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on 4 April 2012
The new processing engine in v4 really is better, clarity works a lot better now without creating halos. I find the new engine will pull back even more detail and levels of adjustment than before, the sliders have changed and now make more sense. You can now apply all of the adjustments with localised brushes. It will import your v3 library and you can continue to edit your old v3 library images with the old engine or click to upgrade them to the new process. The tone curve is now R,G,B separate if you want it to be, so that you can add cross process type effects without having to use Photoshop. I would recommend searching for some reviews of the changes in the new version and then try the 30 day demo if you are still unsure.
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on 29 July 2012
Some reviewers mentioned poor performance, poor installation and CS6 only edit integration. Also mentioned was that the improvements were not worth the update price. I disagree with all of this. This review is based on the version 4.1 30-day trial available directly from Adobe. This installs in its own directory and makes its own copy of the catalogue. I chose not to opt for the automatic conversion of existing photos to Lightroom 4 standard, this seemed to be a heavy solution to re-write history (and 5000 photos).

First I must admit my PC is a Windows 7 64bit i5 with 8GB RAM, I upgraded to improve the performance of Lightroom 3. My PC coped well with Lightroom 4. There is no doubt this is a power hungry application that needs processor speed and lots of RAM. Those of you experiencing installation and performance problems, you need more welly. The minimum standards published for Lightroom are precisely that, absolute minimum.

The CS6 edit linking is a new maximum, Lightroom 3 could only link to CS5 max. Two ideas here: the new RAW image processor in Lightroom 4 is probably the same as the new RAW image processor of CS6 (Lightroom 3 has the CS5 RAW processing engine). The other point is that CS6 is only a maximum. I have CS2 (shows how long I have been a Lightroom user) and the edit link works well. The editing facilities and the workflow in Lightroom are so good that I only use CS2 for clone edits to remove telegraph wires and satellite dishes (i.e. rarely).

The major upgrade that is relevant to me are in the Basic Development facilities. Gone the Recovery & Fill Lights sliders and new Whites & Highlights sliders are added, with corresponding areas in the histogram. The same changes also occur in the Tone Curve tab. This looks good and will take some getting used to. The absolute major development for me is the Adjustment brush. Now every edit can be varied on a local basis including temperature/tint. No longer is it necessary to apply these to the whole photo. The other major improvement is the rendering of a basic RAW/DNG photo.

There are other changes but I have not tested them, mostly because I do not use them.

Based on my trial version, I will go for the full upgrade and Kelby's book.

Further feedback after some use, several moths later

Two items. First the new development slider suite is not difficult to use. As usual, I did not read about this before in Kelby, so it is fairly intuitive to an experienced user. Also the Adjustments brush is much improved.

Second this is a much more power hungry version. It is noticeably slower than the version 3 that I upgraded from but still works reliably on my PC. That said, not so slow as to make it unworkable.

Finally does not do pixel based editing very well. OK if you want to clone out something small but still needs a good pixel editor like Photoshop CSx for anything more substantial.

I am happy with this upgrade.
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on 29 December 2012
I'm a big fan of Lightroom and I'm generally very happy with the new product, particularly the vastly improved retouching tools that are now available. However I'm still not sure about some of the revisions, particularly that of the main exposure/tone adjustment section - the old one just felt more intuitive. A classic case of 'if it ain't broke......'.
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on 24 May 2017
No problems and have installed easily
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on 20 May 2012
Excellent product, easy to install, and with some very useful new features making the upgrade worthwhile - BUT check them out to see if YOU will find them useful.
Unfortunately, due to the revised technicalities, it will only fully integrate with the new Adobe Photoshop CS6. I am sure this is not just a marketing ploy by Adobe but it is the reason why I have dropped one star!
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on 21 April 2012
I have owned Lightroom since it first appeared and have regularly updated the program with each new version. Lightroom 4 is now my program of choice when optimising my digital images and I find myself using Photoshop CS5 less and less. As an enthusiastic amateur club photographer I consider that a combination of Lightroom 4 and Photoshop Elements 10 is all that is required to produce excellent results from my image files.
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on 29 May 2012
Without doubt, Lightroom (LR) is the best and most ubiquitous RAW editing and workflow software available for Mac and PC. Some may argue that Apple's own Aperture is better. I'm solely a Mac user and have used Aperture. It's good, Mac stuff always is. It's also cheaper than the full version of LR and is easily downloaded through the Mac App Store, but for me I keep coming back to LR which is part of Adobe's ecosystem of essential professional digital imaging software. More importantly, it works in perfect harmony with Adobe's industry standard Photoshop.

I've been using LR since version 1. I've upgraded each time and found the improvement in each one to justify the very reasonable upgrade cost. Yes, new headline changes for each version are designed primarily to tempt new users in or persuade users of other editors away, but for the existing LR users, the changes are just as valuable. The actions each of the tools performs on photos are constantly evolving, so using the same tool across 2 different versions can yield (sometimes significantly) different results. This gives you the ability to go back to images taken in the past and re-edit them to see the shot in a completely different light (literally - pardon the pun).

