It's been quite a busy week for photographers. The Photo Marketing Association and Consumer Electronics Show opened a joint conference, going on right now in Las Vegas. There have been countless new products announced. Mark told you that the Nikon D4 was finally announced, but they also announced an 85mm f1.8 lens at $500. A lens that will give you lots of speed and creamy bokeh for relatively few dollars.
Canon announced their high-end compact, the G1x. It shoots RAW; 1080p video; and has a 28-112mm zoom. It will compete with Nikon's 1 (although the Canon doesn't have inter-changeable lenses) and the Fuju X100 (also fixed lens). Go read Google News about all the photo gadgets that are being introduced in Vegas this week.
But the photo world wasn't just buzzing over the neat new hardware.... Adobe announced the public beta of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. There are some major changes, including a revamped Develop panel; a Map panel that connects to Google Earth and let's you geo-tag any image; and a Book panel to create your own Blurb photobooks. You can download it here; there is no cost to try it.
I've been playing with it all week on some recent photos, and I'm already hooked on the improvements. It is still a Beta, so you only want to use it on copies of your photographs. You will probably experience some slowness and crashes, but this is normal in a Beta. They'll have that taken care of in the final release. When does the final release come out? They haven't announced that, but the Beta expires on 31 March. (Isn't that less than a week after Photoshop World? Hmmmm.)
You can bet we'll blog about all the features when it comes out, but let me show you a couple of examples of the new Develop panel. I really love the changes here.
Here is the York Minster. A blah sky provides enough light to create a common problem - the camera meter averages the scene, and my sky is too bright and the church is too dark.
In Lightroom 3, I would globally lighten the church and then use the adjustment brush to bring down the brightness of the sky. This isn't difficult, but it will take a few minutes of brushing to get the sky the way I want it.
In Lightroom 4, I moved few sliders to give much better results in seconds. The corrections were so fast, I used the lens correction to minimize the image distortion and still had a much better image in less than one minute.
The clouds have more definition; you can see details in the towers; and the exposure is fixed. The transformation is really something to watch as you move the sliders. Of course, I could do this in Photoshop, but that would take even longer.
I had to try it one more time.
Wow! I really like the way shadow detail can be revealed. You should download the program and give it a try. This new Lightroom is going to be fun.