The latest Lightroom Classic update has just landed, and there are a fair few features and functions that will benefit many professional users. But what about the average Joe who uses Lightroom occasionally for their own hobbyist snaps?
There have been some updates to Lightroom this month thanks to Adobe's latest patch. There are some feature improvements, performance boosts and bug fixes, and also some new standardization to how items are saved locally. Some of the updates carry on behind the scenes, whereas others are upfront and personal and something you may use in everyday life when editing in Lightroom Classic. Are they something you should concern yourself with as an average Lightroom user? Or should you just ignore it? Read on to find out.
Lightroom has added the ability to increase the resolution of a photo by up to 2x aside, for a total of 4x total increased pixels across the entire photograph. On the face of it, this doesn't seem like such a big deal, as we've been able to print huge photos in a good resolution for a long time in digital thanks to the versatility of printing settings. However, Lightroom is using Adobe's artificial intelligence machine to render a higher resolution version of your original image, and this is the key thing here. It isn't simply increasing the size of the photo and hoping for the best, but rendering more detail intelligently across the frame.
This is actually very useful for the average user, especially if they want more detail in low-resolution images or the ability to crop in tightly on subjects without losing detail. The latter is a particular problem with those that have entry-level cameras due to the increased noise and (usually) lower-resolution image sensors associated with cheaper cameras. It will even work on smartphone shots that require processing like this.
Faster Metadata Management
Adobe claims to have made performance improvements in regards to selecting and updating metadata for batches of photos. While we don't yet have any solid evidence of this, as we're still undergoing testing, the performance increase hasn't been that drastic. It should benefit the average user that is working on a laptop or smart device that is slightly underpowered or a little older but only for those that truly use the metadata feature in Lightroom. Most average users, who use the software to simply process images and not organize their libraries, may not notice this at all.
Performance Optimizations in Develop Module
The Develop Module has been optimized to reduce slowdowns when using VRAM (video-RAM) while working in the Develop Module for long sessions. There is some noticeable difference here when working through the software, but to feel the most benefit, computers or laptops should have a dedicated graphics or video card enabled to run Lightroom. Average users with devices that use integrated graphics (i.e. run off the CPU instead of a dedicated card) may not see much change, as the device might already struggle to run smoothly.
Updates to Develop Presets
Develop Presets' directories have now been changed to homogenize the preset-saving process. Existing Develop Presets remain in the same place as you left them, but newer presets will now be stored in the locations as follows:
- macOS - /Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/Settings
- Windows - C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\Settings
Whether the average user utilizes Develop Presets is a bit of a guessing game. They are useful, and many take advantage of them to cut down workflow times and to reach uniformity of style across photos, but there are many who don't use Lightroom in this way. For those that regularly use Adobe Camera Raw, the single storage folder for Develop Presets will be helpful.
There are also over 70 new Premium Presets joining the existing lineup, and this is set to expand further with more presets and collections to be added regularly in the coming months.
Nikon Tethered Live View (List of Supported Cameras)
This is certainly something that has been sorely missed by Nikon shooters, myself included. Being able to tether Nikon cameras in Live View through Lightroom is extremely helpful for setting up product photography, experimenting with lighting in portraits, and styling sets during production. It can also help simplify selfies and self-portrait sessions. However, not every Nikon camera is compatible. Search the list below to see if yours is included:
Sadly, this list of four is somewhat lacking compared to Canon's seven that are already supported. This means many average users who buy secondhand or have older models will either need to upgrade or continue to live without Live View in tether mode in Lightroom. With that being said, there are many Nikon models that are compatible with tethering in Lightroom( see from this list), but sadly, none of these can be used in Live View mode. For that, you'll have to change to another editing program, such as Phase One's Capture One.
Native Support for Apple Silicon Devices
Since 2020, when Apple switched out their Intel chips for Apple silicon chips, we've been waiting for Adobe to push an updated support structure for Apple silicon-based devices. Thankfully, with the June 2021 update, native support for Apple silicon devices is now here. Tethered capture is also available while running under Rosetta emulation mode.
This should start to change things for those with Apple Silicon devices, but for all others (and that's likely the majority of users), this aspect doesn't do anything, and you can pretty much ignore it.