Adobe just released Lightroom 5 and it is a really nice upgrade that will make my image editing much more efficient. Here are 10 new features I really like:
1. Advanced Healing Brush. This tool is excellent and allows you to heal large areas and odd shaped. For example, if your subject has a hair out of place, then you can brush over the hair and replace it with a different area of the scene. Access this tool from the normal healing brush tool by painting over the region you want to fix.
2. Upright. This tool (found in the lens correction pane) automatically straightens horizons and correct keystone perspective. I’ve tried it on three images so far and it worked perfectly each time. I’ll keep testing it!
3. Radial Gradient. Allows you to emphasize parts of the image by applying fixes (tone, brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.) inside a radial gradient.
4. Smart Previews. This new feature allows you to work on images in the catalog even when your disk drive isn’t connected to the computer. This will be very beneficial for me when I’m traveling. I’ll be able to work on images on the airplane or in the field, then synchronize the results when I return to my office.
5. Full Screen. In previous versions of Lightroom I had to press an entire sequence of buttons to see an image in full screen and lights out mode (Shift-Tab, T, F, F, L, L). Now, in LR5, I just press “F” and it takes care of all the button sequences with one press. Love it.
6. PNG support. Previous versions of Lightroom only supported RAW, TIFF, and JPG images. Now, we have PNG support which makes me supremely happy. No longer do I need to convert PNG files to JPG in order to work on them in Lightroom.
7. Target Collections. LR5 allows you to designate a target collection so you can use a keyboard shortcut “B” rather than dragging images to the desired collection. This will save a bunch of time in my workflow. You’ll designate a collection as a Target Collection when you create it from the collections pane.
8. Soft Proofing. Soft proofing how includes the option to show the current image next to the proof preview image. Press the Y key, to see this action.
9. Crop Guide Aspect Ratios. This allows you to overlay different aspect ratio guide lines on the image, before you crop. That way you can quickly and easily see what the resulting image will look like with various crop ratios, all at the same time. Access this by Tools –> Crop Guide Overlay –> Choose Aspect Ratios…
10. Visualize Spots. This feature allows you to see your image as a super high contrast black and white in order to quickly identify dust spots. Tap the “A” key to access this, or click on the “Visualize Spots” box at the bottom of the picture when you have selected the Healing Brush tool. Now you can easily find and fix dust in an image.
There are a few other improvements to Lightroom 5 that I haven’t had time to test, such as including video in slide shows and the improved photo book creation utility, but I’ll report back on these in future blog posts or newsletter updates.
Here’s a link to buy a boxed version from B&H:
Adobe is allowing users to buy a boxed version or purchase as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. If you are an existing LR4 user, then you can upgrade for $79. New users can purchase the complete version for $149.
Here’s a great set of videos from Lightroom Evangelist Juleanne Kost:
Each year in February Nikon announces a new lineup of Coolpix point and shoot cameras. Here’s this year’s roster:
I think the most interesting of the group is the P300. It has a new f1.8 maximum aperture lens and a decent wide angle at 24mm. It shoots full HD video and has a 12MP sensor. The only downside I see with the camera is that it doesn’t offer a RAW (NEF) option. But, that’s probably ok since the majority of pics you take with a small point and shoot will be used on the web or in small picture books.