Lightroom 2.0 Beta Goodness

It’s funny; I didn’t even realize how badly I wanted this until I saw the list of new features. I’m playing with the beta now; it’s pretty awesome (though pretty buggy).

Looking it over, it’s interesting what new features Adobe chose to include and not include, and how they chose to integrate them. Mostly because Adobe faces a version of the innovator’s dilemma. If they build too much into Lightroom, they risk undermining their (more expensive) Photoshop CS3. If they don’t, they risk losing business to the competition (mostly in the form of Apple’s Aperture).

In that vein, I’m glad to see the inclusion of “local editing”, the ability to adjust (for example) the contrast in one area of an image but not the whole image. This is a big deal, because this was perhaps the one task that required dropping into Photoshop for when using Lightroom 1.x.  It decreases the need for Photoshop, but as a Lightroom user I’m glad to have it.

On the other hand, it seems that the panoramic stitching and HDR functions still rely on Photoshop to use them, rather than integrating these into Lightroom directly. A weird choice, IMHO. But on the bright side, the seem to have greatly enhanced Photoshop CS3 integration, which is a plus – and I guess that’s one solution to the innovator’s dilemma mentioned above.

What I’m curious about (and haven’t found a mention of yet) is the plug in architecture. Lightroom 1.x only seems to have ever gotten export plug-ins. I can’t tell if Lightroom 2.0 has an architecture for editing plug ins as well.

Also completely absent at this stage is any mention of Photoshop Express integration (as I mentioned when looking at it, I think integration between the two products could be killer.

But anyway, it seems like good stuff, and I can’t wait for the final release this summer. The only downside is that I’m now totally lusting for a 64-bit system to take full advantage of the performance offered…

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