Adobe announced the release of their beta version of the new Lightroom 5 today and with it I dove in and quickly discovered my five favorite new features. A few of these are true game changers in how we edit our photos and will in the end save us as photographers quite a bit of time while using the innovative software. Read on to see some examples of the features and what my first impressions are on the new Lightroom 5.
I have a feeling the biggest question most users will have about the new Lightroom 5 will be the responsiveness of the sliders. While I haven't set up any comprehensive tests to check the speed, I will say that my first impression has been a good one. The sliders do seem to be more responsive on my computer as I have been editing photos with it. Over the next few weeks and months we'll continue to play with it and report back any additional findings. After installing the new beta I did also want to report that all my presets transferred over without any issues at all.
After importing some photos, the first thing I noticed in the new Lightroom 5 was the addition of the Radial Filter. This filter can be used to create a custom vignette anywhere in your picture thereby drawing your viewers attention to certain areas of the picture. It is a powerful and easy to use feature, one that I can definitely see myself using a lot. Previously I was doing this with the Graduated Filter but doing it all with the Radial Filter is even easier.
Here are some photos of before and after using the Radial Filter.
Custom Healing Brush Shapes
Another new feature that I just know is going to be popular with Lightroom enthusiasts is the new healing brush. Previously we were limited to spots and anything beyond that had to be brought into Photoshop. But in the new Lightroom 5 they have made it so you can now click and paint in the area you would like to heal and Lightroom will then for an area to replace the shape with. This is very powerful on erasing wrinkle lines or objects in your photos that don't necessarily work with the previous circle only tool. Definite time saver keeping you from having to take the picture over into Photoshop to make those edits. Notice in the picture above how I painted a portion using the new healing brush tool to remove a flyaway hair.
Visualize Spot Setting
In addition to the new healing brush they also added a Visualize Spot tool. This is extremely effective in finding dust in your photos that you need to take care of. Now just turn on the Visualize Spot tool and your picture will make it easy to see those dust spots. In the picture below you will see one in the left corner (white mark in the black sky). Once you see the dust marks and have taken care of them just turn off the Visualize Spot tool and continue making your edits.
Another great new feature in Lightroom 5 is the Upright Tool. It is found under the Lens Correction dialog box. It is very effective in straightening horizons and fixing tilt or askew in pictures. This would especially be loved by photographers shooting architecture. While much of the changes could be done in the previous version of Lightroom, what is nice about this new Upright tool is that it will analyze your picture and make the changes for you automatically.
Last but definitely not least, another powerful new feature of Lightroom 5 is the addition of the Smart Previews. Using this allows you to create previews of your images that you can then take with you on the road or edit from a different computer. Then once you have made those edits all you need to do is re-sync them wish your previous high resolution photos and all the changes will be made to them in your Lightroom catalog. I can see this being an extremely useful feature if you have someone editing photos for you offsite. Now instead of having to send them the high resolution images you can send them the smart previews. I will do some testing with this over the next few days and share what I discover.
Over the next few months I am sure we will continue to learn about new features and upgrades in the new Lightroom 5. I am excited about what I have found so far and have been impressed with the performance of the software. I look forward to discovering even more over the next few weeks as I implement it into my regular flow of editing. If you haven't yet, watch the video above to see a 5 minute overview of these top 5 favorite new features. I break it down pretty easily so you will be on your way to using them immediately after installing the new beta. Enjoy!
To find out more detailed information about the new Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta Release check out the Fstoppers announcement story here. If you are ready to download and try it out for yourself you can find the download links here on the Adobe beta release site.