Adobe Announces Lightroom 3 Beta!

Hey everyone! Big day today… I’m heading up to New York to PhotoPlus East early this morning but that’s not the big news. Adobe has once again released a public beta of the new version of Lightroom. Lightroom 3 Beta was announced and is now available as a free download for anyone (not just existing Lightroom users). I’ll give you the main points here but, honestly, Scott Kelby, RC Concepcion and I have each created various videos and articles over at NAPP’s Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center. So rather than just repeat everything (that I’ve been up all day and night for the last 3 days creating for the learning center), I’ll just point you there instead 🙂

The Main Stuff:
• The Beta is for everyone
• Big changes in the Import dialog
• Noise removal has changed quite a bit
• Slideshows can now be exported as videos (with music)
• Custom print templates in the Print module
• Houston, we have watermarking!

So here’s your marching orders:
1) Don’t complain about the beta. Remember, its not finished yet. Its a beta.
2) Head over to NAPP’s Lightroom 3 Beta Learning Center
3) Download the Lightroom 3 Beta from the Adobe Labs website
4) If you’re a Kelby Training subscriber I’ve created an entire online training course, The Lightroom 3 Beta Power Session, that dives a little deeper into the new LR3 Beta features.
5) Keep an eye out at Tom Hogarty’s (Lightroom Product Manager) blog
6) Don’t forget to stop by Scott’s blog as well
7) Stay tuned here at Lightroom Killer Tips. As I find and create new things you can bet I’ll be showing them here first.

Thanks for stopping by. If you see me wandering around (with red bleary-looking eyes) at PhotoPlus East in New York today or tomorrow be sure to stop by and say hi.



  1. Stacy 13 January, 2010 at 20:11 Reply

    It’s one thing for companies to not support truly obsolete technology, such as machines with inadequate processing power to run the latest software, the effect of Moore’s law (which is predictable). But Apple’s switch from PPC to Intel didn’t leave users with machines inadequate to run the software, it was a decision forced on users, so to speak, without any warning – you just bought something that we know we will make obsolete in three years even if it will still do the things software designed in three years will need. The cost to the ecosystem is that either users suck it up and buy a new machine, or developers suck it up and develop for Universal. I have a PPC G5 dual 2.6 which still smokes for all I need (photos, audio (Logic) and video (FCP). The last gens of G5 were very popular. Amazing they aren’t supported any more by Adobe. Booo.

  2. Joe K 3 November, 2009 at 15:32 Reply

    Video Card support – I have dual SLI enabled NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT video cards and would love lightroom to be able to use this extra processing power.

  3. David H 25 October, 2009 at 10:51 Reply

    I have played with it for about 3 days now. So far it has not decided that my single external drive is actually 2 external drives like LR2 has. I like the new slide with audio feature. I hate the new import feature—what was wrong with the old? Did it solve some problem? I keep hearing the new sharpening is superior than the LR2, but I can’t see a huge improvement. Of course, any improvement there would be big compared to LR2 (did it have sharpening that you could see somewhere other than 100% on screen. Somewhere like on a print?)

    I am just all a-twitter over the new much needed, and much demanded ability to upload to Flickr since that is normally very difficult to do. That way we won’t have to waste time with prints and won’t notice that there is still NO SOFT-PROOFING. Does make one wonder what use the print module is.

    Just joking. I know soft-proofing will be in the release or else people will just laugh and throw rocks at anyone who promotes it as a serious tool.

  4. JP 24 October, 2009 at 08:25 Reply

    Anyone else just not that impressed with the lack of compelling features to this service release? It is one thing to say, “It’s just a Beta”, but shouldn’t the Beta showcase the reasons to upgrade/provide a platform to test and debug new features?

  5. captain spin 23 October, 2009 at 18:34 Reply

    I sorted out MY problem with Import. As usual just gotta get used to new things. Can’t see a lots thats different for the things I do. But I am sure I will. Seems snappy enough in Snow Leopard. I agree soft proofing would be good. I know Matt says we need PS as well but I don’t need it all that much anymore and when I occasionally need a print its a bit of a pain to open it up etc. Must be getting lazy. It is almost an unwanted expense in my workflow to keep upgrading PS… so I don’t. Get used to it Adobe. LR is a great product and some workflows don’t need PS anymore, so why not bite the bullet and plug in the soft proofing.

