Lightroom 4 Review
Exposure and Contrast
The Exposure and Brightness tools in previous versions of Lightroom have essentially been combined into a single control in PV2012. Exposure is meant to be used to set midtones to a desired level of, yes brightness. Exposure adjustments appear to have gentler roll-off towards the highlight and shadow end in PV2012, making for a less contrasty transition away from the midtones.
Of course, precise control over contrast can be found in the Contrast slider, which works as you'd expect. Once overall image exposure has been set to a pleasing value, use the Contrast slider to increase or decrease the luminance difference between pixels brighter than a midtone and pixels darker than a midtone.
The Exposure and Contrast sliders exist at the top of the editing panel for good reason. Taken as a pair, these tools perform the bulk of the heavy lifting in traditional image edits. The results can be significant and in many instances you may find they get you very close to a finished image.
One notable addition to Lightroom 4 is that its highlight recovery algorithms are now automatically enabled in the image processing engine. When compared at their default settings you may well find that with raw files PV2012 consistently reduces highlight clipping to a greater degree than its predecessor, PV2010.
Highlights and Shadows
While a negative Exposure value can help reduce highlight clipping, up to a point, the Highlights slider is the primary means with which to perform highlight recovery. While it is, in principle, the most direct substitute for Lightroom 3's Recovery tool, Highlights - in addition to moving in both positive and negative directions - has a more aggressive parameter range and should be used much more conservatively. A little bit goes a long way here. It's also worth pointing out that when all three RGB channels are clipped in the initial capture, all that any of these tools can do is make white pixels less white. To recover any visible detail, the image must contain real data in at least one RGB channel.
Of course the Highlights slider is not just a tool for fixing blown out details. You can use it to even out tones in directional lighting scenarios and even push bright tones closer to maximum white, examples of which you'll see in the image comparison that follows.
The Shadows slider works on the opposite end of the tonal spectrum and is used to control the luminance of pixels that photographers generally think of as being in shadow. A negative Shadows value will darken these pixels while having as little effect as possible on the absolute darkest pixels of the image. In short, you get the ability to set rich, satisfying dark tones for your image without clipping large amounts of image detail to maximum black.
In the example below we'll compare a before and after set of images using the Highlights and Shadows sliders in addition to the Exposure and Contrast controls we looked at previously.
Whites and Blacks
The Whites and Blacks sliders address the far ends of the histogram, controlling the brightest and darkest pixels respectively. They have the most constricted tonal range of any of the previous sliders and are meant to be used to set the endpoints of your image's dynamic range.
These tools are most effective when used after the general tonal relationships in the image have been established with the sliders we've just discussed. Again, note their position in the tool layout. Move the Whites slider to the right if your aim is to move the image's brightest pixels closer to pure white. When you move the slider to the left you are effectively creating a more gently-sloped roll-off from the brightest pixels in the image to those that are almost as bright.
The Blacks slider performs a similar task with the image's darkest pixels. A negative move can clip pixels to maximum black, giving a sense of deep rich shadows. The trick of course is to limit the adjustment so that important shadow detail is not obscured.
While the functionality of the Clarity slider remains the same - to adjust midtone contrast - the algorithms behind it have been updated. The Lightroom 4 version can be used more aggressively when set to positive values without leading to noticeable halos along high contrast edges.
Lightroom's localized adjustment tools, the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter, get some new options. In Lightroom 4 you can selectively adjust WB to correct for mixed lighting situations, apply noise reduction only where it is needed and remove moiré patterns.
|In addition to the revamped Basic panel controls, you can now apply localized corrections using the Temparature, Tint, Noise and Moiré sliders.|
RGB Point Curves
In Lightroom 4's Tone Curve panel you can make Point Curve edits to individual RGB channels, a task that until now required a trip to Photoshop. Click the 'Edit Point Curve' icon at the lower right of the histogram window then click the panel's Channel menu and select the curve you wish to edit. The Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT) can be applied with each channel. With precise control over individual RGB curves you can fine-tune color balance, convert color negatives to positives images (or vice versa) or apply any number of creative color techniques.
|You can mimic creative darkroom effects like cross-processing by manipulating individual RGB curves.|
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.