updated 12:40 am EST, Tue March 6, 2012
Native video support, map and book abilities
Adobe has brought Lightroom 4 out of beta and made it available on the company's main website and store. The photo (and now video as well) workflow solution features a number of new abilities borrowed from Aperture, Apple's competing pro-photography management software. The new release features a new Book module for making photo books from templates, as well as a new Map module that provides for location tagging, along with new video capabilities.
Recognizing that more photographers are shooting video clips with their DSLR, point-and-shoot and smartphone cameras, Lightroom features a basic editor with video-specific presets and most standard image controls, as well as the ability to extract stills from HD video clips. Videos can be exported to H.264 as well as uploaded directly to Flickr or Facebook.
Lightroom 4 also offers refined shadow and highlight processing along with new auto adjustment controls and improved exposure and contrast options. Additional new white balance, moire and noise reduction controls are also now available. The Develop module offers new processing technology and soft proofing controls in order to more easily manipulate images for specific color spaces. In addition, users can now e-mail images from directly within the application. The Map module can group photos by embedded EXIF location information, and provides geo-tagging controls for adding location information to pictures taken without GPS information.
Adobe is also re-pricing the tool in reaction to Aperture's move to the Mac App Store, which lowered the price from $300 to $80. The new Lightroom 4 is now available for $150 for the full version, down from $300, and $80 for the upgrade (down from $100). Lightroom 4 can also be purchased for $99 when bought together with CS 5.5 or Photoshop CS 5.5. For a limited time, shipping charges in the US are waived (through March 31st). The direct download store's price has not yet been upgraded to reflect the price change.