Last night my twitter feed was all a buzz with news that the brand new Photoshop Lightroom 4 (LR4) was officially launched and at HALF the price of what Lightroom 3 was. Sounds like a great deal right?
If you fall into one of the following groups, I would seriously contemplate spending the $150 USD and getting LR4:
- You’re a new user – If you’ve never owned Lightroom but have always wanted to, this seems to be the best time to “get into the game”. You’re actually the reason I believe Adobe is pricing so aggressively (I’ve already written about this elsewhere).
- You shoot lots of video – And don’t have other tools to organize and edit your videos. The new ability of editing a video’s white balance, exposure, contrast, and vibrance will be welcome additions to those budding videographers out there. That said, the videos I’ve done have been edited using Windows Live Movie Maker that comes free with the Windows operating system. It gives you acceptable results and is good enough if you’re not doing a lot of video editing.
- Money ain’t no thang – For some, $150 USD isn’t a lot of money and they love having the latest and the greatest. If that’s you, then you’ve probably already bought it and are just reading this for interest! ;)
Some other intriguing feature additions are:
- White Balance Brush – in difficult mixed lighting situations, obtaining consistent white balance across the frame might be impossible. With this brush, you can change the white balance of certain specific areas of the frame.
- Moire Reduction* and Noise Reduction* Brushes – this gives you the ability to get rid of moiré and/or noise in specific areas of the photo that you choose.
- Highlight and Shadow Recovery – they claim major improvements over previous versions; potentially very interesting addition.
- Soft Proofing* – if you’re printing on a colour managed printed, this function allows you to preview what the printed output will look like without wasting paper and ink.
- Photo Book Creation* – you can use their templates and create your own photo books. Looks like they’ve partnered with Blurb on this. That might limit your options.
- Location Based Organization* – search your library and group images based on their location. You can also add locations to older images.
If you do decide to buy Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4, Amazon has it available to order for $149 USD. If you purchase it using any of the Amazon.com links on this page, you help support this site.
Other well-regarded photobloggers have come out to say how Lightroom 4 is a great improvement (Thom Hogan, Scott Kelby) and some reviews have already been posted (DP Review, PCMag)! You’d think that people would need a bit more time working with a product to produce a review, but I digress. However in the title I proposed that not everyone will be rushing to upgrade to Lightroom 4.
So who potentially shouldn’t buy it?
If you’re like me, the new features have left you somewhat underwhelmed. I don’t fall into any of the categories above.
It all comes down to whether spending the money will actually give me a visible improvement on my workflow efficiency and/or output results.
My own dilemma lies with the new features that are asterisked* above:
- Moire Reduction Brush – I’ve taken a LOT of photos, and have yet to have a problem with moiré. If I were to purchase the D800E, that might become an issue. But if I’m buying the D800E, then spending $80 to upgrade Lightroom is a drop in the ocean.
- Noise Reduction Brush – I think this is a great addition. However, I already own Nik software’s Dfine Noise reduction software that uses their U-Point technology to get the same (maybe greater – I haven’t compared them head to head) results. Yes, it would be nice to not have to go into an external program to do so, but is it $80 nice?
- Soft Proofing – I don’t own a printer at the moment . I use a professional online print company and I find that the results I get out of them are almost exactly what I see on my screen (when I’ve colour calibrated my monitor and use a viewing angle gauge).
- Photo Book Creation – I haven’t seen how it is implemented, but it looks like there might be some constraints based on the partnership with Blurb. I’ve used other album companies, and until they offer LR4 templates, I’ll still be using Photoshop (not Lightroom). Depending on how much control I have over image placement and text, I can see this being a nice addition.
- Location Based Organization – I don’t own a GPS enabled camera, and my smart phone is pretty old that I don’t know if I can use this functionality at all. As far as I know, there’s only a scant few DSLRs that have a GPS built-in. So you’re having to buy a external GPS accessory (more $) or syncing the GPS tags on your phone with your photos (if you always remember to tag where you’re shooting). As more and more DSLRs come out with an internal GPS, I can see this being a useful function.
The Bottom Line
My current situation is that I’m traveling and therefore funds used for photo equipment/software cannot be used for travel unless their purchase translates directly into sales/work. So I have to carefully weight out whether buying something is going to make a difference to my output results.
I love Lightroom 3, and if you take a look at my 50mm Experiment Blog, you will see that I use it extensively. Currently, the results that I get out of it are excellent. So I have something that works that I can continue to use for free (well it is a sunk cost at this point) or do I buy something that adds things I don’t even think I need?
If you’re in a similar boat to me, you can see how the decision becomes less clear. I will likely download the trial and put it through its paces before I make a final decision but I’m not foaming at the mouth to get my copy.
However, if Adobe were to implement some of the things I do want, that would be a whole different story!
If you’re really pinched for money, you can still buy Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 at Amazon for $115 USD. Definitely a great buy, but I would still suggest that you purchase the brand new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 if you’re new to the Lightroom family. Again, if you click on the link and decide to purchase through Amazon or B&H Photo (link below), you will be helping to support this site. Thanks!
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it!