Well, rather than me answer this question, you can try it for
yourself - Lightroom Beta 3 for Windows is available for download
Labs.Adobe.Com/Lightroom This Adobe Labs page also includes some video
tutorials that should go a long way to explaining how the Library and
Develop modules operate. Also, if you haven't already done so, then
it might be useful to read my earlier reviews -
Lightroom Beta 1
3 for the Mac. These reviews go into a lot of detail on
Lightroom, so I don't
intend to repeat here. Ignore them and you'll only have yourself to blame if you can't
find a feature or don't understand some of the terminology used below ;-)
The Minimum Requirements for Lightroom for Windows are:
On my office Fujitsu LifeBook S7020 1.8GHz Pentium
M with 768MB of ram I find the application a bit slow, which is more than
likely due to the lower than recommended ram count. However, on my
2.66GHz P4 with 2GB of ram it runs reasonably fast. In terms of overall speed I find the Mac version
a lot faster, but the Windows version will no doubt improve in the coming
Tip: let Lightroom build all the previews before
attempting to use it, otherwise it will feel slow. For your initial tests
try keeping to only a few hundred images i.e. don't be tempted to import
your entire picture library.
Those of you who have been following the Lightroom forums and reading
the reviews for the Mac versions will already be familiar with most of
what Lightroom Beta 3 for Mac can and cannot do. Unfortunately, whilst
Adobe have worked very hard to make the Windows version feature
compatible with the Mac version there are some features that didn't quite
meet the standards required for public use; i.e. -
There is no Web module
There are no Identity Plates
There is no Lights Out functionality
There is no support for automatic detection of cameras
and memory cards
There is no Music for Slideshows
The Printing color management is not optimised yet. While
your images will print reasonably well, the color may be off
High ASCII and Double Byte support is not fully enabled
There are no Tool Tips
There are also a few other known issues that you may find
annoying, but rather than list them here you should find them detailed on the
"Readme" file provided with the download file
User Interface (UI)
Except for the omission of the Web module and keyboard
modifiers the UI appearance and functionality is virtually
identical to the Mac version. Speaking of which, keyboard modifiers
for each module can be found in the Help menu (use keyboard shortcut - Ctrl+Alt+?
for fast access)
Library Module - this module is
the central repository for images imported into Lightroom
Finding your way around
the application should be fairly simple. On the top right corner of the
Lightroom window you'll find the names of each module Module Picker), and
clicking on the module name will open the module window. Along the bottom
of the Lightroom window you'll find the Filmstrip panel, which can also
be resized. All of the Lightroom controls are located on one of the two
side panels or along the button bar just above the filmstrip panel.
Images can be imported into a centrally managed
Library or referenced in their current location. There is really no
performance benefit associated with either, so the decision as to which
is more appropriate for your workflow is best found by experimentation. However, I should warn
you that images that are referenced in their current location cannot be
renamed using Lightroom, which is a bit of a pain. On the plus side, Lightroom will
automatically update the library to reflect any externally applied changes
to file names, so I suggest that you use Adobe Bridge or a similar image
browser to rename files.
Import Photos - rename, define global metadata
and keywords when importing your images
Importing images into Lightroom is relatively
quick, even when converting them into DNG. Nevertheless, I've found that generating the
thumbnails takes a lot longer than the Mac version. You can of course
switch off Lightroom's ability to build previews in the background, but this
means that the previews (high resolution images used in Loupe, 1:1 and
1:4 views) will be built when you click on the individual thumbnails. Even then the previews can be slow to generate. I'm sure this issue
will be resolved long before Lightroom becomes a shipping product.
Preferences - switching off
background preview generation helps reduce background activity
There are three viewing options in the Library module:
Grid (G), Compare (C), and Loupe (Z). The following
screen-shot shows two similar images being compared in Compare view.
Using the Compare feature from the mouse or keyboard is straight forward
enough, requiring only that you select the images you wish to compare
followed by clicking the button or hitting the C key.
Alternatively, you can Shift+select the images to open them in Compare
Library Module - Compare View
On the right side of the Library module you'll find the Quick
Develop panel The Quick Develop panel is provided so that you can
quickly select alternative White Balance
and/or development Presets. Its also allows you to make fairly crude
adjustments to: Exposure, Brightness, Contrast and
Saturation. Below the Quick Develop panel you'll find panels for:
inserting information such as Keywords, Captions, etc, and displaying
An area of Lightroom that seems to have caused more than
its fair share of confusion is how to apply the settings from one image
to another or even multiple images. There are actually three ways that
this can be done: Copy Settings (Ctrl+Shift+C), Synchronise and
Previous (Ctrl+Alt+C). The above screenshot shows the Synchronise
Settings dialog but Copy Settings uses an identical dialog. Both these
options require you to use the Paste Settings command (Ctrl+Shift+V)
before the selected settings are applied applied. Copy from Previous
copies the settings from the last "viewed" image and pastes them to the
currently selected image, which can be a real headache at times, so be
careful how and when you use it. These features are replicated in the
Develop module, where you'll also find appropriately named buttons.
