Adobe announces pricing, availability for Lightroom

Well it’s official: after an initial public beta test that seems to have gone pretty smoothly, Adobe’s first major RAW-oriented photography workflow app is set to hit the shelves on February 19. The Windows and Universal Mac versions of Lightroom are coming simultaneously with recommended system requirements being a Mac with Mac OS X 10.4.3, 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor or a Windows machine with Windows XP SP2, an Intel Pentium 4 processor, 768MB RAM and a 1024 x 768 resolution display. While Lightroom will run fine on Vista, users will need to wait for a free update for full disk burning support to work.

Lightroom will be sold for $299 (not coincidentally the same price as Aperture) and you can preorder it now. Those looking for a deal can get it at an introductory price of $199 until April 30, and a free trial will also be available for download as of the 19th. People who’ve already built libraries around the the beta will be relieved to know that it doesn’t expire until February 28 and existing libraries will be updated for use by the 1.0 app.

But enough exciting retail info, here are some of the things you can expect to see added or updated in Lightroom since the last public beta version:

Snapshots and multiple settings for same RAW file
Improvements to Develop, Slideshow, Printing and Web output
New Key Metadata Browser for quick tagging and rating
Beefed-up labeling and rating
Curves show more range information for selected areas
More connection between actual disk structure and what you see within the application
Clone and heal nondestructively
Full cross-compatibility with Photoshop Camera RAW 3.7, which will be a downloadable upgrade released at the same time. This will add support for Lightroom’s advanced edits as well as RAW support for the Nikon D40, Nikon D80, Canon EOS 400D Rebel XTi, EOS Kiss Digital X and the Pentax K10D.

It should be noted that while Camera RAW 3.7 will preserve Lightroom’s advanced edits (clone/heal, split toning, etc.), you will still need Lightroom to edit them beyond just keeping or tossing them out in CR. And contrary to what the name might suggest, it’s not bundled with Photoshop or the Creative Suite package—it’s sold only as a standalone program and isn’t meant to replace Bridge, which is to stay on as Adobe’s image browser and basic RAW batch processor.

For existing Aperture users, a lot of the above features probably sound familiar, but expect the coming Lightroom plug-in development kit (Photoshop plug-ins are not compatible with Lightroom) to put more than a bit of heat on Apple, which hasn’t released any plug-in SDK for Aperture beyond export modules. With Capture One 4.0 said to be coming in the Spring, it’s set to be an exciting year for digital photographers. You can expect a full Ars review of both Lightroom and Capture One Pro 4.0 when they hit the streets.

News source: ARSTECHNICA


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