Final Release of Adobe Lightroom 5 is Available Now

Final Release of Adobe Lightroom 5 is Available Now

After much anticipation, Adobe has just announced the latest iteration of their popular editing and workflow program, Lightroom 5. The early adopters to the Creative Cloud services will be happy to see a notification to download waiting for them right now, while the non-Creative Cloud perpetual license version is available for purchase on Adobe’s website now (and everywhere now). While we reserve full judgement on the program until after a thorough review, let's take a quick look at this final release and see how it handles.

I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with the latest edition to the Lightroom series and have culled through hundreds of photos and edited dozens with it already. I’ve spent my Sunday afternoon digging through settings, playing with the new features and and most importantly, getting some post processing work done.


The transition from LR 4 to 5 is simple. Upon installing Lightroom 5, Adobe detected my catalogs from Lightroom 4 and automatically went through the conversion process to make them work seamlessly with its latest software. All of my presets, filters, smart collections and settings were loaded automatically. It did this so seamlessly, I actually had to double check that I was loading up Lightroom 5, and not 4.

The first thing I noticed was the speed of the program. Lightroom 5 is really fast compared to Lightroom 4. So fast in fact, I’ve already uninstalled Photo Mechanic as my culling service for larger shoots which I was using because of the lethargic pace of Lightroom 4. Certainly, the latest software still bogs down a little, but it is nothing compared to what Lightroom 4 does. The previews render much faster now, making it a viable culling application for larger projects (such as weddings). The speed is comparable to what we saw in Lightroom 3. While it still doesn't load as fast as some culling programs available, it does run at a manageable pace. Previews seem to load faster than ever, without the long wait on a blurry photo like you got with Lightroom 4. Switching from Library mode to Develop mode still has a short delay, but the previewing system is faster and makes the entire program feel as though its speeding along.

New Features

The Upright tool (which we played with in the beta) is incredible, allowing you to fix horizons and tilts that you might find in your photos. The tool seems to be extremely powerful and work with incredible accuracy. Though this was something that could be done manually, this tool allows it to be done in a single click and seemed to fix every horizon problem I had with superb accuracy. This feature can be found in the Lens Corrections category, in Develop mode.

The Advanced Healing brush works much like the Content Aware fill does in Photoshop. By allowing you to create custom brush shapes, this tool allows you to remove objects in photos with ease. Simply click, drag and release, and the problem is fixed. Prior to this, we often had to open these photos manually in Photoshop to get the advanced tools we desired. And while this type of tool isn’t new for some of us advanced Photoshop users who adapted to it back in Photoshop CS4, it is great to have the tool available while we’re in Lightroom too.


The Radial Filter allows you to alter different parts of the photo selectively, much like you’d find in third party apps such as Viveza. By doing this, you’re able to draw the viewers attention to different parts of the photo selectively. You can also use it to increase sharpness at different parts of the photo, and works much like a Layer Mask would in Photoshop. Previously, this could be done with adjustment brushes, but the Radial Filter allows similar editing stills to be done in a more graduate system.

radial gradient filter
The Visual Spot setting is perhaps the greatest, and certainly my favorite, new tool to come to this latest release. By temporarily converting your photo into a strange abstract black and white photo, you’re able to see contrastes in the image with ease, which will allow you to clean up any sensor dust or other problems you might not notice right away when looking at it normally.

Like mentioned above, Lightroom 5 is available now for $149 at If you already have a recent version of Lightroom you can upgrade for $79. If you have the Creative Cloud, there is no additional fee. Just activate the download in the Adobe Application Manager.

Over the next couple weeks, we will be asking the important question: "With these new features (things many of us had the opportunity to play with in the beta release), is Adobe Lightroom 5 worth the upgrade?" For me and at this point, after using it for the last few hours in my actual workflow, it is a no brainer. Absolutely, it's worth it. With the faster speeds and useful tools, Lightroom 5 feels like a significant upgrade from its predecessor. Look forward to our full review of Lightroom 5 for some serious scrubbing of what this software can do, but right now I'm pretty satisfied with what I've seen.

For more on what to expect in Lightroom 5, watch Trevor Dayley take you through the new functions revealed in the beta.

Zach Sutton's picture

Zach Sutton is an award-winning and internationally published commercial and headshot photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. His work highlights environmental portraiture, blending landscapes and scenes with portrait photography. Zach writes for various publications on the topic of photography and retouching.

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Perfectly amazing

Can't wait to get it.

I'm unable to find LR5, still just Lightroom 4 in the list of programs I am able to buy. Perhaps LR5 is just available to US-customers right now?

Anyone know if they have improved the export performance in LR5?

same performance as L4.x here.
the trial behaves exactly as the beta.

but it´s the same as with LR 4.x... some say speed is ok, for others it behaves like a snail.

