I have been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom since it was in beta and I thought I would share my thoughts on it after using the final shipping version for a while. Lightroom is one of the best pieces of software I have invested in for a long time. That does not mean it does not have shortfalls because it certainly does but most of those are in areas I do not use Lightroom for so it does not bother me much.
First what I like:
- The digital asset management aspect is my favorite part of Lightroom in comparison to what I was using. Actually that is not a fair comparison because I was using Phase One Capture One to process all my images as I only shoot in RAW mode and it does not have any DAM features. So before Lightroom I had to depend on using only a folder structure on my hard drive to organize files. Now I have not only the hierarchy of folders I also have keywords, ratings and metadata. It is a pain to put all the ratings and keywords in but being able to easily find the images I shot at a certain location, with a certain lens for a event or bridal images I rated a very good at say Erinshire Gardens is really cool.
- My next favorite part is the develop module, it gives me the ability to adjust pretty much any aspect of an image I could ever want. The ability to save develop settings so I can apply them to any image with one click in the future is a great feature.
- Of course the library module is high on the list as well and is what brings the other two modules together.
Now what I don’t like:
- Speed, Lightroom is not very fast sometimes and I run it on a very fast computer. I feel confident that speed will improve in the future though as Adobe optimizes the program.
- The slideshow module will not let me export an executable file that prevents people from being able to print the images or take screen shots.
- The print module does not query the print driver to get the hardware resolution then use something better than the bicubic algorithm to interpolate the image to that resolution before sending it to the printer driver.
- The previews do not really show the sharpening applied to the image exactly as it is when it I exported, close but not always correct.
- The sharpening and noise reduction could be better I think especially the noise reduction.
- Fine control on the sliders is sometimes hard to get even when using the trick of “sliding” at the numeric input box.
So that seems like I dislike more than I like but that is not really the case as I do like and enjoy using Lightroom a lot. This is a version 1.0 application and it needs some polishing but overall is a very stable, usable and productive program. I don’t think Lightroom is for everyone because of the complexity of it. That said I do think even amateurs will find many aspects of the program they will enjoy and use. Professional will benefit the most from this program especially if they are not currently using and DAM application currently.