What Does It Mean To Be A Beta Tester?

Adobe just released Lightroom 5.0 for Beta Testing.  Woohoo, why do you care?  First of all what is Beta testing?  Even though they run in schools, it does not mean asking questions of brightly colored fish.  Beta testing is when the developer releases a nearly complete version of their software to a target audience. They do this for several reasons, first and foremost they want to get feedback from users on how well they have done in creating new features by having people try and break the software; secondly they want to help create awareness and demand for the product when they release it for sale. When you think about how much money they have already spent paying the very talented software engineers and testers to create things that people have asked for, as well as to update the backend of the system to perform on the latest HW and operating systems, it makes sense to expand the number of people engaged in trying it out.  Roger and I have been Beta testers on a couple of different versions of LR and Photoshop as well as some of the Nik Products.  For Silver Efx Pro, we were sworn to secrecy and had to sign very restrictive Non-disclosure agreements until the testing was complete. We put in a lot of time and effort there and because of that, we received free copies of the software.   Let me just jump out and tell you that is NOT going to happen with this version of Lightroom.  They released it for free so everyone can be their test staff.

There are a lot of really neat new features and I’ve only begun to play with them.  Little things like better management for images that are stored externally.  Big things like the new completely revised adjustment brush.  It has a ton of new options and built in presets for things such as skin tone and burning.  They have added a new tool called the radial filter which allows adjustments in a defined area.  They have spent a lot of time fixing the spot healing brush as well.   As I have barely started to play with the software, here are a couple of resources to look at what those changes are.

From NAPP: http://photoshopuser.com/lightroom5/

From Juliane Kost-the Adobe Lightroom Evangelist: http://blogs.adobe.com/jkost/2013/04/julieannes-favorite-features-in-the-lightroom-5-beta.html

Believe me there are lots more out there.

So why am I writing about this topic?  I want to encourage everyone to download the new software,--it is only good until July, when the real version comes out.  It is very important to realize that Adobe may change how the features work in the final version so DO NOT load your entire catalog into the software.  It may not keep them or protect them.   Take a few images and make copies of the files, put them in a separate directory and then import them into a brand new LR5 catalog.   Play with them, push the system to see what the new tools do.  When and if you find something that doesn’t work right, take the time to give Adobe the feedback.   Take note of what you were doing, on the LABS page where you downloaded the SW, there is a feedback form. http://forums.adobe.com/community/labs/lightroom5   We have the opportunity as a user community to fix and give them good ideas.  Let’s take advantage of it.