Adobe Releases Lightroom 4 Beta!

Lightroom 4 BetaOn the 6th anniversary of the first Adobe Photoshop Lightroom beta, Adobe has released a beta of Lightroom 4! It is immediately available for download from Adobe Labs and is free to use for both new and existing users.


This latest version adds a number of significant features to the product:

Lightroom 4 Modules Bar

More details about these and other features later.

With the latest beta the minimum system requirements have been changed with support being dropped for some older operating systems. The new minimum requirements are:



If your system is up to specification why not start the download while we dive deeper into what is included in the beta?

My Five Favourite Features

Rather than provide an exhaustive overview of the beta I’ll be talking though some of my favourite features instead. At the end of the post I’ve include links to other Lightroom 4 beta resources that will help fill in the gaps for those interested in the features not covered here.

Enhanced Video Capabilities and Format Support

While Lightroom 3 already includes some support for video files this beta has significantly expanded those:

These additions make Lightroom a much more useful part of a photographer’s video workflow. It is now capable of importing, playing, trimming, processing and publishing videos so could become the main video digital asset management tool for many photographers.

Library module's video Loupe view, with Quick Develop panel active

Lightroom’s video editing capabilities are no match for a full Non Linear Editor (NLE) but even larger projects requiring more full featured video editing tools could benefit from Lightroom’s video management and publishing capabilities. Smaller video processing tasks (e.g. cleaning up and publishing a video from your smartphone) can be quickly completed in Lightroom’s Library module.

TIP: When attempting multiple edits to a video at once it can be useful to capture a “Poster Frame”, use the Develop module to adjust the captured frame to the desired look, create a preset from the edits then use the Library module’s Quick Develop to apply the preset to the whole video.

Map Module

The beta adds a new Map module for working with location information in a visual and engaging way:

Map module GPX track log loadingMap module Saved Locations with Private checkbox

Map module

The Lightroom Map module is fun to play with, but strangely enough it is the location information privacy features that are making GPS location capture a more regular part of my photography. I try not to attach location information to photos taken at the homes of my friends and family for privacy reasons but I frequently forget to turn tracklogs on or off and it made this a fairly frustrating experience. Now I can save these locations in Lightroom, and enable the privacy setting to hide their location information, and always capture location information safe in the knowledge this will never be published outside of my personal catalog.

Advances in Image Processing (Process Version 2012)

Lightroom 3 introduced some major improvements to the product’s image processing capabilities (officially known as “Process Version 2010”), and Lightroom 4 has taken this even further with the new Process Version 2012 and associated controls:

The new controls may require some time to get used to but the results that can be achieved make this well worth the effort!

Develop module's Basic panel (Process Version 2012) Develop module's Local Adjustments panel (Process Version 2012)

Book Module

Lightroom 4 adds the oft requested photo book creation feature via its new Book module:

Book module

Initially the Book module will provide deep integration with the Blurb book printing service only, but I suspect this will expand over time just as Lightroom 3’s tethering feature started with a restricted set of camera makes and models and slowly expanded from there.

Personally I’m looking forward to spending more time with PDF photo book creation, to produce electronic photo books to share online with family and friends or view on my tablet.

JDI (“Just Do It”) UI Refinements

In addition to all of the major features added by the beta, there are a number of small refinements that help make the product more usable and deserve calling out. Some that I personally appreciate:


Lightroom Beta Learning Resources

To help get you started with the Lightroom 4 beta Adobe has provided a number of resources:

Lightroom regulars have also been preparing learning resources so if you are looking for additional information I’d recommend checking out the following:

I’m sure lots more great content will be coming from these Lightroom legends over the coming weeks!


Hopefully this post has piqued your interest and you will try out the Lightroom 4 public beta. Have fun experimenting with the latest and greatest imaging tool from Adobe, and please let us know either in the comments or official forums about your personal experiences with the beta!

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm by Matt · Permalink
In: Review, Software · Tagged with: , ,