Archive for the ‘Lightroom’ Category

Lightroom 3

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

So Adobe has released Lightroom 3. A full list of changes is available at Lightroom Journal.

While I did not want to update to any x.0 product from Adobe anymore, I admit that Lightroom 3 has a couple of features that really are worth it.

1) Profile-based lens corrections

This is a cool feature. Lightroom recognizes the lens used for the shot and offers a manual correction to the image to correct geometric problems, chromatic aberrations, and vignette effects. It works like a charm, even with Canon’s beautiful L series. Have a look at this image that came straight out of camera from a recent wedding, imported with just the Lightroom standard settings. It was shot with the EF 24-70/2.8L, so the original already looks very good. However, once the lens correction is applied, the image looks brighter and the tiny distortion (e.g. at the church tower) seems to be corrected. In fact, the image looks much better without having even touched it. Good stuff.

Lightroom 3 lens correction applied to a photo straight out of the camera (before/after).

2) Improved noise reduction

Lightroom has always been a champion in the noise reduction department. With Lightroom 3 it seems that they have further improved. Here are two images of the same photo, cropped to reflect 100% size. It was shot at ISO 800, so some noise is visible in the original. But applying a little noise reduction (Luminance 25, Detail 50) gets rid of the noise easily. It’s hard to say by how much this feature has been improved, but it seems that I do not need to “turn up the cranks” as much as I needed to in LR 2.6.1

100% crop from a ISO 800 shot, no noise reduction applied.

The same image, with Lightroom’s noise reduction applied.

As for the overall performance, I have not yet done any tests but will do so and report back. Since I have upgraded to a faster machine, last autumn, I find that exporting images is not the time-consuming task it used to be. Thus, I do not think that Adobe needs much improvement here (though it would be nice to see).

Adobe Lightroom 2.6.1 update woes

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Repeat after me: Never change a running system!

I was quite happy with my installation of Lightroom 2.5, but as I was working on a recent set where I needed a web gallery, I found that Lightroom 2.5 was behaving strangely. After pressing the “Export” button nothing happened. Nothing. The software would create the directory, and then did nothing. Nothing at all. About five minutes later the export started. Of course, I had pressed the “Export” button three times by then, and so all of a sudden there were three export processes running at the same time. (Insert swear word here.)

So I thought, maybe, just maybe an upgrade to the latest Lightroom was in order. I went to the Adobe web site and found the most recent update to version 2.6.1. Good. A couple of minutes later the upgrade was in progress. Fine.

And then: after the restart of Lightroom, the software presented me with a German user interface!?! (Insert another swear word here.)

I checked the settings under Bearbeiten > Voreinstellungen and guess what? It says: Sprache: Englisch

Screenshot: After upgrade to version 2.6.1, Adobe Lightroom does not respect the language preference set by the user in the previous version

I restarted Lightroom again, heck, I even restarted my computer hoping that this would cure the problem. It did not. (Insert yet another swear word here.) I was yelling in front of my computer:

Listen, Adobe! Yes, I am woring on a German computer, yet


a) You get better support for Lightroom in English language, but only if you know the right terms. It’s impossible to know these terms when you are working on a German translation of the user interface.

b) The German help function does not work at all. When I open up Hilfe > Hilfe zu Lightroom, all I get is a link to which is, frankly, not very helpful at all. The English version at least forwards me directly to the respective Lightroom help pages.

But hey, I could fix the problem on my own. Here’s how:

Step 1 – Open Bearbeiten > Voreinstellungen and select German as language (even if this is not what you want and thus makes little sense).

Step 2 – Restart Lightroom. Lightroom starts (again) with a German user interface. Surprise!

Step 3 – Open Bearbeiten > Voreinstellungen again, and now select English as language again!

Step 4 – Restart Lightroom again. Now it starts with an English user interface. Hoorah.

Huh? What genius programmer worked on that?

Repeat after me: Never change a running system!

(Insert final swear word.)

Finally I upgraded to Lightroom 2.3

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Yep, I’ve done it again – I upgraded from Lightroom 2.0 to version 2.3, after having watched several conversations on the stability of the software. (There were issues with minor releases 1.4, 2.1, and 2.2, so I was very careful to not upgrade to another mediocre version.)

So far, version 2.3 works pretty good for me. And it seems to be a bit faster, too. I measured the throughput of the software on my two-and-a-half-year old production laptop that I used as a reference system for all LR performance tests:

Exporting 327 images (205 from the 1Ds III, 122 from the 1D III) took 69 minutes, i.e. 1.34 megapixel per second. The same job on the same system took 76 minutes with version 2.0, i.e. 1.21 megapixel per second. So for us, Lightroom 2.3 is 10% faster upon export than 2.0. It is still not anywhere close to the 1.51 megapixel that version 1.4.1 achieved, but that’s to be expected as there are no gradient filters in the old version.

A lot of annoying bugs seem to be fixed in 2.3, like the nasty undo-bug or the weird behaviour of the TAB key. So far it’s been working rather solid, so if you think about upgrading now, I’d suggest to do it.

Lightroom 2.3 available

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

It’s that time of the month again – Adobe has released Lightroom 2.3, the update to the bug-ridden version 2.2 that annoyed photographers since before Christmas. Read the full list of changes.

Adobe had to face harsh critics for the massive problems that 2.2 brought and thus did a longer beta testing of 2.3 as “release candidate” in the hope to stress test the version prior to commercial release. Whether or not this has helped with the quality will be soon emerge from the comments in the Adobe Lightroom Forum.

As always, I recommend to stay away from this minor release (and the hefty 130 MB download) until the software has proven to be solid, i.e. after it has been at least three weeks “in the wild”. The obvious exception is when you are using 2.2 – there can only be improvement from that version.