Lightroom 3 – First Impressions

As I mentioned yesterday, Lightroom 3 is now available. I’ve only just begun to play with it, but so far, I like what I’m seeing. On my iMac, it starts up noticeably faster than the previous version. Part of the boost is from Adobe having moved the “backup catalog now” box to the slightly more sensible point when you close the app rather than when you start it, but that doesn’t account for all of the improvement.

The lens correction stuff, which I’ve mentioned before is nice – with less extreme lenses than my fisheye, the changes it makes are subtle but useful.

Still loads of features to play with, and more to get my head around, but here’s an example of the integration with Photoshop CS5 that I like. Here’s a picture of the magnificent Royal Border Bridge at Berwick upon Tweed. I was shooting into the light, which resulted in the bridge being badly under exposed:

Royal Border Bridge

Royal Border Bridge

I decided to test this with the new HDR Pro feature in Photoshop. I made some virtual copies, told Lightroom to launch Photoshop, and had a play. I used four images with varying levels of exposure and let Photoshop do its magic before saving the result back to Lightroom.

This isn’t a “proper” HDR image – for that, I’d have had to have taken several exposures and combined those, but you can fake it to a certain extent with RAW files. Lots more work, tweaking and experimenting will be needed, but this version does show more detail of the bridge without losing the sky, or looking too weird.

Royal Border Bridge - HDR

Royal Border Bridge - HDR

Well, the sky looks a bit strange, but it is an experiment, so there!