Lightroom 4 Is Here! (…And a Quick Q&A)

Hey everyone! Well, it’s official. Lightroom 4 is out. Not a beta this time, it’s the actual full version in all of its glory :) First off, over at NAPP Scott Kelby and I have created the official Lightroom 4 Launch Site. We’ve got videos that go over all the new features as well as some other places you can go for more Lightroom training. Of course, as time goes on, I’ll be covering more Lightroom 4 stuff here on the site so stay tuned over the coming months for that. Finally, I just finished 4 new online training class over at Kelby Training. Basically, I’ve redone my Lightroom In-Depth series. I don’t have the link just yet, as the courses will go live later today, but (again) stay tuned and I’ll post it as soon as I get it.

In the meantime, Scott and I will be doing a live webcast Q&A today over at 12 noon ET over at Stop by and join us if you’re around. But if you can’t, you’ll always be able to watch the rebroadcast on Kelby Training’s website the day after.

Finally, I figured I’d do a quick Q&A of some questions that I’ve seen from previous Lightroom releases so hopefully I can answer some of your questions before you even get to ask them. But of course, if you think of anything else, feel free to leave a comment and ask away.

Q. So is this the real deal? You mean Lightroom 4 isn’t in beta anymore?
A. Yup, this is the real deal. This is the official Lightroom 4 launch. Adobe did release Lightroom in beta back in January. Since then, they’ve put the finishing touches on it and it’s ready for prime time. You can buy it (and download it today) over at

Q. Are there any new features in the official version of LR4 vs. the Beta we saw back in January?A. Actually, no. Adobe usually adds some new features between the beta and full version. However, this time the beta period was shorter than usual so there’s not really anything new between the beta and full version you can get now. That said, I have noticed performance changes which means they have indeed been tweaking the code behind the scenes. Faster is better right? :)

Q. Will I be able to transfer the work I did in the beta the official version of Lightroom 4 when I upgrade?
A. Sure thing. When you download and install Lightroom 4, you’ll be asked to upgrade any old catalogs that you’ve installed.

Q. Will I be able to upgrade my existing Lightroom 3 catalogs to Lightroom 4?
A. Yes. You couldn’t do this with the beta version of Lightroom 4, but you’ll be able to upgrade your Lightroom 3 catalogs to Lightroom 4. After you start up Lightroom 4 for the first time, it’ll prompt you to upgrade. Now, as with all software upgrades, it’s not a bad idea to back everything up before you do any upgrades. Everything should be fine, but again, its’ always a good idea to cover yourself.

Q. Do I need to keep Lightroom 3 or the Lightroom 4 Beta on my computer after I install the full version?
A. Nope. It may not hurt to keep it on there for a week or so while you get used to the new version. But after that, neither the upgrade or full version of Lightroom 4 require the old versions to be around.

Q. How much will Lightroom 4 cost?
A. This is huge news actually. Adobe has dropped the price of Lightroom significantly. The full version (which used to cost $299) will now be $149. The upgrade version will only cost $79. Pretty cool huh?

Q. When will Lightroom 5 be released?
A. Really? 😉


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  1. Matt, Im not sure where to post this question. I like using presets in lightroom. However, Im not sure how erase some of the changes presets make. In other words, say I use a sepia tone and I would like to bring back an area of color. How do I accomplish this?

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  2. Has everyone forgotten that lightroom is ment to be a file handling system for which it received rave reviews when launched as lightroom 1 since then it seems to be evolving into editing software, with very little mentioned about its inability to meet its primary goal, file management. When I upgraded from Lr 1 to Lr 2 I couldn’t believe that lightroom could still not move files between harddrives without a lot of messing around or see partitions or other cataloges without shutting down (messy) The oportunity to expand and improve the keyword tagging system missed
    Just before I upgraded to lr 3 I had a personal Technical disaster that left my photo library spread over 3 harddrives in multiple folders, Lr 4 is on its way to me and if Adobe haven’t improved the ability of lightroom to manage its own file structure on multiple levels by now, then ?? There is plenty of editing software programmes out there and I feel there is plenty of scope for Adobe to improve the primary task of lightroom which is file managment.

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  3. Hi Matt,
    I love! I also really like Lightroom 4.1.

    I just purchased a Nikon D800. Yay! i upgraded from a D300.

    I’m wondering the best way to “downsize” the files at export to give my clients a reasonably large file but not lose the D800 quality?

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  4. After processing two events in LR4 I’m going back to LR 3.6.
    It took me almost twice as long to process my events in LR4 compared to LR3.6.
    LR4 develop module is like wading through mud.
    I’ll wait for a redo of LR4 or wait for LR5. -:)

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  5. I went ahead and jumped on LR4 as soon as I saw the announcement yesterday, delighted to find the upgrade to be only $80. My delight was short lived.

    After installing it and using it for, really, just a matter of minutes, it started to be clear that this wasn’t ready for prime time. I used to lament the ages and ages LR would sit in beta, but now I’m wishing they’d held off. The finished product really feels unpolished.

    The biggest offense probably being the newly useless Books and Web modules. Books is a great idea. We all need to do this, but most of us are not publishing books for the book store, we’re publishing books for our clients and we’re working with hundreds of different labs. Books could have been really useful (in fact, I was looking foreword to moving my album design out of Photoshop), but instead it has such a narrow application that it’s completely useless for most of us. No custom sizes and the only export options are Blurb and PDF? It almost seems like such a fantastic oversight, it’s gotta be some kind of inside joke or something. And the web module? Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a gallery like that one show up on some photographer’s site. But you know what you see all the time? Photographers creating interesting photo arrangements for blogs and such. So why the heck did we get a new module called ‘web’ that’s apparently still geared toward the web in 2004?

    Yet another gripe: It’s incredible how ungracefully presets carry from one to the other. In fact, they don’t really. If you use a LR3 preset in LR4, it switches all of your controls back to LR3, then gives you the chance to update to LR4. When you do, the effect changes (which is to be expected), but they provide no way to get a side by side of the new and old, effectively making it really daunting to retweek your presets to look right in LR4. And there’s no excuse for it. LR4 clearly has legacy support for LR3 controls, so why don’t we have access to those in a more official way so that we can update our presets.

    Oh and while we’re on the topic of presets, LR2 to LR3 only had minor effects on the output of the presets. LR3 to LR4 has huge effects. This is okay, but they didn’t provide us with any kind of tools to assist us in making that transition. How about just a simple dialog explaining what settings a given preset is affecting?

    And some settings from LR3 to LR4 don’t seem to carry over at all. Curves, mostly. Which is really bad news for all my black and white presets which rely heavily on the curves for their tone. But now, curves from presets don’t carry, and images that already have curves adjustments now lose them when updating to LR4.

    And finally, the basic adjustments, while more refined, are also less powerful. For example, the blacks adjustment in LR4 when moved completely to the left, doesn’t produce even a quarter of the effect of the blacks adjustment in LR3. Which is fine, I understand that you can make up for the same effects using a combination of other tools. But why should that be necessary? Why did they make the tool weaker? And why, WHY if the software clearly has legacy support for LR3 controls, do they not simply give us the option to access those controls?

    It’s just not ready for prime time.

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    • I leo feel that LR4 has a much more diluted (less punchy) way of rendering dark tones. if anything, it looks like its attempting a 16bit medium format look like you might get form a Hasselblad of the like. that in itself is not a problem, but the fact that no-one bothered to even do a short video or write-up to explain in a nutshell who and why the tonal controllers have changed boggles my mind.

      in the past, making a transition form LR 1 to 2 was a joy, from 2 to 3 was a happy seamless affair, but to 4 i feel left in the dark, well in the deep darkish mid tones 😉 i think some of it has to do with the bilt=in soft proofing and improved mock-HDR look, which LR4 does well, but to me the HDR fad is basically over, even here in South Africa.

      books and web are a bit of a disappointment – i expected more form those. Maps feels like its making LR slower on my brand new macbook pro i7 (with 8GB RAM)

      I emailed Tom Hogarty directly with a list of viable things to consider, but did not hear back form him. user friendly things like reading mac’s coloured folders. anyway they have their reasons, i’m sure.

      i have one burning question to Tom Hogarty and per Matt and Scott can help us out here and talk a little about it on D-town even?… Where is Adobe steering LR?
      my take on it is LR3 put a lot of power in people’s hands, so much so that Photoshop was not retailing as well anymore (i could very well be wrong here, just form what I’ve seen here tho) so LR is now “cheaper” at the cost of frustrating users enough to necessitate buying PS. i still run PS for stitching, plugins, layers and deep etching, but i’m no PS guru – it just takes to long and bridge is to clunky to work with batch files. LR3 had a good thing going and its a bit ruined by my first 20 days in LR4. ag good examples of this is the new control-less CA correction. is it THAT intelligent or that ignorant to each lenses performance variances within the zoom range? i want the manual control back, especially because I’ve also taken are to remove the CA from lenses at different focal lengths in a zoom lens and saved them as presets. I hope they listen to the consumers on this one like in the past.

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  6. Now I’m excited to use LR4 (I don’t like messing with the betas) – I’ve been saving all your LR 4 blog entries to read when I actually have it. :) Will you be changing any of your classes at PSW in DC to cover LR 4, or is it too soon?

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  7. Hey Matt,

    Good news! I have one question. Will the LR 4 upgrade be cross platform? I have my iMac and a Laptop with Windows 7 (I use the Laptop when traveling)? LR 3 was Cross Platform I have it on my iMac and Laptop.

    Thanks! I’m really looking forward to the show and LR 4!


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    • The license (serial number) you buy on the adobe website will be for either Mac or PC. It will work on both. And after contacting Adobe and chatting with a salesperson myself, they told me that every license for every adobe product can be installed on 2 different systems (computers). The only thing is, you can use it only once at a time. Meaning not having both computers running the software at the same time. This is great for people who wants to have a software installed on their system at work and on their laptop for home use.

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      • as far as I know, if you purchase any single-retail software from Adobe, you get the chance to install and use the software on 2 machines and can be launched/used both at the same time. If you want to verify this information please call 1800-642-3623 Adobe Tech Support.

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