This week Amy and I upgraded our main photo computer to Lightroom 4! Several key features made us feel the upgrade was worth the $80:
- Better editing for highlights and shadows
- New map feature means you can see a map of the world, then click on the picture icons and Lightroom will show you exactly which pictures were taken where
- New processing technology gives greater depth and black detail
I wanted to show what a difference the new software can make, in case any of you are considering the upgrade, or want to see a little bit inside the process we go through to create our finished photos.
First, this picture of climbers on El Capitan I took last year in Yosemite I really liked, but I've never entered it in contests or printed it because of the noise and the plane lights that streaked through the image. Because of the noise and other difficulties in this picture, it really shows what a difference Lightroom 4 makes over 3. The old image is on the left, and new Lightroom 4 processed version is on the right (click on it to make the image bigger).
Zoomed in on the little red square area, you can see the extra detail Lightroom 4 can get out of an image. Also notice that the color noise is also better in the Lightroom 4 image, on the right.
In the first image, you can see the streaks of passing plane's lights, just above the red square. The whole point of being in Yosemite is to get away and experience wilderness (though with the crowds these days that feeling is getting more and more elusive). To me, the plane's presence took that out of the image. I'd been avoiding moving over to Photoshop to do the editing I knew I needed, but Amy kept encouraging me to fix it, so finally, I did. Here's the finished image, which I call "Climbing the Heavens":
Here's another similar image we took last summer. Notice how there are weird green splotches in the Lightroom 3 version on the right - and poof! they're gone with Lightroom 4's improved rendering engine.
This one didn't need the extra tweaking in Photoshop (since there were no planes flying through), so here's the final image, titled "Sentinel."
So far, for my most difficult to process photos, Lightroom 4 seems like a winner. Of course the real test is when we go to print, and these pictures haven't printed very nicely when I've done them before. But so far, I'm really pleased with the additional features and better images I'm getting out of Lightroom 4!