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On September 22nd 2009, Adobe has published first beta of Lightroom version 3 (RAW development and photo archiving).

Let''s have a look in detail at this beta.

The good news

Library module

  • restyling of the import module with some more intuitive layout (not a bigh deal) and with import presets that can be defined and reused (and this is good);
  • a new catalog structure to be able to better handle large catalogs (details are not disclosed so far);
  • integration with online photo sharing sites like Flickr with even the ability to retrieve comments done to user's images on the Web and reply to them from Lightroom itself.
  • filter lock: finally, if you want to navigate through folders while keeping active the same filter, you can, by simply locking the filter. Also the filters are no more sticky, in the sense that when you go back to a folder that was filtered but later you disabled the filter, the filter is no more active (like it was in Lightroom 2).

Development module

  • a new RAW development engine, that should deliver more detail and increased color noise removal - that is to combat for example DxO that delivers impressive noise reduction at high ISO applying denosing during first stages of RAW image construction;
  • new Grain tool effect to apply a film-like look to images;
  • improved post-crop vignetting effect with a contrast slider.
  • now the workspace includes the Collections pane, useful for grouping images without going back to Gallery view.

Slideshow/Export and Print modules

  • a new slideshow export mode with embedded music;
  • new highly customizable print layout, where user can freely build positioning and number of images to be shown;
  • watermarks supported (finally!) and a (simple) watermark editor is available.

The bad news - but it's a beta...

  • increased hardware requirements: 2 GB of RAM minimum recommended though it will run with 1 GB.... Lightroom has never been a fast tool unfortunately, and is really not yet coping with Photoshop CS4 major performance improvements;
  • still many missing features, like in our opinion at least the following:
    • video files support,
    • lens distorsion compensation,
    • recursive auto-import (now Lightroom imports just from one single folder.....);
    • perspective correction;
    • better photo stacking capabilities.


  • Referenced brands in this article: Adobe