The flexibility offered in the Develop module of LR5, makes this a very worthwhile purchase over PSE12 and its integral ACR raw editing capability. Particularly as LR5 was on short-term offer at Amazon and I managed to bag it for £69.99.
I have had Lightroom 5 for a couple of weeks at the time of writing this review and am already seeing the benefits, having re-worked a number of old RAW files to produce much better final images than with PSE12/ACR. I am sure there is much more to discover, but I would highlight the following features of LR5 as particularly worthwhile - and all applied in a non-destructive manner, so can be easily undone if needed: * Graduated filters - a must for improving skies * Radial filters * Adjustment Brush - very powerful for adjustments to specific areas of your photo * Spot removal tool, to deal with blemishes without having to switch into PSE * HSL for much finer control of the various colour components * Lens Correction - particularly for the removal of Chromatic Aberration, which works brilliantly and has improved a number of older images
I have found LR5 generally intuitive to learn and use and, of course, there is the usual plethora of helpful videos on YouTube and elsewhere covering pretty much every aspect of LR5. The following have been useful in helping get familiar with the product: * Anthony Morganti's Lightroom Tutorials on YouTube for a general understanding of the main LR functions * Serge Ramelli YouTube videos on how to really get creative with LR5 and maximise impact on your photos * Adobe's own Lightroom tutorials in their 'How To' section at adobe.com
I would also highly recommend Victoria Bampton's 'Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 - The Missing FAQ' which I purchased after reading the outstanding reviews on Amazon. The information is presented as a series of Q&As on each topic, which works brilliantly and makes the information very easy to find and to digest (without the additional waffle that some other authors seem to prefer). Also worth taking a look at the Authors own website (LightroomQueen.com), which includes a free Lightroom 5 Quickstart Guide
So, why only four stars then? The reason is that I really dislike Adobe's approach to trying to organise your files for you. I found this very frustrating when I first used LR5.
There is a very helpful explanation by George Jardine of using catalogs, which helped to demystify things somewhat, for which the link can be found on Victoria Bampton's website. Also, in Part 12 of his Learn Lightroom series of videos on YouTube, Anthony Morganti explains his preferred approach of retaining his existing OS file structure, loading files into there initially and then importing into Lightroom. This feels like a much more sensible approach and is the method I have adopted.
I am yet to try other modules within LR5, such as Book and Slideshow, but overall, I am very happy with Lightroom 5 and would highly recommend it for the value of the Develop module alone.
Seems at first look a lot to pay for one disc, however it's now only about three weeks since it was delivered and I am slowly realising that it does justify the price, I'm sure there's a lot more to discover (haven't started on the YouTube video's yet) the photo adjustments you can make are superb, the lens correction and colour correction features are brilliant.
This is one very high quality piece of software for developing and organising your photos. It is a such a joy to use a tool of such meticulous design. I wish I had bought it many years ago instead of struggling with free software
I have upgraded from Lightroom 4 to Lightroom 5 and have found the new features well worth-while and in my view make this even more of a complete photo-management and editing package for digital photographers.
I converted to Lightroom from Photoshop Elements last year. The learning curve has not been too bad because Lightroom is pretty intuitive for all the basic functions, and in any case I have used Scott Kelby's book The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) to help me with the more advanced features. For this new version, Lightroom 5, Adobe have already put quite a few "how to" videos about the new features on their website and it's worth looking at these.
Lightroom is a great improvement on Elements when it comes to cataloguing a collection. The key-wording approach in Lightroom is much more flexible than in Elements and the search functions are much better. I love the ability to compare several similar photographs on one screen (survey view) and gradually eliminate the less good ones until you're left with the best image. You can tell that Lightroom really is designed for digital photographers through and through, with features like automatic lens correction based on your camera profile (a large number of camera profiles are included but you can add others or create your own). You can even set it up so that your RAW files are automatically adjusted to give them the punch of JPG files - I don't use this but can see why it might be an appealing feature.
With Lightroom you don't have the layers features of Elements or Photoshop but most digital photographers will find that the way all the adjustment sliders work offers just as much control as the layers approach and is certainly easier to use.
The non-destructive editing concept means that you can revert your photo to its original state at any time, OR you can take "snapshots" at any stage of your edit which are in effect different versions of the photo which you can revert to. You can also create a virtual copy to experiment with if you want the original kept just as it is, and then you can export the virtual copy as an additional image when you've completed work on it.
In version 5 the catalog functions stay pretty much the same as before, but you have to convert your Lightroom 4 caalog to Lightroom 5 (very easy). If you are converting to Lightroom 5 from Photoshop Elements you can import your Elements catalog and it will preserver all your keywords.
It is in the Develop module where the real changes can be seen. The first change I noticed is the radial gradient tool. In Lightroom 4 you have a really good gradient filter tool which you just select then drag across the screen to make whatever changes you wish. I've used it to improve skies in landscape photographs, and also dragging from the side when the exposure seems brighter on one side of the photograph than the other. You can change anything you want with this tool - exposure, saturation, clarity etc, etc. Now with Lightroom 5 we have an additional radial gradient filter tool which works just the same as the linear tool but let's you draw a circle (with the full range of soft or hard edges) so you can drop your adjustments into any shape and size of oval or circle. It's really useful for introducing a soft glow around the faces in a portrait for example, or for highlighting the central part of the image (although to a degree you can do this with the vignette effect).
I am fanatical about having straight horizons in my landscape photographs and the new "upright" tool is excellent. It's found in the lens correction panel and when you click Auto it analyses the photograph and straightens it automatically. You can manually correct it of course if you feel the automatic correction hasn't got it right - but it's been right every time I've used it so far.
The new Advanced Healing Brush is pretty amazing and I now no longer need to go across to Photoshop Elements to achieve the improvements to my images like removing intrusive lamp-posts or telegraph poles. To be able to get rid of a drainpipe down the side of a house in one drag and click is amazing (I've just done it). It's capabilities when improving complexions in portraits go without saying.
I like that I can create video slideshows of still photographs and can upload them to my website or YouTube etc. You can insert customised start and ending screens, varying borders and themes, and also a soundtrack.
Once nice feature in version 5 is a new keyboard shortcut - just type F and the photo is displayed full screen. Another improvement is the addition of fully configurable grids and guides - this was definitely something I missed in Lightroom 4 - I also like that you can change the opacity of these so they are not too intrusive. There are many other smaller changes and improvements which you will soon find once you start using Lightroom 5.
All in all, I'd say this upgrade is well worth having. If you're new to Lightroom then the program is probably the best you can get as a digital photographer wanting to manage and manipulate images. If you have an earlier version then you'll probably find this a worthwhile upgrade - the new features are consistent with earlier versions in how they work and you will be using them within a few minutes of firing up the program for the first time.
I have been a staunch user of Apple Aperture since its first release; only Aperture 3 has gotten increasingly long in the tooth - and as a camera collector I am getting fed up of Apple's lag in supporting Raw formats. Aperture 3 is iPhoto + - its a great easy to use Library for OS/X. With Lightroom 5 Adobe should have made it easier to switch from Aperture.
I wasn't immediately sure how my library would look in the final process - I really like the album structure in Aperture. Lightroom doesn't have this; I found an option on the import to Organise by day which groups photos into a stack saved my bacon and allowed me to almost mimic the old structure. I then had to import my photos; i'm Not a professional photographer but do have over 10 years of digital images and to transfer from Aperture to Lightroom I had to export my images and import them back in - a process that took 4 days on my Mac Pro. There really ought to be a better way...
Once my images were in Lightroom; the interface shock subsided over a few days and over the weeks i'm slowing drilling down into some of the keyboard shortcuts. Its clear that lightroom is massively superior for editing images. Having the Photoshop healing brush and radial gradients often allows for a quick adjustment to an image without opening it in another editor. The flickr publishing interface is far better (though when I tried to push a video up it never finished encoding at the Flickr end - manually uploading the same video worked fine.)
One of the key benefits for me over Aperture is the ability to merge catalogs from a laptop into your main catalog; this handy feature lets you easily move images around - and saves on the transfer issues I had moving over from aperture.
Lightroom 5 is a learning curve from Aperture; the library is quicker; the editing functions are better, the sharing functions are better, working away from the office is easier and it isn't onerously expensive; 5*'s