Today, Lightroom 4 is available for pre-order through B&H or on Amazonfor $150 and will likely start shipping as soon as tomorrow. The price is news on its own, as it's half the price of previously released versions of Lightroom. Adobe is really making this accessible to everyone!
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a fantastic image managing and editing software with great Photoshop integration, too. When the original Lightroom came out, I started using it 90% of the time over Photoshop. It's quite impressive if you haven't tried it already. Lightroom 4 includes a ton of new features, including improved video file handling as demonstrated in the video. Read on for more info!
I've had Lightroom 4 for a short while now and have to point out a couple key features that I think really make a difference:
1. Channel-Specific Curve Adjustments
You can now choose R/G/B color channels and adjust those curves individually. While I still don't see a super easy way to double-check clipping (for those familiar with Photoshop's Alt+Click along an end point of a specific channel's levels slider), but this is a huge addition that makes color correcting (and experimenting) much easier.
2. Improved Brush Adjustments
This isn't the only one, but noise reduction is now selective, too, based on where you brush. You can still add noise reduction to the entire image, but for those of us pulling every detail out of those shadows...where we're usually left with what I call 'noise residue' from editing, we can now also add some selective noise reduction! Thank you Adobe!
3. Video Support
Lightroom 3 had video support, sure. But I didn't count it. Great, I could view and organize my video files in Lightroom catalogues. But that's about it. Who cares? With Lightroom 4, we enjoy many (not all, however) of the same color-correcting/adjusting features that we used to only be able to use for images. The process is slightly 'roundabout' (see the video above), but you'll get the hang of it. As-is, it's still a huge time-saver. Have one of those DSLRs that can shoot video? Now you're covered with Lightroom.
Lightroom 4 brings in softproofing abilities. Now you can CLEARLY see what will be out of gamut or in gamut for a particular color space or even printer paper, depending on what you select. Image adjustments can then be made quickly while Lightroom 4 makes it easy to monitor changes to out-of-gamut colors based on your adjustments as you work.
5. Books Module
I haven't played around with this much, but Lightroom 4 does add a new Books module that should let you create photo books, etc.. I was curious about the quality of work produced from it, however, after what I found to be rather elementary in the Web module released in previous versions. But after spending even just a few minutes with it, I think it's an entirely different beast. The books module should make creating simple photo books just that -- simple, for once.
This is just the beginning. And some of these features are better seen than explained. I encourage you to view some videos on Lightroom 4 once you get it at Adobe's Lightroom Youtube channel.
For those unfamiliar with Lightroom, this introduction video does a great job of explaining what it's all about: