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Adobe Releases Beta Version of Lightroom 4!

Adobe announced tonight the release of its beta version of Lightroom 4. Features and testing are not complete — this release is designed to get broader feedback from the user community before the official release.

The Lightroom 4 beta can be downloaded at this link.

To give Adobe feedback on features and performance, post in the Lightroom 4 beta forum.

Below are some thoughts on who may want to use the beta, and an extensive list of new features. I will have more blog posts on some of the features over the coming days.

If you are interested in watching a tour of the changes and a demonstration of how the new features work, check out my FREE upcoming webinars!


Should you download and use the Beta? 

You should first know that (1) you must have Windows 7 or Mac Snow Leopard or Lion (see the end of this post for full specs), and (2) you will not be able to upgrade your current catalog for use in the beta (though you will be able to in the final release.) The beta is intended for kicking the tires, and Adobe does not guarantee that your work will not be lost, so you should make copies of your photos and re-import them.

Do you need or want to use some of the new features right away? Are you tolerant of bugs, crashes and inexplicable behaviors (which you most likely will encounter)?  Do you want to give Adobe feedback in advance of the official release? If so,  go for it!  If not, you are not alone — many users are content to wait for the official release, when features and performance are stable.

What’s New in the Lightroom Beta 4:

There are a lot of great additions to this beta.  I would point you to my favorites as being the hottest new features, but I think in this release my favorites may not be your favorites — most people will find features that they are thrilled to see, and others that they ignore completely.

New Modules:

  • A powerful new Book module, where you can design books and upload them directly to Blurb (or export them as PDF’s).  You can choose from a fabulous number of page formats (with various numbers of photos and text boxes), drag and drop photos, change individual page background colors or add background photos or graphics, change your text settings and padding, and much, much more.

  • A Maps module, where you can easily assign GPS location to your photos, view them on a map, and find and select your photos.  Assignment of location is by dragging and dropping or use of a GPS tracklog (from a GPS device or smartphone app).

click to enlarge

Library Module:

Much Enhanced Video Functionality:

    • Most popular DSLR, compact camera and smart phone video formats supported including AVCHD (AVCHD is the native format for Sony DSLRs and many new Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens, MIL, cameras)
    • In-application playback of videos (no longer launches in your default media player)
    • Basic video editing — trim your video from the beginning and or end (no cutting from the middle), apply Quick Develop controls to develop
    • Set video poster frame (thumbnail in grid view)
    • Extract individual video frames as JPEGS — still photography from your videos
    • Export your edited videos as mp4’s, or as individual frames to import into Adobe Premiere.
    • Upload videos to Facebook and Flickr directly

Export Enhancements:

    • Export directly to email/webmail (just right-click on the photo and choose Email Photo!)

click to enlarge


    • Windows 64 bit: export directly to DVD (Mac and Win 32 already had this)
    • More options for stripping subsets of metadata
    • Export to Adobe Revel (Carousel)
    • New Metadata panel views for DNG and Video
DNG Enhancements:
  • Optional embedding of  fast preview data for faster loading in Develop (set in preferences)
  • Optional lossy DNG compression on exported copies to reduce file size  — results in minimal quality impact.
  • Optional DNG resolution/pixel reduction on export to share lower resolution copies without losing benefits offered by raw development.

Develop Module:

    • All New Basic Panel controls (referred to as Process Version 2012) — Exposure, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights, Whites, Blacks, plus improved Clarity.


    • Soft Proofing — allows you to preview what your photo will look like when printed using a printer profile, or exported using sRGB or any other RGB display profile

click to enlarge

    • Additional adjustment brush and graduated filter local corrections — white balance temperature and tint, highlights, shadows, noise, moire



    • Individual R, G, and B curves in the Tone Curve Panel


    • Automatic chromatic aberration correction checkbox (c/a taken out of lens profiles)


Output Modules (Book, Slideshow, Web, Print):

    • New “Creations” model of naming and saving work. Saved Books, Slideshows, Web Galleries and Prints appear in collections panel; regular collections and folders no longer store output settings.




    • Brightness and contrast adjustments, for those who consistently need the same adjustment in printing. (Addresses the “my photos always come out too dark” issue.)



    • Lightroom Flash galleries are color managed


Narrower-Impact Items (JDI’s):

  • On first new-user start up, Lightroom asks where to store the catalog and what to call it
  • Walkthrough tips in each module for new users
  • Right-click option to hide modules you don’t use
  • New zoom ratios (1:8, 1:16)
  • Stacks in collections available
  • Flag status global
  • Library Loupe view Layout Overlay for placing subjects in layouts (as you shoot tethered)
  • Language selection option on Mac via preferences
  • Collapse Tether toolbar down to the shutter button by Option or Alt clicking the close button.
  • Folders Panel: Windows — ability to move multiple folders at once
  • Ability to filter and search by saved vs. unsaved metadata.
  • New GPS badge
  • Folders Panel: Add Parent Folder/ Promote Subfolders wording changed
  • Publish Services: mark up to date option, button to link with Lightroom exchange to connect with more services
  • Pick and reject flags are now global (flags applied in a collection didn’t used to apply to the folder)
  • Import and edit 32 bit files (export as 8 or 16)
  • Import and quick develop preset drop-down now hierarchical, rather than one long list.
  • Develop Lightroom presets now in smaller folders.
  • Noise reduction adjustment is always displayed regardless of zoom level
  • White balance sampling control slider to control precision of selection

New Minimum Specs:


  • Multicore Intel® processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or v10.7 (Lion)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024×768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services (Maps, Publish Services, Export to webmail)


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024×768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services (Maps, Publish Services, Export to webmail)


2017-08-29T15:39:35+00:00 January 9th, 2012|6 Comments


  1. Kathy Eyster January 10, 2012 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Great to read this summary of proposed changes in LR4 Beta. I’m most excited about the ability to adjust *print* brightness & contrast separate from the image adjustments, along with soft proofing.

  2. Lars January 10, 2012 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Like the email change! Saves several steps for me. The book module is great too. Can’t wait to make some for my children and friends.

    Do I have to buy another Tutorial DVD or will mine be updated for free?

    • Laura Shoe January 19, 2012 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Lars, so sorry I missed this post. Current DVD customers will be eligible for upgrade pricing. I don’t know how much the discount will be yet.

  3. Luther Blissett January 20, 2012 at 1:48 am - Reply

    OMG! Softproofing? Email export? GPS support?

    Then, someone at Adobe finally *did* find the the password for the user-feedback email account?

  4. […] Laura Shoe: […]

  5. […] Laura Shoe: […]

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