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Adobe Introduces Lightroom 4 Public Beta

Lightroom 4 Public Beta has been posted to the Adobe Labs site. This new version incorporates many exciting features which have been long requested. You can discuss the Public Beta over at the Adobe Labs Community Forum.

As with any beta releases, there is always a warning. This is a beta release for you to try on copies of your files, certainly not for use with your main Library. There are some fundamental changes to the way images are rendered in Lightroom 4, so the strong recommendation is to copy a subset of your images to a different folder or disk and experiment with those. Don’t use your main image set! There are no guarantees, that the final release of Lightroom 4, will support any changes you make in the Public Beta.

The new feature list is extensive. To view them all...
The Lightroom team is proud to introduce the fourth major version of the product designed for and by photographers. It was 6 years ago today when we introduced the very first public beta of Lightroom at MacWorld on January 9, 2006. (Yes, it was Mac only, smaller in footprint than most raw files and didn’t have a crop tool!) Since 2006 we’ve been hard at work improving an application that’s intended to be as easy to use as it is powerful. This release builds on the fundamental performance architecture and image quality improvements in Lightroom 3 to provide a truly complete workflow solution. I kept hearing from customers that they love Lightroom but needed to leave the Lightroom to complete X, Y or Z. Lightroom 4 tackles those issues with improvements to image organization, adjustment tools and comprehensive publishing options.

Download the beta
Talk about the beta
Learn about the beta


Primary Known Issues
  • Lightroom 4 beta is not complete but please provide feedback on the available enhancements.
  • Lightroom 4 beta will not upgrade Lightroom 1.x, Lightroom 2.x or Lightroom 3.x catalogs. The beta is intended to be used for testing and feedback purposes. Lightroom 1.x, 2.x, 3.x and 4 beta libraries will be able to be migrated to the finished version of Lightroom 4.
  • While data loss is not expected, this is an early ‘beta’ quality build and you should always work on duplicates of files that are securely backed up.
  • Lightroom 4 beta will not overwrite or interfere with a machine that currently has Lightroom 1, Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3 installed.
  • Develop settings applied in Lightroom 4 beta are not guaranteed to transfer correctly to the final version of Lightroom 4
  • The Lightroom 4 beta will expire after Lightroom 4.0 is available
  • Additional known issues are listed below.
Minimum system requirements
  • Multicore Intel® processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or v10.7 (Lion)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024×768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services
  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024×768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services
Install Lightroom 4 beta
Download the beta
1. Download Lightroom 4 beta from
2. Unzip the download then open the disk image and double-click the Lightroom Beta 4 package in the resulting window then follow the on-screen instructions
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
1. If you are running a 64-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows Vista, we recommend downloading the 64-bit version of Lightroom.
2. To find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, do the following:
a. Open System by clicking the Start button, right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.
b. Under System, you can view the system type.
c. If your version of Windows is not 64-bit, or if you are not sure, download the 32-bit version.
3. Unzip the download then double-click the Lightroom 4 beta installer then follow the on-screen instructions

Serial Numbers
Anyone can download and work with the Lightroom 4 beta for the duration of the beta program. There is no serial number requirement.

Supported File Formats
• TIFF (8 bit, 16 bit)
• PSD (8 bit, 16 bit)
• Raw (Please visit for a full list of raw file support. File support for Lightroom 4 beta, aligns with Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6)

Important File Format Support Exceptions (Formats not supported)
• PSD files saved without a composite image. (Saved without “Maximize Compatibility” setting)
• Files with dimensions greater than 65,000 pixels per side

