» Blog » Photoshop » Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 – First Impressions

First let me say that I’ve been using Lightroom since the early days of version 1.0. Lightroom has been the cornerstone of my photography workflow process since then. I use a wide range of functionality of the application, from metadata tagging and editing, to tethered capturing, to dumping and backing up my RAWs from CF cards, to editing, and to printing.

The Lightroom 4 Public Beta was released earlier this week. With my return home from Anime LA being at the same time, I’ve decided to go straight into production with the LR4 beta with this catalog.

The very first thing I noticed instantly was the “Basic” controls in the develop module. These have been revamped from previous versions.

1) “Brightness” has been removed.
2) “Recovery” has been replaced by a combination of “Highlights” and “Whites”
3) “Fill Light” has been replaced by “Shadows”
4) All values now default to ZERO, and support negative and positive values.

I’ve found this makes working with highlight and shadow recovery quite a bit more easy to deal with.

The next major change is the inclusion of the “Maps” module. With this, it is now easy to geotag physical locations where images were taken. I’ve spent quite a bit of time doing this using Flickr, so being able to do this before publishing there is a huge bonus! This module uses Google Maps for its imaging, so it has a great deal of control for precise placement of images on the map.


Lightroom 4 is still beta though, and this needs to be taken into consideration. In Lightroom 3, I’ve highlighted some bugs and issues I’ve had with it in the past. Testing out these in Lightroom 4 shows they have not been addressed at all yet.

First, when Lightroom is multi-threaded. The export threads run at “Normal” priority. This by itself isn’t an issue, unless you’re trying to multi-task. Lightroom creates a thread per core on the CPU, and uses the maximum amount of processing resources per thread available. When doing this, other applications running at “normal” thread priority are competing for the same CPU resources as Lightroom. Because of this, attempting to take a break and browse the internet or use other applications while Lightroom is exporting becomes extremely slow. If the thread priority for the exporting threads were to be dropped to “below-normal”, this would be instantly fixed.

The other main issue that was introduced with Lightroom 3 and not corrected in the this beta is the “Constrain Crop” bug. This is a very simple one to reproduce.

1) Take an image in portrait orientation.
2) Set “Distortion” to a positive value
3) Enable “Constrain Crop”
4) Attempt to move the crop location around the image.

When doing this, the constrain crop has the X and Y coordinates reversed, so there is a large section of the image which cannot be selected with the crop tool anymore. This ONLY effects portrait orientation image. I’ve personally reported this bug several times ever since it was introduced in Lightroom 3, so I’m quite sad to see that as of the Lightroom 4 beta that is has not been addressed at all.

From the screen shot below, there is room to move the crop up and down, however Lightroom does not allow this to happen. As soon as the image is rotated 90 degrees, it works as expected again.

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