Today would be a perfect day to release Aperture 4, too. I hope it will get some love and care from Apple, aside from minor bugfix releases. :-/

No mention of Smart Previews? That's one of the biggest features for laptop users! Basically: You store the photos on an EXTERNAL HDD, but create Smart previews on the laptop. Then you can leave the house and edit the photos somewhere else, even though they're not on the laptop, and then LR just syncs it all up when you connect the HDD again. The Smart previews are something like 8% the size of the file itself. Big big help when you're using an SSD only laptop like I am.

Anyway, yeah, LR5 has been incredible. I've used the beta since its release. In fact, I actually stopped using LR4 almost immediately because LR5 was just THAT much faster than LR4. Pair the speed increase up with Smart previews, and BAM, sold.

They were mentioned in our announcement of the Beta, and has been the big selling point for LR5 for a lot of users. I don't use them personally, as I work on a desktop that is an absolute behemoth.


Personally, I use Nik Software quite a bit with Lightroom and Photoshop, and the filters won't work with the Smart Previews.

Can you finaly shoot tethered from Canon eos 6D in this version?

you can with 4.4 already.... i have.

Could you please share how you did that? I haven't found a way to make it work yet...

i just connect the 6D via usb cable and start the LR tethering tool.
there is no magic to that.

That's very strange since I just got this link to supported cameras in Lightroom 3, 4 &5 from Adobe Support Live chat:

Shorter product cycle from LR4 :/

I don't see what the point is in retouching in Lightroom. Unless you don't own Photoshop, and who in their right mind who uses Lightroom wouldn't, what's the point? If you don't know how to retouch in Photoshop, you're not going to do any better in Lightroom, and actually you'll probably do worse. Using something like the radial filter is utterly idiotic, because if you decide you don't like what you did you need to go back to your RAW file and hack it up, instead of creating a parametric process in Photoshop to begin with. Honestly, that's useless crap, unless you don't really give a crap about hacking your images up.

Some people literally don't NEED photoshop. Things like the healing brush in lightroom might be the only really specific editing tool they need, in which case the $700 makes no sense.

Well I suppose the price point is valid.

I used to think like you for some time, until I realized how much work I was doing needlessly when using Photoshop. For example when I've been doing studio shots all day and do one adjustment for one image I can just apply it to the entire series with just a few clicks (3). Similarly if I want to move that same series to my wordpress or my flickr with a thumbnail applied to it, I can do that in another few clicks (4), it will upload it for me, apply any EXIF-additions to the entire batch if I want to, and on top of that Lightroom works like a charm as a computer LiveView and camera control program when I'm in the studio. It will even folder each shot for me.

Lightroom is a great timesaver. If you don't shoot that much or don't have a huge library of photos (I'm up at 120000 images in my library, and I'm an amateur) then you probably don't need Lightroom. But unless you've really used it seriously for some time you really can't judge it. Also, since 5.0 has PNG-export, I won't settle for less.

I wouldn't argue about all the little niceties the program can do, the things you've outlined are all fine and well (and some you can do in camera raw), but you're still going to need an image editor, and it doesn't even need to be PS, any capable editor will do. I think the opposite about LR retouching abilities, however. If you do relatively little photography and don't work professionally then perhaps the retouching abilities in LR maybe all one needs.

LOL, plenty of professional photographers work without Photoshop. Not everyone need to do skin retouching, masking, etc.

Well, I suppose if they don't have to do the retouching, you're correct.

I use both. Everything starts in Lightroom, which is faster and much easier than Photoshop. With the new healing brush in LR 5, I'll need Photoshop even less. Lightroom is completely non-destructive, so it acts like Layers without the need to work with them. You have a history that saves itself, unlike Photoshop, which requires you save a multi-layered file to do so. Also, with Photoshop, you start with ACR, then go to Photoshop. Once in Photoshop, if after making adjustments, you can't easily do an ACR adjustment, whereas it's a breeze in LR. Photoshop is a giant toolbox, and really hasn't changed it's basic interface since version 3 (not CS3, but 3). Lightroom was designed fresh JUST for photographers, and has photography specific tools, like teeth whitening and skin softening built in. In Photoshop, is you want different white balance for different parts of a photo, it would be much harder than Lightroom, for example. Plus the cataloging, batch processing of LR make it a HUGE improvement over Photoshop. If you've spend hundreds on Photoshop, why wouldn't you spend $99 on Lightroom? And if you're going to the Creative Cloud, why wouldn't you use this FREE program? Anything I can't do in Lightroom, I do use Photoshop for, and when I'm done, it saves it back in LR as a copy next to the photo I left with. Personally, I have started using Photoshop more, but mainly because I got the entire Nik Collection, and since I'm often using more than one plug-in at a time, it's faster to hit Command-E to open a photo from LR to Photoshop, and then Nik works faster as a layer, and doing multiple filters in faster, than flatten and back to LR. If you make the image a Smart Object before starting in Nik, you can redo any filter.