High Level Summary of What’s New
  • Robust Video Support
  • Manage images by location with the Map Module
  • Simplified Basic Adjustments
  • Powerful new Shadow & Highlight controls
  • Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance
  • Soft Proofing Reinvented
  • Elegant Photo Book creation
  • Email from directly within Lightroom
  • Publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr
  • Enhanced DNG workflows
  • Adobe Revel export workflow
Lightroom 4 beta Enhancements
Video Support
Lightroom 3 added the ability to import, manage and tag video files but as the popularity of video capture increases it’s important to provide a single, robust workflow solution that can support all of your imaging needs regardless if they’re still images or video captures. Lightroom 4 adds native playback for a wide variety of formats from mobile phones to high end DSLRs. Photographers can also apply common image adjustments to their video clips in real time. Additional video details:
  • Video playback directly within Lightroom
  • Video trimming (In and Out points)
  • Set Video poster frame. (This is the thumbnail that appears in the grid view)
  • Extract a single frame from a video as a JPEG file
  • Most popular DSLR, compact camera and smart phone video formats supported including AVCHD (AVCHD is the native format for Sony DSLRs and many new Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens, MIL, cameras)
  • Videos can be adjusted with a subset of the same controls we use for images.
    • White Balance (JPEG Equivalent)
    • Basic Tone
    • Exposure
    • Contrast
    • White Clipping
    • Black Clipping
    • Saturation
    • Vibrance
    • Tone Curve
    • Color Treatment (HSL)
    • Black and White
    • Split Toning
    • Process Version and Calibration
Map Module
It’s great that digital cameras automatically record a date/time stamp so that when it comes time find that image from New Years 2003, it’s easy to filter your image collection based on the information recorded by the camera. However, the “when” of an image is only half of the equation. What about the “where?” As an increasing number of cameras, smart phones leading the pack with compact cameras following closely behind, the “where” is also being recorded at the time of capture. Even Sony’s high-end a77 and a65 DSLR cameras have an option to automatically record the GPS coordinates of where you captured an image. But for those of us who don’t speak fluid latitude and longitude coordinates, we need a visual map interface to find the images by location. Lightroom 4 adds a dedicated map module that loads Google Maps to present your images in a clear and concise view. If your camera doesn’t automatically record the coordinates of your images you can easily drag and drop images to a location, use GPX tracklog files to link images based on date/time stamps or define saved locations that can be quickly associated with a set of images. (Not surprisingly, this link to Google Maps will only work when you are connected to the World Wide Web.) Additional Map details:
  • Tag images with a location using drag and drop or saved location assignment
  • Search for locations
  • Create Saved Locations
  • Managed privacy settings for saved locations
  • Load GPX tracklogs and auto tag images based on date/time stamps
Develop Module (Updated 2012 Process Version)
Ever wonder why there was both an Exposure control and a Brightness control in Lightroom’s Develop module? Why the Black setting defaulted to 5 and Brightness/Contrast to 50 and 25 respectively? When the Camera Raw plug-in was introduced in 2003 these concepts weren’t overwhelming for those intrepid photographers willing to switch their camera’s capture format to “RAW.” (It’s not an acronym so I have no idea why folks continue to capitalize that word…) When Lightroom and the Camera Raw plug-in started supporting JPEG and TIFF files, the visual appearance of the settings and preset behavior was never truly optimized for the additional formats. Lightroom 4 rationalizes the controls and addresses a fundamental photographic problem of balancing highlight and shadow detail. Please give the new tone controls a try on your most challenging images as well as the additional controls listed below:
  • Simplified controls in the Basic panel
    • Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks
  • Powerful, content aware, shadow and highlight controls to extract all of the dynamic range in a single capture
  • Updated Clarity adjustment for superior results without the artifacts
  • Updated Chromatic Aberration correction solution
  • New local adjustment parameters
    • Noise Reduction
    • Temperature and Tint
    • Shadows
    • Highlights
    • Moire
  • Per channel curves adjustments
  • Soft proofing
  • Paper and ink simulation
  • Choose between perceptual and relative intent
  • Intuitive virtual copy creation for profile-specific adjustments
  • Profile and Monitor gamut warnings
  • Print module brightness/contrast option to address differences between monitor and paper characteristics
Direct Email from within Lightroom
I realize that this feature has 1998 written all over it but it’s still a very common request to be able to email from directly within Lightroom.
  • Configure your desktop mail client or AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail webmail accounts to send email from Lightroom
  • Convenient size presets appropriate for email
  • Address book to store commonly used email addresses
Elegant Photo Book Creation
Photo books have grown in popularity and quality over the past few years and we’re proud to introduce a module dedicated to this workflow.
