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Adobe Flips Switch on Lightroom 1.0
By Jennifer LeClaire
Posted: January 29, 2007 10:56am PST

Photoshop Lightroom 1.0, tested by some 500,000 photographers during the 12-month public beta, offers new features and functionalities that the beta version didn't include, among them what Adobe called "significant" changes to Lightroom's Library and Develop modules.

Adobe on Monday began allowing customers to preorder Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 photo-management software from its Web site. The company said it expects to ship the digital workflow application to the masses in mid-February.

More than 500,000 photographers participated in the 12-month public beta of the program that lets photographers import, manage, and present large volumes of digital images. The beta application will expire on February 28, as the final release of Lightroom 1.0 hits the streets.

"Everything, from image viewing and evaluation tools to timesaving editing features, was developed with the help of photographers," John Loiacono, senior vice president for the Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe, said in a statement. Loiacono added that the product development was "truly a collaborative effort."

Digital imaging gurus looking for a discount can get the application for $199 through April 30 at the Adobe Store. Lightroom will later sell for $299 and will run on both Mac OS X and Windows systems.

Let There Be Light(room)

Adobe said the final version of Lightroom 1.0 offers some new features and functionalities that the beta version didn't offer, including some "significant" changes to the application's Library and Develop modules.

New keywording tools in the Library module, for example, aim to help photographers filter through large collections of digital images. And the new "Key Metadata Browser" offers photographers access to information tags with an improved ranking and rating system that uses color labels and a "pick/reject" system for sorting and locating photographs.

New to the Develop module, the Virtual Copies and Snapshot tools present multiple versions of the same image so photographers can offer clients more choices without getting confused by separate physical versions of the file. Adobe also added Hue, Saturation, and Luminance tools for image edits. The Clone and Healing features are designed to reduce the appearance of dust particles.

Apple or Adobe?

Apple and Adobe are now officially competing in this segment of the graphics market, giving photographers more options for digital workflow applications. While Apple's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom programs are similar in appearance and function, IDC analyst Chris Chute believes Lightroom has the edge over the Mac-maker's software.

"Adobe has more experience serving these customers, so the workflow is a little easier. You don't need super hardware to make Lightroom run and it's streamlined a little bit more than Aperture," Chute said, noting that photographers have a stronger affinity to Adobe's suite of products.

"When you look at Adobe's total digital imaging suite, Lightroom is going to fit within that ecosystem and I have no doubt it's going to be taken up by the community," Chute said.

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