|Seriously – first photo with LR4 beta. Canon S100.|
I've been using Lightroom since the third beta – the first feature-complete one – of the grand-daddy program. The beta for Lightroom Four looks great, but I've developed a few decent tricks in soon-to-be-old versons. My favourite was to work with the exposure and brightness controls in opposition to each other: exposure is global, and can cause highlight clipping, but brightness will try very hard not to clip, and only influences the brighter parts of the image. The contrast control works to change the range that the brightness influences. Between those adjustments an amazing range of control could be had, and it was quick and easy to create the results that I wanted.
Lightroom 4: no more brightness control.
And I'm already thinking of LR3 in the past tense.
I'm not overly happy with Adobe. Photoshop CS6 is reported to be the last chance to upgrade at a reduced price, as they're getting rid of their policy that lets people skip generations without penalty. There's nothing in the new versions that I need, but I do miss having support for the raw files from my Panasonic GH1 and Canon S100 in CS3. It's generally a nuisance to remember what I can edit as raw files and what needs to be opened as a tiff, and I miss being able to easily merge multiple photos from those cameras into layers or panoramas. But the new versioning policy stings: I'm starting to feel like I'm not on the good end of this bargain.
Nobody says that I have to upgrade. I can stay with what I'm doing, keep the results I already have, and not need to do anything differently. But what fun is that?
So it's inevitable that I'm going to need to learn new tricks sooner or later. Lightroom Four is almost certainly in my future. But this also seems like a good time to re-evaluate what I want my software to do, and consider the options that weren't out there when I first signed up with Adobe. I'm hearing interesting things about Aperture, and DxO Optics has a reputation as the best choice for photographers who want to squeeze the best from their cameras and lenses. That sounds fascinating – and they all offer free trials.
I may need a new computer soon.