  • Flexible auto-layout tool with preset-based customization
  • Over 180 professionally designed page layouts
  • Intuitive drag and drop behaviors for reordering pages or swapping image locations
  • Helpful layout guides and page bleed information
  • Incredible flexibility through cell padding for text and photo cells
  • Dynamically located photo captions based on existing metadata or manual entry
  • Powerful type tools based on industry leading type technology found in Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Customizable background color
  • Elegant background graphics to enhance the style of travel or wedding books
  • Tight integration with Blurb book printing service
    • Set size, cover, paper quality directly within Lightroom
    • Price estimate dynamically provided during book creation
  • PDF Export options include size, resolution, color profile and output sharpening
Enhanced DNG options
These enhancements will be represented in the next DNG Specification update.(Version 1.4)
  • Embed Fast Load Data options dramatically improves image loading performance in the Develop module
  • Lossy compression option provides significant file savings with minimal quality impact. (Ideal for archiving outtakes or reducing the size of time lapse projects without losing the flexibility of raw)
  • Resolution reduction via export provides the ability to share lower resolution versions of the original raw file without losing the capabilities offered by raw.
  • Metadata and filter options available for DNG file types
Lightroom 4 Additional Features and JDIs
  • Publish Collections can now include rendered video publishing
  • Export to Adobe Revel functionality
  • Enhanced output model for saving/storing settings applied in Web, Slideshow, Print and Book. Efforts are now clearly visible in Collections panel.
  • New Zoom ratios (1:8 and 1:16)
  • Mac version now includes a language selection option via preferences
  • Move multiple folders from volume to volume (Previously only single folder workflow was enabled)
  • White balance sample area is now zoom-level dependent
  • Noise reduction adjustment is always displayed regardless of zoom level
  • Collapse the tether toolbar down to the shutter button by Option or Alt clicking the close button
  • Module picker can be customized via right-click option
  • Filter and search images by a saved or unsaved metadata property
  • Hierarchical Develop Preset display in Quick Develop
  • Layout overlay for tethered shooting workflow when attempting to match a specific layout template
  • Photos in publish collections that have been modified can be set to not re-publish
  • Additional Metadata controls on export
  • Disk burning now available on Windows 64-bit systems
  • Flag status is now ‘global’ (One setting per image regardless of location in folder or collection)
  • Stacking is now possible in collections
  • Flash galleries are now color managed
  • Per module walkthrough tips
Additional Notes:
  • An important correction was made to the Lightroom credits. There’s a great tradition in the Photoshop family of listing babies born to team members during each cycle. We’ve previously omitted references to the fertility of the Lightroom team but have corrected that omission with Lightroom 4.
  • “Adobe plans to change the name of Adobe Carousel to Adobe Revel. We originally chose the name Adobe Carousel because it was descriptive of core functionality in the product, in that photographs were viewed in a circular manner, like a carousel. However, we now plan to offer additional photography solutions on this platform, including but not limited to the ‘carousel’ feature. Our rapidly expanding charter for this new platform requires a name that is less narrowly descriptive of the current product features.”­ – Chris Quek, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Revel
Additional Known Issues
  • Multiple exports of the same photo to Adobe Revel will create duplicate
  • assets within Revel
  • Import from iPhone can sometimes take a longer than expected
  • Wrong photo is displayed after round tripping between library and print.
  • If Tethered Capture Settings dialog is left open for very long periods of time, Lightroom
  • will hang when attempting to dismiss the dialog
  • Tethered capture can fail after computer wakes from sleep.
Books Module
  • Blurb books created through Lightroom are limited to 160 pages
  • Blurb only supports a subset of the languages that Adobe supports
  • Undoing one-click photo captions works sporadically and can cause
  • Lightroom to lag
  • Photos may be removed from layout pages when using the color and rating
  • filter in the Book Module on Windows only.
  • Updating metadata in Library does not automatically propagate the change
  • in metadata-based text in Book.
  • Adding captions to multiple photos at once causes Lightroom to lag.
  • Text on spine in Hard Cover books is not centered
  • Black line can appear on right and bottom of videos when viewed in Loupe on Windows
  • Video frames are occasionally played out of order on certain AVCHD video files
  • There could be a memory leak when exporting over 500 videos at once
Map Module
  • Lightroom can crash if you try to assign too many 15,000+ photos to a Saved Location at the same time in Map (Mac only)
  • Having over 1,000 tagged photos in the Map Module causes a performance lag.
  • Reverse geocoding is not available in the public beta
Develop Module
  • The Auto Tone algorithm is still a work in progress. In some instances, Auto Tone in PV2010 will produce better results than Auto Tone in PV2012

Source: Lightroom Journal, Tom Hogarty:

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