I understand the other aspects of LP, and those make sense to me. But the retouching aspect is too odd for me. I guess I'm just to use to using PS for retouching. I agree PS lack of RAW support is a glaring omission. You should be able to work continuously from RAW data, importing and losing the dynamic range of your original data is stupid.

I think Spy Black is spot on. He is obviously a pro and, like me, cant understand why you would use second best, in what is just a glorified raw conversion app.

Take some time to learn the craft instead of instant gratification.

Pros use PS and LR
Amateurs use just LR

That's why I use both. One important thing. Photoshop was made for web designers, graphic artists, as well as photographers. I've been using it since version 3. It's a giant toolbox. Lightroom was redesigned from the ground up for just photographers. But it is much more than a glorified raw converter. And Spy Black, why do you think with LR you're losing the dynamic range of your original data ?

crap... 79 euro for an upgrade that has 2 new features..... and some small improvements.

then dont upgrade. simple

I'm probably going to upgrade, but still, how come the people who are super into LR get high praise but the people who write about the cons get comments back basically telling them that their opinion is unwanted.

I agree, I see this all the time.

What are the cons of Lightroom? I use both LR and CS6. Photoshop does more, but LR does most things MUCH faster and easier than Photoshop. Most PROS I know use both, although I have found a few that do not work on large volumes of images who are EXPERT in Photoshop, and feel they don't need Lightroom. But if you truly understand both, LR is well worth having. Even if you are a hardcore Photoshop fan, you use Adobe Camera Raw, and Lightroom is ACR on steroids.

I enjoy lightroom and you do too, but those are our opinions and Maik12 is entitled to his just as much without someone responding to him like a jerk.

I'm a confused. Maik12 called LR5 "crap". (not the most polished comment) but he can say what he wants.

But the first comment says if feels that way, he doesn't need to upgrade. simple.

I don't see ANY of the responses acting like a jerk, pro or con.

learn to read.
the upgrade for 79 euro is crap not lightroom per se...

I didn't say you called Lightroom crap, but LR5 (not worth the upgrade price, in your opinion). Just curious, have you tried the Beta or the free trial? Depending on what photography you do, the new healing brush alone is worth it. The old one was only a circle, so if you needed to delete a telephone wire or a wrinkle, you had to go to Photoshop to do a linear correction, but not with LR5.

shut up idiot...

I have upgraded from LR3 to LR4. Should I just buy the full LR 5 rather than do another upgrade. Has anyone had any problems just going from upgrade to upgrade?

Just buy the upgrade, I've upgraded all the way from LR1

The upgrade is the full version. It installs a new version. You still keep your older version.
Buy the upgrade, although if you go with Creative Cloud, it's included. Personally, download trial versions of LR5, Photoshop CC (in 10 days), and try them out as full functional programs. Then decide whether to upgrade and to what.

This is the exact reason why the CreativeCloud is a joke. As someone who uses LR a fair amount with Photoshop why would I upgrade? The only thing LR needs to do at this point is work faster; it's a little slow IMO. As someone who loves the marriage of LR/PS and how they work so well together I really don't need to upgrade LR for these features...they're already in the Photoshop I own.

If Adobe is going to provide such lightweight features/fixes in new versions of software why would I want to pay X dollars a month for an "update"? Just let me buy the one version you're never *really* going to make better until several years down the road and then I'll buy that one too.

Then just pay $79 to upgrade Lightroom. And if you need Photoshop CC, just $10 a month more.

Why would I pay anything when I don't need the features. My point is that if these are the kind of new version updates one can expect from CC then it is not worth the money IMO. This should be Lightroom 4.X. not an entirely new version.

This sounds awesome! I'm totally gonna upgrade.

No, wait... won't work under Vista! What kind of crap is this?
Every time I'm excited about new stuff from Adobe, they just piss me off with something...
And I really wanted to upgrade, be it just for the speed...

If you want speed, the first thing you need to do is get rid of Vista...

Let's get this straight. "I want state of the art software on my computer, but I insist on putting it on a computer with a 6 1/2 year-old operating system, software which controls my whole computer.' I use a Mac, and even I know that Vista is crap. I know 8 isn't much better, but at least put 7 on your machine.

Vista is a complete shitbox OS. Get 64but windows 7 machine with some grunt and a dozen gig of ram. Anything less is child's play.

Does anyone know if there is any info on upgrading from LR3 to LR5 in respect to price and keeping presets, cats etc??

Yes, $79. Even from version 1. You'll keep all presets, etc.

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