Photography and Art

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Version of Lightroom and Aperture

Competition is a wonderful thing. Apple just announced version 2.1 of Aperture with a new plug-in feature and back comes Adobe with the announcement of the Lightroom 2.0 beta program.

Ian Lyons has already created a very good tutorial to the new Lightroom 2.0 beta here. Here are my early thoughts on the beta:
  • Lightroom 2.0 will support 64 bit operating systems. This is great news - we no longer have to be memory constrained. Now I can look forward to the joy of upgrading to Vista 64 bit, buying more memory and wrestling with all my drivers again.
  • The new beta is very buggy and not recommended for production use. There is no compatibility yet with 1.3.1 catalogs.
  • There are lots of general UI tweaks that will be nice for long-time users. The improvements to collections and filters are very nice.
  • I'm very happy about the improvement in interoperability between Lightroom and Photoshop. You can now open a Lightroom image as an object in Photoshop without having to convert it to a TIFF file.
  • The exciting part of the Aperture announcement was the availability of a plug-in architecture along with commitments from folks like Noise Ninja to make their products available inside Aperture. Apple announced the first Aperture plug-in, a dodge and burn module.
  • Sadly, Adobe missed the point of the Aperture announcement. They did announce the inclusion of a very powerful dodge and burn module within Lightroom 2.0, but there was no announcement of a plug-in architecture, so sadly there won't be any plug-ins for Lightroom 2.0 in the near future.

I think there will be enough in this release to justify the inevitable upgrade cost, but the lack of a plug-in architecture will really have a lot of people, especially Mac users, scratching their heads and wondering if Lightroom was the right horse to back. I know if Aperture was available on Vista, I'd be downloading the trial version as we speak.

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