  6. Rachel O 23 October, 2009 at 14:30 Reply

    I’m super excited about this…but it won’t download properly onto my PC. Well, it downloads, but then it won’t open, saying something like “application error.” Help, please!!

  7. Darrell 23 October, 2009 at 12:45 Reply

    I don’t like the new import module. LR2 makes it easy to make a template of my keywords and other data. LR3 does not retain keywords.

    Draft mode in LR3 takes too long to print contact sheets.

  8. Don Burritt 23 October, 2009 at 10:42 Reply

    Meta-data should show in the develop module. Flipping back and forth between library and develop is a pain. Just put it at the bottom, like it is in the library module.

    Import is obviously still a beta. Imported from a card with 2 files. One was a .jpg, and one was a .avi. The program hung on that import.

    Well, it is still a beta. Looking forward to watching improvements.

  9. Jay Reiter 23 October, 2009 at 10:03 Reply

    Matt – What you didn’t mention is that for any G5 users, forget the beta – it will not work with powerPC chips, intel only.
    Can’t say that makes me thrilled – buy a new computer so I can use LR3???

  10. Lyle 23 October, 2009 at 08:46 Reply

    I used it for 2 hrs last night. Nothing crashed, so it’s a successful beta in my book… 🙂

    The odd thing I ran across is saving watermarks was just a bit confusing – it you choose to edit one that you’ve saved with a name already, when you’re done – you’d expect it to allow you to save w/same name without going back to the same pick list and realize that the bottom one gives you the option to save what you’re editing. The default is you need to supply a name for a new preset.

    Noticeably better demosaicing and detail – I compared facial details in highlights from d700 raw in both, looks better. Also the sharpening mask seems much better defined, which should provide better edge sharpness with smooth tones on faces etc.

    Slower in some areas but early in release that’s to be expected, they’ll get it sped up – it always goes that way in sw development I’ve worked in…

  11. Josh 23 October, 2009 at 08:42 Reply


    Great post and thank you for all of the great info. I’m excited for Lr 3! Only thing I’m not so excited about is the annoying epson banner ad on this site. It expands without a time delay, I click on close and it pops a window. This is horrible advertising. I actually liked the exploding watermellon that I had seen in a magazine, but this type of annoyance and interruption to content that I am reading is not building any sort of love for the epson brand.


  12. bob ewing 23 October, 2009 at 07:49 Reply

    ONce, Lr 3 is released and the beta version expires, with current Lr users get a discount on the upgrade? I think if we already have 1 or 2 then 3 should be offered at an upgrade price.

  13. jj 23 October, 2009 at 05:52 Reply

    BIG, BIG disappointment – watermarking is a nice but definitely not the most important feature.

    Most people cried for (i) softproofing, (ii) lens correction/distorsion/perspective correction tools which complicate the workflow in LR 2 with disturbing and time consuming forced detours into PS and (iii) correction of existing but malfunctioning features such as post-crop vigneting tool, white ballance selection (option for are sampling missing), …

    not a single improvement in these areas = skipping this upgrade I’m affraid

    excuse my French

  14. DJ 23 October, 2009 at 03:30 Reply

    @Mark and Myself,

    Just found out import renaming is still available, just not when ‘Add to Catalog’ is selected (use Copy or Move instead)..

  15. Tereasa 23 October, 2009 at 00:37 Reply

    Is it planned for Lightroom 3 to take advantage of video card processing power in the same way that Photoshop CS4 does? Because I’d love to see that worked in.

  16. Milton Lowe 22 October, 2009 at 22:19 Reply

    I was hoping that lens correction and transform would be in the next one, to save crossing to PS, or using PT lens plug in.
    Being the ultimate tool for photographers, you would think that this aspect of editing which is vital to photogs, would be in there!!!

  17. James Fitzell 22 October, 2009 at 19:18 Reply

    No video import? I don’t expect full developing, but it’s a real pain not being able to organise my digicam videos in the library (the videos are stored on my hard disk along with my digicam and DSLR photos).

    I realise Lightroom is not designed for video, and I don’t want it to be, but it would just be great if the library extended a little bit more to the videos… personally I’d be happy with it just showing the embedded thumbnails and launching them in a separate media player but I guess plenty of other people would want more and then it gets complicated.

  18. Michael Johnson 22 October, 2009 at 17:09 Reply

    I really like the new print module capability. This could free up a lot of time a eliminate the need for other programs. However, I have found when exporting to jpg’s Lightroom does not create jpg’s the same way in the print module as it does in the export. The colors are slightly different. Some images are better than others and it seems that reds and oranges are affected the most.

  19. Chuck Behrman 22 October, 2009 at 16:57 Reply

    I’ve only used Lr3 for a few minutes so far – what I have seen is great!

    A few things –
    1 – We NEED soft proofing in Lr!
    2 – In the print module – custom package – I’d like to have the ability to rotate an image – at least to turn it 90 deg CW or CCW — Lr can change the image frame but the image inside is not affected.
    3 – I use many catalogs (for each client / project) – I’d like to be able to automatically transfer identity plates and the catalog preset of writing data to xmp files into newly generated catalogs.

    So much for now — good job.

  20. aspectimages 22 October, 2009 at 11:37 Reply

    One thing that would be cool to have would be when importing using LR that it keeps track of the last file number you used correctly. For some reason it never seems to stay insequence the next time you load up images and I always have to go searching for my last file number

  21. JayM 22 October, 2009 at 11:00 Reply

    Am I missing something re: new noise reduction? It’s been noted the new engine is significantly improved yet we can’t evaluate luminance in the beta? Lightroom did a good job of color reduction before, which is relatively easy. It’s the luminance noise reduction that was weak. So why am I seeing statements like “professional grade” noise reduction when this critical aspect isn’t even offered for review?

  22. Raymond 22 October, 2009 at 10:27 Reply

    This is awesome news. Just downloaded it. Only problem so far is that I cannot “Import from Catalog” created by LR 2.5 and it seems that you cannot have both versions open at the same time (for drag and drop). Will have to import without moving files and manage catalogs separately (while maintaining them synced with my laptop’s :-P)

    (error message: “Can not import this catalog at this time. The catalog from which you are trying to import must be upgraded and inline upgrades are not supported yet”)

    Still looking forward to play with it… Specially the Noise reduction feature!…


  23. John Farinelli 22 October, 2009 at 10:25 Reply

    Yes, I want to play and I see some valuable new features, but my initial reaction is one of being “underwhelmed”, especially given the fact that these features will cost $$. Will these changes really change the workflow ? Will they make efficiency that much better ? Will they make the final pictures that come out on paper really any better ?

    I really appreciate to hear how others see the value of the new features in this release.


  24. Rich 22 October, 2009 at 10:19 Reply

    Caught the movie you did on noise reduction on the Kelby site and wanted to ask about one point. The Luminance slider IS grayed out when editing a RAW file, but after I tried editing out in noise ninja and bringing back into Lightroom, the Luminance slider was active and worked as expected. Is it file type that drives this ?

  25. Kelbi 22 October, 2009 at 09:57 Reply

    Does this beta not work on my computer?? I have the original G5 quad with OS 10.4.11. Am I not able to try out the beta with this machine??

  26. Sergio 22 October, 2009 at 09:14 Reply

    I feel like screaming BLOODY MURDER!!!!!!! The High Tech Mafia is hitting again. Lightroom 3 is NOT compatible with Power PC’s. What am I supposed to do with my phenomenal Power Mac G5? It’s bad enough that Apple did not allow me to install Snow Leopard. Now Adobe is joining the Mafia. SHAME ON YOU, ADOBE! Pleaaaaaaaaase, make the final version of Lightroom 3 compatible with G5’s.
    I am asking everyone who is in my same shoes to write to Adobe ( and massively complain. If they do not listen to us, we always have the option to NOT BUY Lightroom 3. And guess what: Pixelamator is emerging as good, cheaper alternative to Photoshop!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Jeff 22 October, 2009 at 08:47 Reply

    I’d trade every fancy new feature for 2 things:

    1. [*] Delete from camera after import (option). I’ve imported them! I back up my PC properly! I’m good! Let me DELETE images from my camera as part of import!

    2. A saved/selectable history for the “File naming –> Custom text” entry box in the export dialog

  28. Ralf 22 October, 2009 at 06:12 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I’m a enthusiast german listener of your Podcasts and therefore at first let me excuse my not well english and second thanks a lot for your great work!!!
    Since the first version of Lightroom (for me 1.4) I miss in the crop-tool the possibility, to expand a rotated, cropped picture out of the picture-area.
    For better understanding see my picures on Flickr:
    The Problem:
    The Solution:
    You can say: Rotate in Photoshop and expand there, but I often have more the one picture, where I use the copy settings function to easy transfer the rotate and crop settings and as you can see in the example: I need to expand the area to get complete pictures.

    My suggestion is to define an expand-color in the global or catalog settings and a Flag to switch this funktion on or off for the crop tool. This color can be used for expanding the picture in the preview and while exporting. To avoid undesirable use of this function, the expanding will only work, if you use the crop tool while pressing the control button.

    This is my third time to ask for this functionality. The first time, I used the adobe lab, but as you can see, I didn’t found an open ear. Perhaps you, as THE lightroom expert,an the other one’s here understand amy problem and support a solution.

    Thanks a lot
    Ralf from Germany

  29. Peter 22 October, 2009 at 05:28 Reply

    Well, looks like Lightroom 3 marks the end for Tiger and PPC users? Too bad, since there are still a lot of people out there using G5’s for their every day workflow.
    Any insight on the final release supporting PPC?

  30. Brian Gooch 22 October, 2009 at 04:32 Reply

    An answer and a question!
    In answer to Jolafritt’s question, according to the release notes it installs parallel to any existing installation of LR2 (or LR1) and both can be used -indeed, since it is a beta it isn’t recommended that you replace LR2 for ‘everything’ just yet!

    A question on the flickr synchronisation – on the video you just had it uploading to the main photostream – can you allocate photos into existing sets (or even create new ones) from within LR3B?

  31. PeterVH 22 October, 2009 at 04:32 Reply

    All happy comments so far, and most additions look promising!
    It’s a pitty that the there is still no perspective and lens correction. After the localised editing in LR2 the number of times to visit PhotShop have drastically decreased (tx God …) But i often find myself still in the lens correction and free transform function in PS after some citytrip.
    Of course … Adobe still wants to sell us both packages probably, pretty smart 🙂

  32. Ian Sheh 22 October, 2009 at 04:01 Reply

    so far so good. must say that it’s running faster than LR2.5 and the sharpening is much much better. the new import dialog box is definitely welcome and the integration with flickr is cool. and finally the ability to properly watermark your images! some how my files seem to look a tad batter in the LR3beta than in LR2.5. i’ve been flipping back and forth between the two trying to figure it out but i can’t put my finger on it. i’m excited to see what the full LR3 is going to be like. still waiting on the direct tethering…

  33. Jolafritt 22 October, 2009 at 03:48 Reply

    That’s BIG news !
    Just one question : can I install this beta on my pc together with my existing LR2, or will it mess up my system ? Will this beta use different folders/installation paths, what about my catalogs ?
    Thanks !

  34. Troy 22 October, 2009 at 02:42 Reply

    when uploading to flickr does it make a jpg copy of it anywhere or a magical export right onto flickr from lightroom3?

  35. Don Burritt 22 October, 2009 at 02:05 Reply

    I hope that lightroom 3 will import videos from the camera, so they can be used in the Lightroom slideshows.

    I don’t expect lightroom to be able to edit the videos, just show them.

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