For those new to these sorts of RAW editors (this review is on the upgrade version, so that's not very likely i guess) LR's key ability whilst editing RAW files is that DOESN'T actually edit the RAW files. Non-destructive editing is the process by which changes to a photo are made as series of actions on the photo, visible within LR (and Photoshop), rather than editing the actual pixels of the image. This has 2 key advantages. Firstly, the RAW files being worked on create essentially a mini database of actions on a photo, each 'image' is much smaller in size, allowing huge catalogues to be relatively quickly accessed and manipulated compared to if the images themselves were being stored. Second, your RAW images can be stored anywhere (external hardrive, RAID drive etc) just as easily as if they were on the computer's own drive. This preserves the performance of your computer significantly and, as every photographer will tell you, you NEVER store your photos on your main computer's hard drive. For both of these reasons, LR runs quickly and is a joy to use.

So, if you are a LR user already looking to upgrade, this new version is a big upgrade (much bigger than 2 to 3) and is highly recommended. If you're new to LR, just buy it (the full version - don't just buy the upgrade which is the product i'm reviewing here).
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on 16 March 2012
Adobe is offering a major upgrade with a significant reduction in price. Some may argue that this is a realistic pricing given the premium prices paid for much of the rest of the portfolio but I think the realistic view is that there is really not much added to version 4 to really tempt someone to pay previous prices. Having said that, I have been using Lightroom since the beta and bought it immediately. As a prosumer RAW processing tool this has sped up my workflow by a factor of 5. There are some welcome additions to this version with the white balance brush along with highlight and shadow recovery.

While some of the other additions such as geographic location organisation and other library import may be compelling for others, it makes no difference to me since I have always used this tool. Likewise support for video which may be attractive to others but not for myself.

About the only new feature I think I would use is the Photobook creation tool but that i usually left to my photo printing firm of choice. So yes, I have upgraded for the tools that I would certainly use but had the price been high I would have waited until the next significant release. So is it worth it? Yes, but only at this price.
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on 4 August 2012
I've been using Lightroom for years now and have always upgraded soon after the upgrade becomes available. I was a bit wary this time because of the numerous reviews complaining about bugs and slowness. This seemed to be mainly a problem for people with multiple displays and/or multi-core processors. I'm just using a core 2 duo iMac from early 2010 (all standard off the shelf 4 GB RAM and 256MB VRAM), so decided to risk it.

I think it is noticeably slower than Lightroom 3.6 (but I also seem to remember Lightroom 3 being slower than Lightroom 2 at first) and it has sort of stuck once or twice, but I'm hoping subsequent updates will improve this. On a Mac (but apparently not on Windows, according to one forum entry I read), inserting your camera memory card no longer automatically opens Lightroom at the import window. You need to either already have Lightroom open or let it open and then go to 'import' to get the import window. That's irritating, but hardly the end of the world. Also, the first time you start Lightroom, it's worth going into each module in turn to get the introductory blurb out of the way so that it doesn't delay you when you use it properly. I also found that I had to reset my SmugMug exporter (another irritation) but everything seemed to still be intact once I had done that. I'm not sure, but I think exporting to SmugMug may also be a little slower and the export progress bar seems to be a bit 'sticky.'

Some people have reverted to Lightroom 3.6, but I've decided to stick with 4 simply because the image quality does seem to be a bit better with improvements in highlight and shadow controls and - I think - some further improvement in noise reduction and clarity as well as more controls being available for local adjustment. The LITTLE bit of extra slowness and occasional hiccup are annoying, but the improved processing outweighs these for me. If you shoot RAW and you're considering buying one of the many new cameras on the market, you will probably need version 4 if you want to use Lightroom. On the whole, I think it's pretty good, but it needs the speed and bugginess sorting out.

I also tried it with free trial downloads of Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop Elements 10. It works fine with CS6, but if you use Elements, be aware that it does not seem to 'round-trip' properly with Elements 10 for some reason. You can still use it, but just not as easily or seamlessly. It requires a bit of working around. I have read reports of others having the same problem, but am not interested in fiddling with programming to try to patch it up. This is something else Adobe needs to fix. I decided to stick with Photoshop CS4 since I hardly use it at all, preferring to try and get things right in camera and just tweak with Lightroom.
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on 10 August 2012
Great product does what it says on the box.

I also use Photoshop Elements, Lightroom inceases the speed of post processing and when you start to get into what it can do it will surprise you. Essentially it makes a Windows PC handle your photos like a Mac, you can U/L hundreds of images and scroll through them instantly making adjustments as you go. If you have done a shoot with 200 plus images and the people involved want to see them ASAP then this is the product. It also has a lot of useful editting guides. I would check out youtube beofre you buy to see what elese it can do.

Also for the money involved its a bargain :D
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