I use Adobe Lightroom as my main image management software. Right from transfer of images from the card reader to the final point of printing over 90% of the workflow involves Adobe Lightroom. Now I hardly need to move to any other image manipulation tool including Photoshop or my latest favorite GIMP. These programs are needed only if the image in question requires a large amount of cloning, layers or other stuff which does not exist in Lightroom. So when Adobe announced its Lightroom 5 Public Beta I was really excited. Here are the features in that beta version. For a beta version it was pretty stable and had very few problems. Three days back Adobe announced that Lightroom 5 has just been released in the final form. Here’s the download link you’ll need. As with previous versions, it is available as a perpetual license from Adobe and other resellers (full price $149, upgrade $79), as well as being included in the new Creative Cloud.
So what’s new? Most of the new features were same as that of LR 5.0 beta. If you haven’t tried the beta, here’s my 5.0 beta blog post with a detailed list of the changes. There have been around 400 bug fixes in this Final version, including a fix for Upright which wasn’t straightening horizons properly. Feathering on the Radial Filter has been doubled.
Important for Lightroom 5 enhancements include:
- Additional Smart Collection Criteria – Size, Bit Depth, Number of Color Channels, Color Profile, Smart Preview status & PNG file type
- Advanced Healing Brush – You can now paint in spot removal.
- Aspect Slide – in Lens Corrections – You can now compensate for lens corrections changing the shape of things – or slim people!
- Book enhancements – Improved Text, Page Numbers and User Pages
- Direction – You can add a direction to EXIF data (North, South, East, West, North – West, South – West, North – East and South East)
- DNG Validation – You can now validate Adobe generated DNG files (but not camera generated ones)
- Full Screen Mode – Shortcut ‘F’ now gives a true full screen mode. Old mode is accessed via ‘Shift F’
- HiDPI support – Windows support for 150% and 200% resolution screens
- Import Focus – You can now choose to have Lightroom stay where you are, rather than jumping to Current/Previous Import during an Import.
- LAB Color Readout – Right click on the Histogram and choose ‘Show LAB Color Values’
- Lock Zoom Position – You can now have Lightroom remember the last part of a photo you zoomed into (View menu).
- New Grid Overlays – You can now add overlays and customize the grid size and opacity
- PNG Support – Manage PNG files. Transparency is shown in white and not as checkerboard. Files can be edited as PSD or TIFF in Photoshop
- Process Version warning change – The Warning to indicate an older Process Version has moved to the Histogram and changed to a lightening bolt.
- Radial Filter – A radial version of the graduated filter. More control for Vignettes, etc
- Saved Location improvements – photos can be dragged to Saved Locations and vice versa in Map
- Set as Target Collection added to the New Collection dialog box
- Shift Q to toggle between Clone and Heal in Spot Removal
- Slideshow with videos – Videos can be added to a slideshow
- Smart Previews – Lightweight files that allow offline files to be developed
- Soft Proof Before/After – Before After now shows the current photo and the soft proofed version
- Upright – A new automatic lens perspective and straightening tool
- Visualize Spots – A photo inverting features that makes it easier to see spots.
As with all Lightroom updates, there are many camera and lens profile additions including the Hasselblad H5D-60, Olympus PEN E-P5, Olympus PEN E-PL6, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G6, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LF1, Ricoh GR, and preliminary support for the Phase One IQ260. DNG Converter 8.1 & Adobe Camera Raw 8.1 is also now available for Photoshop CS6, and although it doesn’t have a UI for the new features, it does render them correctly when you use Edit in Photoshop.
So with all these goodies in LR5 what is the catch and why am I calling it a hot potato? Adobe recently announced that they will no longer be selling perpetual license for the Creative Suite. That’s now been rebranded as Creative Cloud, and will be available by subscription only. Technology, and life in general, are moving faster and faster, and 18-24 month upgrade cycles just don’t work that well anymore. Adobe wants to focus on providing changing technology as fast as they can was Adobe’s argument for such a model. Nevertheless Lightroom will continue to ship as a standalone product by electronic download or as a boxed copy, as well as being available in the Creative Cloud. I do not have a Creative cloud subscription. I had purchased a box license for Lightroom 4 and I do not want to get into a monthly subscription model of creative cloud. For me boxed subscription suits better. Even though Final version released by Adobe has over 400 bugs squashed from LR5 beta, it still has few major bugs. Having a creative cloud like setup allows Adobe to release a considerably buggy software as a final release and as the day progresses it can squash these bugs and upload latest version on creative cloud. I feel that laxity is the one which made Adobe to release what should have been Lightroom 5 Beta 2 version itself as a final release.
Adobe Lightroom 5 final version has too many bugs to my liking. Known Issues So far in Adobe Lightroom 5 are
- Fullscreen Mode does not show the next image in your selection. This occurs only when you have selected a series of images before entering Fullscreen mode.
- Video playback is not currently supported in Fullscreen mode.
- There is no error message informing that offline photos and videos are not exported to slideshows.
- The slide after a video clip is often not shown. This only occurs when using the Manual Slideshow feature.
- Custom slideshow templates will default to 480×270 on export. This only impacts custom slideshow templates created in previous versions of Lightroom.
- The slideshow appears as a black screen occasionally. This only occurs when a video file is chosen as the first slide.
- Star ratings cannot be applied while previewing or viewing a Slideshow.
- Deleting a book in the Book Module may occasionally cause another book to disappear.
- XMP metadata changes are not automatically written to file when the original file is offline.
- Canon cameras are not detected when using Tethered Capture in Windows 8. This only occurs on Windows 8.
- Offline photos go missing from Lightroom when moving folder of images to a different volume.
- GPS metadata on videos created on an Apple iPhone is not imported.
- Basic metadata is not imported with video files. This only occurs when imported directly from the camera. As a workaround, please copy the files from camera to your harddrive and then import into Lightroom.
- When utilizing the “Merge to HDR” feature with Photoshop, the resulting HDR image contains metadata from the last selected photo.
- Photos adjusted using Process Version 2003 incorrectly display a “Post Crop Vignette: Paint Overlay” History step. Selecting a subsequent History State can reset existing settings that follow that state in the History panel. This reset cannot be undone, effectively deleting any settings that have been applied after the selected History State. This only occurs with images adjusted in PV2003.
- Images exported at less than 1/3 of their original size may not retain Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction settings.
So what is my verdict. Every software has bugs, and it’s a balance among many things what gets addressed and when is more important. These bugs may or may not be showstoppers for many. The new features introduced in Lightroom 5 (improved spot removal/radial filters/automated perspective correction) are highly indispensable for many and may makes it difficult for them to go back to Lightroom 4.4. Still I find production level stability is difficult with Lightroom 5.0 in its present form. I will wait for Lightroom 5.1 to fully embrace Lightroom 5. AS of now I am maintaining 2 catalogs one for my Lightroom 4.4 and other for my 5.0 as both versions of Lightroom work simultaneously on same machine. If you like to learn about Lightroom 5.0 here is a nice compilation of resources available on the net –