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There are some significant updates and additions. This is still a beta so it is not feature complete. Read the Adobe blog about Lightroom 4 for more detailed information. Also read the DPreview.com Lightroom 4 beta hands-on preview. The following text is an excerpt from the Adobe blog post:

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&hellipWink 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
     


Walter Rowe, Editor
Travel Photographers.net

   
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Has anyone else played with the LR4 beta?

   
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