Following the failed launch of Lightroom 4 a couple of months ago, Adobe has reacted to the criticism and has now made available a bug-fix called Lightroom 4.1.
As I had found a couple of bugs and issues, let me briefly review my comments and see whether Adobe has actually fixed the bugs.
:: Manual Chromatic Aberration controls – gone
In Lightroom 4.0, the controls for manual chromatic aberrations were gone and replaced by just a checkbox for automatic removal.
This has been fixed. And not just that! Manual control has actually been improved. The new function is a bit hidden, though. You will find it in Development mode under Lens Corrections > Color. The results are stunning, and it is really easy now to get rid of chromatic errors. Here is a photo from our trip to Kopenhagen in 2005. The image was shot with the tiny (and bad) Sony DSC-P72 that always had an issue with chromatic aberrations.
Result from chromatic aberrations control
Notice the magenta color stains before (left) and the clear colors after (right) using the new function. Simply stunning. Okay, that problem seems to be solved. (I still wonder why Adobe did not make this available with the 4.0 product? The only realistic answer for this problem is that the function was not ready. So I think it is still fair to call 4.0 a “rushed launch”.)
The problem with the map is still present. You select an image (in the filmstrip at the bottom), switch to Map mode, zoom in, and the image is de-selected.
:: Secondary Display
In my early tests I did not notice that the secondary display disappears, but as I could not reproduce this behaviour anyway (in a controlled manner), it’s difficult to say whether this has been fixed.
:: Task Manager
Lightroom 4.1 seemed to behave like any other Windows software (clicking another program in the taskbar, that program is brought to the front). However, after having worked a bit more with 4.1, I do have the same issues again – this has been not been fixed. At times, clicking on another program in the taskbar will shortly show the other program in the front, but then LR 4.1 comes up again, obstructing the view on the other program. The only way to get over this is to minimize LR 4.1 using the “minimize” button in the top right corner of the window.
:: ACR 7
ACR7 seems to not be required to interact correctly with Photoshop CS 5.5 – fixed.
I never experienced big issues with speed (unlike many others), so I can not really comment on this. Rumour has it that there have been improvements, though.
:: Export fails
I experienced exports that failed, but I could not find a way to reproduce these problems consistently. I will monitor this closely and report here if I find this problem to continue.
I think the Adobe development team has felt an enormous pressure to correct the problems with version 4.0, and that the 4.1 update is the version the team really wanted to launch (but could not due to timing problems). My confidence in Adobe is somewhat restored, but the lesson is pretty clear: Never change a running system!* I will certainly be very sceptic of any new major release of an Adobe product, even more so when my current workflow works for me. Rather pass the marketing language and see what real users in the real world say about the release and then decide whether it’s worthwhile to upgrade.
*but also: Never run a changing system, and also change a never running system. The ultimate goal is to run a never changing system! ;-)