Lightroom 4: I'm not exactly excited with this version.

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While I do appreciate all the efforts that the Lr team have made, I am very disappointed in what the final version is offering, in terms of the incomplete additions and virtual neglect to some key modules.

I know that pv2012 is a vast improvement, though unless I am mistaken, that's primarily an ACR project. Right? To me, Lr is so much more than a RAW processing engine. Otherwise I would have stayed with my Ps/Bridge/ACR workflow all along.

I'm sure it took great effort to add video handling capabilities, Maps and the Book modules ... in this iteration, however, there seems to be little to no emphasis on improving, streamlining or adding valuable features to the Slideshow or the Web modules.

The Book module is a classic example of an incomplete, poorly thought out and executed plan to add value to a great program. Which is very disappointing as I lobbied for this feature extensively. I guess we have to be careful about what we wish for. What good is it to have all the wonderful layout options ... but only a single source for the finished product?

By limiting it solely to Blurb output and their accompanying template page sizes ... it ignores those of us who need to create books using other sources. Even if we export as PDF, how are we to match page sizes for the printers we use? (Unless you are cleverly hiding the ability to create custom page sizes) Few pro labs that offer a higher tier press printed or flush mount albums and books use the same page sizes. I can only assume that the Book module as it currently exists, became a part of Lr because Blurb either contributed the lion's share of the coding effort, or underwrote the whole project.

Don't get me wrong. I have no ill will towards Blurb or their products. They just don't offer the book sizes, paper stock or finished printing stylings I offer my clients through other available sources. Why should I be locked into a singular source and no means to create the template page sizes I require? I seem to recall the mention of the capability to create custom page sizes, but my own research as well as the videos by Julianne Kost seem to indicate we can't.

You don't limit which brand of printer or ink set I can use in the Print module. You don't lock me into a single lab I can order prints from using the Publish or Export functions. Why would you design a Book module that stifles my workflow in this manner by forcing a one-size-fits-all approach? Unless of course you can offer a list of competing labs that will accept these Blurb centric PDF files.

The slideshow module, while efficient and simplistic is languishing in obscurity when it comes to bringing it up to speed by today's standards. Only one style of transition, a single audio track, only single intro and exit slides, no inclusion of video clips, no timeline structure or adjustment ... Aperture 3 offers so much more in this respect and it's been out for over 2 years. (as well as the option to create custom page sizes and export book pages as jpegs) Not to mention you just now lowered the Lr "upgrade" price to match the fee for the full version of Aperture. DOn't get me wrong, I appreciate the price reduction ... but I am perplexed that new users get a 50% discount and those of us who have been around from the beginning only get a 20% discount ... go figure ...

Normally, I almost immediately purchase each new upgrade of Lr as soon as it is released, this time, I'm going to weigh my decision much more to convince me it is in my best interests. While I welcome the image quality enhancements in the Develop module, for now I'm not convinced it is a wise investment. Considering how you invested the profits from my past purchases.

The bottom line is ... I WANT to use Lr for my workflow needs ... and ... I am even willing to pay a bit more to do so, if needed to get what I want ... I'm just not convinced that Lr is the hands-down decision it was not long ago.

I do welcome any other user's thoughts about my assessment or opinion. I'm never too old to learn something. If I missed something and am off the mark, I welcome the enlightenment.
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Butch_M

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Posted 7 years ago

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Lee Jay

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http://forums.adobe.com/message/42007...

"Custom templates will be possible for the final release, although not entirely straightforward, as it'll involve other programs such as Illustrator to do the initial design. "

Yourself, others, or perhaps your suppliers may be able to provide you with the templates you desire.
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Butch_M

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Are you privy as to the process? ... I read Victoria's post when she made it ... thus far, I have not been able to track down any details ... Julieanne Kost's videos indicated that we couldn't modify or add custom page size templates ...
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Lee Jay

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I don't think the details are out yet.
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Butch_M

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I hope the info I gleaned from info over in the U2U forum is not true ... if I have to jump through yet another hoop to customize page sizes for the Book module ... is not something I am willing to accept ...

My response over on the forum:

Another user wrote:

"Custom sizes isn't directly supported at present, but my understanding is that users will be able to create their own layout/templates using Adobe Illustrator. I can't say when this facility will be available though."

That's too bad ... I don't own Illustrator, nor am I about to go out and buy it just so I can create custom pages. This, as far as I am concerned may be a complete deal breaker as far as me investing monetarily in Lr 4. Why would Adobe choose such a convoluted method for "custom" page sizes? It just doesn't make sense. