Lightroom 2.1 Release Candidate is Up

Adobe posted a Lightroom 2.1 release candidate on the Adobe Labs website on Friday. If you’re wondering what a release candidate is, think of it as “we’re ready to go, but we’re just making sure”. That’s why it’s on the Adobe Labs website because it is technically beta software but it’s supposed to be very stable.

Now, the one question on everyone’s mind is probably going to be performance. Is it better? If you look at the release notes on the website, performance (especially around the Adjustment Brush) is mentioned as something that has been worked on but it’s also mentioned as something that continues to need work. I’d be interested in hearing your input if you’ve installed this update yet so make sure to leave a comment and let us know. I’ve got my head down in a few projects today but as soon as I get some extra time I’m going to install it and I’ll report on my adventures when I do since I’ve got some performance issue with the Adjustment Brush as well.

Here’s the link to download the 2.1 update. Oh yeah, don’t forget to scroll down for a “Worth-a-click” post.



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  2. Biily Bass 19 January, 2009 at 08:58 Reply


    I purchased (and really enjoyed) the Kelly Training Lightroom 2 in Depth DVD. You demonstrate a smooth skin technique in the adjustment brush. I was excited to use it, but I cannot find it in my lightroom… I have the latest update but the “smooth skin” does not show up in my drop down list. How can I get it?

  3. Dawgdrum 11 November, 2008 at 12:09 Reply

    I have a dual 2 G5 tower with 4.5 gigs of ram and the adjustment brushes work great in the new camera raw but still sluggish in Lightroom 2.1. I won’t use Lightroom and I feel ripped off by Adobe. Too bad I spent the money.

  4. JOhan 23 October, 2008 at 14:33 Reply

    After testning the 2.0 and 2.1 the program still sucks in the adjustment brush. It works on 2 low en machine but on my big box its working …. 100% processortime

  5. Jaybee 15 October, 2008 at 17:52 Reply

    I’d just be happy if my XP SP3 and 4 gigs of RAM would work as fast as 1.4

    The sliders in both 2.0 and 2.1RC are so laggy they are unusable. GeForce 6600 512Mb card with latest drivers too.

    How come LR 1.4 and CS2 work fine yet LR 2.1 feels like a big backward step? My specs are way above the minimum and loads of people with the latest machines are having problems too.

    Would be nice if Adobe acknowledged this but not holding my breath. Adobe does what Adobe wants to do never mind the users.

    Seriously considering Aperture now as LR2.1 has no place in a working pro’s workflow at its current snail’s pace.

  6. Jeff 10 October, 2008 at 12:12 Reply

    Have I missed some updates concerning the issues with the adjustment brush or is there nothing new to discuss? I like many others find the adjustment brush more frustrating then it is worth and I chose not to use it. I thought Adobe was still working to improve its performance. Is there any new information or are we for ever to accept what we have?

  7. Erik 3 October, 2008 at 11:21 Reply

    Honestly, LR 2.0 has been a major disappointment. The new features are great in theory, but its BUGGY and even the 2.1RC, whole helping some, is still buggy. I feel bad that I paid good money to be a BETA tester…

  8. Don 2 October, 2008 at 09:31 Reply

    I have down loaded the 2.1 version. It helped a little but there is still a delay while I use the brush. But anything new that comes out I believe we can expect a few problems. nothing is perfect. I am sure that adobe will fix this.

  9. Bob Kupri 1 October, 2008 at 11:13 Reply

    I have not down loaded the LR 2.1 candidate out of fear of causing some sort of new problem. Trust in Adobe is edgy on my part at the moment.

    The thing that really is fouling my work flow up is the fact I can move a file from LR2 to CS3 but cannot save it in CS3 and have it automatically returned to LR 2 for printing etc.. Does LR 2.1 candidate cure the bug that prevents me from doing a full round trip.

    Any help from anyone on this round trip problem will be greatly appreciated.


  10. Bob Kupri 1 October, 2008 at 11:11 Reply

    I have not down loaded the LR 2.1 candidate out of fear of causing some sort of new problem. Trust in Adobe is edgy on my part at the moment.

    The thing that really is fouling my work flow up is the fact I can move a file from LR2 to CS3 but cannot save it in CS3 and have it automatically returned to LR 2 for printing etc.. Does LR 2.1 candidate cure the bug that prevents me from doing a full round trip.

    Any help from anyone on this round trip problem will be greatly appreciated.

    Bob Kuprion

  11. Dave 1 October, 2008 at 01:08 Reply

    I have an iMac 2.4 w/4GB and after installing 2.1 I still have very slow adjustment brushes and the sliders are still intolerably sticky and unresponsive. The only thing faster is my Library scrolling. I still get ‘loading’ messages switching between raw files.

    I want to love LR2.1 but I’m close to giving up on it. Even tried 32bit vs 64 and same things are happening.

  12. Brian 30 September, 2008 at 12:42 Reply

    WinXP SP3 LR 2.1 installed. No overall improvements but many problems with brush and sliders resulting in several crashes. Now reverted to LR 2.0
    Adobe please fix bugs ASAP.

  13. Gary 28 September, 2008 at 17:55 Reply

    The 2.1 update did improve the brush tool to usable but its still not great. I also lost the little circle that I use to get when the brush tool first touched the picture and I can’t find anyway t make it show up.

  14. Barry Weaver 28 September, 2008 at 08:55 Reply

    I think Nick from the UK has summed it up just right. Looking at tutorials on the internet Lightroom does look to be an impressive programme but try and copy those tutorials, especially the brush ones and you’ll soon find out that the programme is over-rated and over priced.

  15. John Bartos 27 September, 2008 at 05:35 Reply

    My biggest frustration has been performance with the adjustment brush and it looks as if this still needs some work as they have indicated. Haven’t been able to tell if it has fixed the number of unexpected quits and program freezes I experience, but so far so good…

  16. Dawgdrum 26 September, 2008 at 20:51 Reply

    I have a G5 Dual 2 Mac with 4.5 gigs of ram. Lightroom 2 and 2.1 are both terribly slow when using adjustment brushes and the gradient filter. So slow that I don’t want to use them. I’m glad these features will be in the new Camera Raw 5 and let’s hope they work better because Lightroom is close to worthless to me at this point. I feel ripped off.

  17. Steve L Wells 25 September, 2008 at 13:30 Reply

    For me, the update fixed the edit in CS2 issues and their is no ghosting. Import and export of photos to my web site and to disk is faster. The adjustment brush is still too slow. I’m primarily using it for gradient filter. When you read the update notes, there is a link to a script that fixes the keyword preferences problem when you update a 1.2 database to 2.0. I used the script to update my 2.0 database before I installed the update. Now all my keywords are back and the preferences are what they were before I upgraded to 2.0.

    Matt, I really enjoy this blog and have an RSS feed to it. Keep up the good work! Steve

  18. Stef Segers 25 September, 2008 at 04:53 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    I saw your video and saw the part about the XMP that can be automaticly changed when you change a picture.
    In Aperture you can do almost the same.. you can save a CR2 with XMP. But as you know there is a big problem when you want to import a picture from Aperture to Lightroom.

    I hope you have a good tip … I have a mega database of 25000 pics in Aperture, but since I switched to Lightroom I really want all my pictures in Lightroom (including all my RAW changes)

    I hope you or anybody else hav a good tip how to import Aperture pictures into Lightroom


    Stef Segers from The Netherlands

  19. Jaybee 24 September, 2008 at 19:08 Reply

    XP SP2, 4Gb RAM, GeForce 6800, Dual core AMD 64 4200 overclocked processors, dedicated 74Gb Raptor scratch disc.

    1.4 – dream
    2.0 – slow sluggish sliders and unusable adjustment brushes
    2.1 – same

    Adobe, did anyone with a “normal” machine test this buggy piece of software? No way am I upgrading to CS4 – once bitten…..

    Really really hopeless and 1.x series after 1.1 was excellent.

  20. JonB 24 September, 2008 at 14:43 Reply

    “On a MacPro with LR set to 64bit and 10GB of memory the difference in performance is incredible. Before, it was sluggish, not much faster than my MacMini with 2GB RAM, but now it’s really fast, even brushes”

    10Gb of ram… you shouldnt have trouble running the space shuttle.. please.. we arent talking 8,000 dollar octo quads and 10GB of ram here bud.. that should run anything that is out.. if it doesnt, then you best call Steve… I think most of us are running dual or quad machines with anywhere from 2gb to 4gb of ram… standard workstations that should run standard off the shelf software.

  21. DaveN 24 September, 2008 at 14:28 Reply

    Install the WinXP ver 2.1 Update, on Sat. the 20th.
    Have worked on 20 photos so far and everything seems to be great.
    Although adjustment brush is still slow and erratic.
    The slide show module worked great.

    2.2 Ghz AMD 64 xp , nVidia 6600 GT
    4g mem. with only 3g showing in XP

  22. John T. 24 September, 2008 at 11:56 Reply

    Windows XP Pro. It fixed a problem I was having with LR locking up when changing WB. It had, also, began to lockup when making other basic adjustments, but that’s fixed now.

  23. Mark Roberg 24 September, 2008 at 10:17 Reply

    I too am experienceing terrible slowness with LR2. The sliders are sticky, the adjustment brush is so so, and the ND gradient tool is so slow and choppy that it is worthless.
    The nVidia fix helped me a little (the brush was totally unusable before) but the 2.1 release didn’t help anything that I can tell (for me).
    What’s even worse, is that sometimes, when I’m importing from my compact flash card, the volume browser in the Library will show a second D: drive, and will put the photos in a new folder on the second drive. Even though the files are in the correct folder structure when viewing in Windows Explorer, LR will show them existing on a second drive. And I can’t move them to the real D: drive either, b/c (get this) LR tells me that folder already exists. I cannot get over how poor the final release of LR2 is compared to the Beta. the beta was great. I’d take that any day over what we have now.
    Thanks for listening Matt. This is a great blog.

  24. Bob 23 September, 2008 at 23:56 Reply

    Lightroom still has a bug … pictures look different from develop to web module. ie: purple skies in develop – blue skys in web module.

  25. Klaus Alexander 23 September, 2008 at 14:47 Reply

    First of all: Well done beta-update. Good work.
    LR 2.1RC1 fixed all the problems I had, only one I found again.
    When I copy IPTC-Metadata from a photo (the place, land …) by marking only the land etc. and paste it to the new photo all data not only the marked ones (also keywords) are copied.

  26. Nic 23 September, 2008 at 11:18 Reply

    You’d think Adobe would have learnt from the problems of releasing 1.4 too early that needed to be fixed by 1.4.1
    Instead they give us 2.0 Beta that was faster than the 2.0 we had to pay for and now offer a supposed 2.1 update that they refer to as ” RELEASE CANDIDATE ” …. Adobe may well choose to continue to sell products that frustrate and fall a long way short of what is claimed for them and the end user may well choose not to give Adobe products a second chance.

  27. twil01 23 September, 2008 at 10:55 Reply

    I installed the 2.1 RC a few days ago. While certain problems have been addressed and I notice an improvement in performance overall, I still find localized corrections to be sluggish at best, often finding myself waiting for LR to catch up to where I am at. Adobe needs to deliver some serious improvements in this area (note Vista with NVIDIA graphics card).

    I also saw the CS4 launch. I have to agree with what nick wrote above in terms of pricing. I would consider an upgrade to CS4 at US prices, but refuse to do so in Europe given that these upgrades cost around 40-50% more (…for exactly the same download in English, that is)!

  28. Nick 23 September, 2008 at 09:09 Reply

    Thanks for the post Matt.

    I can honestly say, LR 2.0 has been a major, major disappointment. Brushes/Grads etc. are a great idea, but the implementation has been poor.
    I found LR 2.0 to have major issues in those areas and also experienced Export problems when I upgraded.

    I upgraded to LR 2.1 and frankly have found little improvement.

    I also use Aperture and Capture NX. each program is very good in certain areas but none hit the nail all round.

    When John Nack and other Adobe guys started slamming Aperture recently, they needed to ensure LR 2.0 was very, very good. It was not!

    Adobe appeared to receive a slap on the back for the speed in which they were able to provide RAW support for the D700 amongst others. Apple were quite slow! However what was not too well documented was that the RAW support for D700 (and others) was a quick fix Beta release!! This has now been updated, and after Apple released the same support!!

    I paid around £100.00 for the LR 2.0 update and after experiencing major problems when exporting images I contacted Adobe. The initial response was pathetic, and it was only after weeks of sending e-mails did one helpful Adobe rep. actually listen to me and (hopefully) cure the problem.

    CS4 has been announced today, and like LR 2.0 it looks like an interesting upgrade. However I will not upgrade at the moment, if at all. Why?

    1. Is there really enough in the upgrade for me to warrant spending a huge amount of money on this upgrade so soon after CS3?
    2. Purchasing Adobe products in the uK is a complete rip off! Fact!
    3) If I did spend my hard earned cash on CS4, would it work properly?
    4) Will Adobe improve their Customer Support? At the moment it is absolutely hopeless here in the UK.
    5) With another major Aperture upgrade around the corner and seemingly less reasons to venture out into Photoshop for me, why waste my money on what may turn out to be a lemon and for a product that I do not require?
    6) In terms of ease of use and endless functionality, Aperture is superior to LR 2.0 in all areas except for non-destructive and localised editing (in the purest sense). The Dodge & Burn Plug-in of Aperture does actually work very well. It does however produce a second image and cannot be called non-destructive editing, al least technically. However we have been told that this can be carried out in any Plug In for Aperture and I expect to see this introduced soon.

    Anyway, just my personal thoughts, like many people in the UK, I am really brassed off about being ripped off all the time and being presented with sub-standard products that are barely fit for purpose. LR 2.0/2.1 fall into this category at the moment!

    I really enjoy your work Matt and thanks from England!



  29. Florent 23 September, 2008 at 02:49 Reply

    Hi all,
    They should have gone for 1.5-1.9 and have given more for 1.0 users’ money prior to release 2.0, eh?
    Have a great day – Flo.

  30. TonyB 22 September, 2008 at 23:17 Reply

    I upgraded to LR2 based on a positive experience with LR1.4. I tried the beta and had no problems. I bought the program disk and now have the same problems with the adjustment brush that everyone else is having. In addition, the adjustment sliders are hard to select and jerk instead of slide. Half of the time, when I release the mouse button. the value changes.

    I have an Nvidia card and did the fix recommended in a comment on this site a couple of days ago and that helped a little. I installed 2.1 and that helped the slider problems a little and the Import problem a lot.

    It still is not what I expect for a fast, efficient, workflow. If I have to process a lot of images in a hurry, which is most of the time, I use LR1.4.

  31. George 22 September, 2008 at 19:21 Reply

    I was trying out Auto WB and it ended up freezing the program (spinning ball) everytime I tried it when followed by other image adjustments. This was one of the reported bugs and it appears to be fixed in 2.1.

    It’s great to post bugs on the Adobe forum and then have them addressed.

  32. John B 22 September, 2008 at 18:55 Reply

    I have almost all of the problems pointed out above. At first I though I was doing something wrong(as I am prone to do quite often) then i thought it might be some setting in the preferences and finally I have been convinced it was my computer which is borderline prehistoric.
    I am so relieved to find out that most of you are experiencing one or more of these same problems. The few that have no problems are very blessed indeed . It might be a good idea if the Adobe engineers would find out what is working for these folks as much as what is not working for most of the rest of us.

  33. W P Branham Jr 22 September, 2008 at 16:52 Reply

    I wonder why so many people are having so many different issues. I don’t know if I remember a program that was reported to have such a variety in its apparent problems. It works great on my MacBook Pro, 4GB, integrated with CS3. Same as a lot of users; slower in adjustment brush than Beta version, but usable. Has anyone really tested weather mask on or off makes a difference in performance, it should. I will test later tonight.

  34. Dr. Mickey 22 September, 2008 at 16:41 Reply

    Anyone notice that the .lrcat backup file sports the Lr 2.0 icon as a file type?

    How long has THAT been there? I just noticed it today when backing up my files.

  35. JasonP 22 September, 2008 at 16:05 Reply

    So far so good for me, “Ghost Folders” that duplicate the folder for an image making the LR-PS-LR round trip are gone, and the Adjustment Brush “click and drag… wait a minute for the mask to show up” SEEMS to be faster. I haven’t fully tested it, but did work without freezing LR and frustrating me 🙂

    Hopefully Adobe still working on it for the proper release will only speed it up more.

  36. Simone 22 September, 2008 at 14:37 Reply

    On a MacPro with LR set to 64bit and 10GB of memory the difference in performance is incredible. Before, it was sluggish, not much faster than my MacMini with 2GB RAM, but now it’s really fast, even brushes. And for the first time the mask feature in the brush actually works.

  37. Bill Webb 22 September, 2008 at 14:28 Reply

    Adjustment Brush operation is inconsistent and not usable in some instances. I have posted comments on Adobe Forum and had reply that others are experiencing similar problems. With mouse or Wacom I am getting brush drag streaks when mouse not pressed or when pen is lifted. Further, brush application may turn into Zoom tool and I can’t get away without closing the adjustment and losing the work. At times the control point for that particular brush does not appear and I cannot edit the mask or adjustments.

    XP Pro, 4GB, nVidia 8600, Dual quad core

    It’s back to 2.0 for me.

  38. Balliolman 22 September, 2008 at 12:41 Reply

    The RC depends on your CS3 being fully upgraded to 10.0.1 Some users are finding the patch to that is not updating scripting, consequently LR2 interoperabilty with CS3 is blocked. The RC does not address this problem. The scripting fault will have to be rectified by the CS3 team not LR2’s. On a more positive note I am experiencing improved response from the adjustment brush.

  39. Randy 22 September, 2008 at 12:35 Reply

    The update did fix my PS to lightroom interop. I would have the ghost drive appear with all my edited photos. Now it comes back to lightroom fine and is stacked withthe original as it is supposed to be.

  40. theo 22 September, 2008 at 12:19 Reply

    I think the brush is as slow as in 2.0
    after a few strokes the performace is so bad, I can´t WORK with the brush it´s more like playing around.
    what i think is funny/strange, is that the speed of the brush on my old and slow laptop (1,8GHz, 1,5GB RAM) is almost the same as on my desktop-PC (2×2,6GHz, 4GB RAM, etc.).

  41. ldw 22 September, 2008 at 11:45 Reply

    Interesting that they are trying to address performance of the localized adjustments. I use photoshop for all localized adjustments because the performance in LR2 for it is terrible.

  42. Sean Phillips 22 September, 2008 at 11:44 Reply

    This update has fixed all of my LR2 problems.

    I can actually import a shoot in a reasonable amount of time now (it used to take hours to import a couple of hundred images), and flipping through the modules is quick and painless. The local adjustments are also now useable! My biggest slowdown was whenever the program tried to update the numbers of images in each folder in the library or in the keyword panel it would freeze the whole program for several minutes and you could watch the numbers slowly populate down the screen. That’s all gone now!

    This is a huge upgrade!! Good job Adobe!

  43. Matt Kloskowski 22 September, 2008 at 11:04 Reply

    Hey Jax,
    I actually sent Lightroom’s product manager (Tom) an email with that same question. I read it the same as you did (meaning no improvements) but he said that they have improved it – they’re just continuing to work on it more as well. Again, the jury is still out. I’m going to find a photo where the adjustment brush lags in 2.0 and install the 2.1 update and see if it’s any better so I can compare apples to apples. I’ll update when I do.

    Matt K

  44. jax 22 September, 2008 at 10:38 Reply

    The release notes say:
    ‘ We are still working on additional methods to improve the performance of the new Localized Correction features.’

    Read as:
    No performance improvements on localised adjustments yet. But we are working on it.


  45. Fred Thurman 22 September, 2008 at 09:43 Reply

    I installed this update on Saturday and it fixed the problem I was having with not being able to open images is PS ie; Merge to Panorama, open as a Smart Image, and others. So far this update is working well and seems to be faster and more responsive.


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