Speaking of Bridge - Bridge and Lightroom can "read"
(probably more correct to write "share") each others metadata, but you
need to ensure each is configured correctly. OK, so some metadata (e.g.
the coloured labels) is currently Bridge specific. To get this
functionality working - in Lightroom Preferences (File Management) you
should have "Automatically writes changes into XMP sidecar files"
activated. With this setting activated Lightroom will record all of your
metadata (rating, keywords etc) and it's own adjustments settings into an
XMP sidecar. However, at this time Lightroom adjustments cannot be read
Camera Raw and vice versa. Bridge also appears to have some difficulty in
reading Lightroom applied keywords, but ratings are readable. Also
remember deactivate "Ignore sidecar XMP files" in Camera Raw Preferences
(see Edit menu) if you're using DNG rather than proprietary raw files.
Metadata written into XMP sidecars by Bridge can also be read by
Lightroom - select the files in Lightroom, then from the Library module's
Photo>XMP sidecar menu choose "Import metadata from XMP sidecar file".
Since the Lightroom library does not auto refresh you'll need to use the
Import XMP any time you change metadata in Bridge.
Another aspect of the Lightroom library that has been
annoying Mac users is the lack of any ability to synchronise their
library across multiple computers. Sadly this issue will not be going
away any time soon, so some users have developed workarounds. A tutorial
such workaround can be found at
Creating a Unitary Library and Managing Off-line Images.
The Develop module has Adobe Camera Raw at its heart, but
the Lightroom team have extended it's functionality to the extent that
many will find it so powerful as to render Photoshop only of limited
importance in their workflow.
Develop Module - on the left we
have Presets and History and on the right image adjustments
As mentioned above Lightroom has a very comprehensive
range of images adjustment controls, which are augmented by user
definable Presets and the History feature. Some replicate the
functionality of Adobe Camera Raw, which includes holding down the Alt
key to see those areas where the highlight/shadow clipping will occur. In
particular features such as: Greyscale Mixer, Split Toning,
HSL Colour Tuning are now consider must-have
features for Camera Raw 4.
Basic Image Adjustments
Lightroom Tone Curve
Crop & Straighten,
Greyscale Mixer & Split Toning
Hue Saturation & Luminance Adjustments
Detail, Lens Correction &
History was a was important feature
3 for the Mac, but it doesn't seem to have captured the
attention of many users. If you hit the + symbol a date/time stamp
History Checkpoint (similar to Photoshop snapshot) is
created. These checkpoints can be used as "pseudo-Versions
or Renditions", meaning that a single RAW image can have
multiple "renditions" (i.e. one image with multiple sets of
settings denoted by the history date/time stamp (red asterisk
above). You can then hover the mouse backwards and forwards over
the checkpoints, whilst at the same time watching the effect in
the Navigator preview. Once you see the version you're looking
for simply click the relevant date/time stamp and the main
preview will reflect the settings that had been saved into the
Since first getting my hands on Lightroom I've had a
great deal of fun with the Split Toning feature, creating my own
presets for effects such as: Selenium, Sepia & Blue, Copper & Blue, and
Yellow & Blue, all of which were favourites when I processed my prints in
the "wet darkroom". I also find the cropping and straighten tools in
Lightroom much more friendly than Camera Raw.
Develop Module - History,
Cropping & Straighten Tool
The Lightroom adjustment panels have borrowed a number
keyboard modifiers from Adobe Camera Raw. For example, holding down the
Alt key whilst dragging the Exposure/Blacks slider will activate the
"Clipping Display". The Alt key can also be used when dragging the
Red/Green and Blue/Yellow colour fringe sliders in the Lens Corrections
panel. Last but not least, holding down the Alt key when dragging a Hue
slider in the Split Tones panel lets you preview the Highlight and Shadow
Hue at 100% saturation.
Lightroom does not have a Save file option but instead
uses the concept of Export. The Export function is used to:
name, define bit depth, file format, resolution and colour space profile
for your images much in the same way as save, but without ever touching
Important features that are not available on
either platform include: Perspective Cropping, Spotting or Healing tool,
Red-eye removal, and
Selective Editing tools such as Dodge and Burn - hopefully we'll get them
So far a the Slideshow module is concerned I think Beta 3
was a backward step in so far as some of the output options are now
missing. It also has some pretty obscure functionality that
has left many Mac users scratching their. Nevertheless, it is a useful
feature and one that shows a lot of promise for the future.
Slideshow Module - what, no
The Readme file tells us that exporting a Slideshow to
PDF can take a long time, especially if more than 50 images are selected.
It also recommend that you don't attempt to use the exported PDF file
until the Activity Window is empty. The progress bar on the task erroneously shows 100% complete, instead of progressing while the task is
working - this particular issue confused a lot of Mac users at first.
The Readme file describes some problems associated with
printer colour management, but users will probably find a few other
things that confuse them. The following screenshot shows the
built-in templates for Contact Sheets, but you can configure alternative
arrangements as need be.
Print Module - Contact Sheets
Letting Lightroom manage the colour handling and profiles
is by far the best approach, but it's also a tad complicated to set up at
first. However, once you have it set up the way you want it then simply
save out Presets. These presets are what make printing from Lightroom a
pleasure rather than a toil (Photoshop Team - are you paying attention?).
Selecting the Media Profile that
Lightroom will use.
Once it's fully up to spec I think Windows users will
LOVE the Lightroom Print module, but in the meantime, don't be expecting
perfectly colour matched prints unless you're using good quality ICC
profiles with your printer.
Well, that's it until Beta 4 ;-)
Remember Rule 5 -