What's new/improved in Lightroom 3
Adobe Lightroom 3 is a larger and more capable piece of software than Lightroom 1, and offers some significant improvements over the last generation Lightroom 2. The most obvious change to anyone that is used to working with earlier versions is a completely redesigned import dialogue (which you can see on the next page), but there are plenty of other changes 'under the hood'.
New RAW processing engine
Like Adobe Photoshop CS5, at the heart of Lightroom 3 is the latest version of Adobe's RAW processing engine. In the past, a new version of this engine would mean little more than additional camera model compatibility and would warrant little more than a passing mention in a review such as this. However, the improvements that Adobe has made with this latest version of its raw processing engine compared to previous generations are significant and far reaching.
We have found that the redesigned raw engine gives noticeably better image quality than previous '2003' versions of Adobe's RAW processing engine, especially at high ISO settings. For more information (and examples) see our original coverage of the beta release of Lightroom 3 here.
In version 3, Lightroom now offers the same lens corrections functionality as its big brother, Photoshop CS5. For the moment, compatibility is (not counting a smattering of compact and cameraphone profiles) limited to selected Canon, Nikon and Sigma lens/camera combinations, but it is possible to create and upload your own profiles, using your own equipment.
|Lightroom 3 comes equipped with a range of different lens correction modules, from a number of different manufacturers.
Currently, the only DSLR manufacturers represented are Canon, Nikon and Sigma (the Sony option you can see here is for a compact sensor), and amongst the 'one off' modules available are ones for the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di and the Apple iPhone 3G/3Gs.
|If your favorite lens is not included amongst the modules built into Lightroom 3, you can create your own using Adobe's Lens Profile Creator. We'll be exploring this process in a future article on dpreview.com.
Currently restricted to selected Canon and Nikon DSLRs, tethered shooting allows you to import images into Lightroom immediately after they are taken. Files can then be manipulated using the standard ACR adjustments, and develop settings can be applied universally to images as they are imported.
Lightroom 3, like Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS5, is compatible with operating systems built on 64-bit architecture. In modern computers with more than 4Gb of RAM installed this allows Lightroom 3 to take maximum advantage of the available memory, which results in increased performance.
Although not new in Lightroom 3, a (growing) range of plugins are available for the new version, some of which are created by users of the software, and some of which are commercial. Plugins are available to do all manner of things from publishing images direct to e-mail or to photosharing websites (like Flickr and dpreview galleries), to expanding the web and slideshow functionality that is already built into the software.
As well as publishing options, there are also plugins available which add new development presets, and even geotagging functionality to Lightroom.