR for it's core capabilities then you can skip this version.

By JukkaV (Mar 24, 2012)

I recommend you explore some real DAM software. LR is mediocre DAM at best. Some possibly better are for example Canto cumulus, Extensis portfolio, iView MediaPro or Phase One Media Pro. Some of these are image managers, some real asset managers, which can manage all your documents (inc. doc, pdf, avi etc).

Those other programs have minimal or no image/video editing possibilities, but their asset management features rock.

By Quoth (Mar 30, 2012)

Core capabilities are vastly improved from 3 to 4

Dan Proulx
By Dan Proulx (Mar 17, 2012)

I am still using LR2 on my 3 year old MAC. I recently upgrade the MAC to OS10.6.8, so I'm ready. I am concern that so many are reporting LR4 to be slower than LR3. I have no use for the book and map module, but I could use the video managing functionality. Could someone give me their opinion on this? Should I upgrade?

By jackpro (Mar 14, 2012)

1 upvote
By jackpro (Mar 14, 2012)

Yup a lot slower especially in the develop module & 2 screens increases the problem. It is all over the adobe forums. I would hold off on moving from 3.6 if you can. I have upgraded but will probably go back to 3.6 what a pain!

1 upvote
By kenju4u (Mar 14, 2012)

It is slower...i have noticed it too. The image adjustments seem to lag behind the changes I make through the dials.

By Hawaii-geek (Mar 14, 2012)

Curious, am I the only one that might think that LR v4 is slower than v3.6?
So, far ... it seems like it to me. :)

By Donthuis (Mar 12, 2012)

Excellent review as always. Of course, going back to exposure and contrast brings LR closer to the old darkroom practice of fiddling with exposure and paper contrast, but we've finally learned to learn the other, LR1 & 3 way of working. It is almost as if another school of thought won the battle inside Adobe! Strange that saturation also seems to take a stronger role, I hardly use it in LR1.4 and 3.5, preferring "livening colors up" instead. Since I will continue with XP at least for another year, maybe even two, I will see what happens before moving over and will use my expensive LR books in the mean time. Windows 7 is only interesting for heavy applications like these and my MAGIX Video de Luxe versions in the 64 bit version, with its inbuilt support of higher capacity in RAM-memory. RAM puts the limits in image processing and video coding! But to end positively: LR price is finally brought down to OK.

By syakirzainol (Mar 12, 2012)

Can we now edit lens profile correction on JPEG instead of only RAW?

By Vulcanrider (Mar 12, 2012)

Thanks, Amadou. Very helpful review.
I welcome the Book module and I'm really glad for the video handling.
Video represents about 10% of my photo/video work but it consumes 20% of my time. Having the LR interface for both is a great way to streamline workflow and save some time. Synergy!
I will upgrade from LR3.


1 upvote
Frame Seeker
By Frame Seeker (Mar 10, 2012)

Great review that covers all the additions. Very good real world examples. I will be upgrading to Lr4.

By bernadv1 (Mar 10, 2012)

All color labels I used for classifying pictures in LR3 have disappeared in catalogues updated to LR4. Is this normal? Does anyone know a way to keep color labels in updated catalogues?

By xdaflame (Mar 9, 2012)

"NR effects are now rendered in image previews other than 1:1 view"

About freakin time!!!

By ptodd (Mar 9, 2012)

With regards to the soft proofing, I don't understand why software shouldn't automatically match the proof to the original. Given that the system is able to predict how each will compare, it seems like a case of a simple objective function to be optimized.

I'm tempted to make a plugin to do this, but in practice there aren't enough hours in the day for me...

1 upvote
By graybalanced (Mar 16, 2012)

How would that be different from what LR4 has now? Once you have the monitor calibrated and choose the correct printer profile, it is, as you say, automatically matched. You can't skip those earlier steps because you have to know what the exact variables are.

By targa86 (Mar 9, 2012)

For the G3 the new raw processing is worth close to a full stop in high ISO noise. Even 6400 is nice for 8x10's and I find myself wishing the G3 had a 12800 setting.

Oddly my E-P1 raw files show little change relative to LR3.6

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Mar 8, 2012)

It is a good upgrade, many improvements, this way LightRoom continue to be the best, in my opinion Capture One the second and the third is the very good RawTherapy for FREE on windows also, and the fourth is Bibble Pro

Well done Adobe

By ptodd (Mar 9, 2012)

Bibble has now been acquired by Corel and rebranded "Aftershot Pro".

By Spodworld (Mar 28, 2012)

RawTherapee is very good, but I would give Photivo a try. Photivo is free and a very powerful RAW editor with lots and lots of filters.

1 upvote
By plaatje (May 26, 2012)

Thanks for the "Photivo tip". Looks like I found what I was looking for. Thanks again.

By jeff_006 (Mar 8, 2012)

Just bought it at 130 euros in France ! Great price move, I won't use my hacked version of lightroom 3 anymore...

1 upvote
By PhotoKhan (Mar 8, 2012)

What a low blow, disrespectful move by Adobe...

I mastered the previous versions well enough as to make an expeditious work flow for my LR Raw conversions. This included carefully evaluated and tested "initial Raw conversion" settings for all the files out of my 1DMKIV.

Now they decided not only to change the Process Version (PV) but actually to also change controls that do different things.

This means that I will now have to (1) re-train from scratch on how to use the software and (2) intensively re-work all my current catalog on previous processed images (...since the review states that the controls differ a LOT...) if I want my photos to be current with the most recent PV.

Even if I skip the reprocessing now, this is something that will inevitably be a problem in the future as I don't see Adobe indefinitely carrying PVs from versions to versions..I mean, only 5 years have past and they are already in their 3rd PV, so sooner or later this problem will arise.


Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
Stefan Fuhrmann
By Stefan Fuhrmann (Mar 8, 2012)

Stay with PV 2010 if you prefer that (which will also leave the control sliders as you know them). Also, don't assume they will stop supporting old PV, unless they say so.

1 upvote
Jeff Le Blanc
By Jeff Le Blanc (Mar 14, 2012)

You are mistaken. In fact Adobe has gone to considerable effort to not disrupt your workflow. Process versions are still supported back to 2003. I tested the beta on some old images and the Basic panel adjusts to represent the earlier tool set when the version is set to 2003 or 2010. There is no need to update your old images unless you want to take advantage of the new process tools. If your pictures are fine the way they are, leave them alone. You could even, gasp, set the process version back on new images if you want to preserve your old workflow, which seems to be important to you. Even better, you can create a preset using an earlier process version, selecting the Calibration checkbox in the process creation dialog, based on an image with the version set to 2010, and apply that preset to any new file imports where you want to maintain the LR 3 settings.

You could also just not upgrade, depending on how important you think the other new features of Lightroom 4 will be to you.

By Artistico (Mar 7, 2012)

The new development module with the new highlights, shadows, white and blacks sliders is a bit different from what I am used to, but after fiddling a bit with the controls, I feel it offers so much better adjustment possibilities of the tonal range of a photo that I finally feel I have the creative I have wanted for my B&W work - and it makes me want to do more black and white conversions.

My biggest grudge with LR3, how one could adjust sliders only to find they jumped back to where they were seems to have been sorted out.

I have many photos to reprocess, but that will be enjoyable, and I might take the opportunity to reinterpret pictures I've pretty much left the way they were since LR2.

In conclusion: I like it. Good going, Adobe, and again I feel it's worth every penny to upgrade.

Total comments: 480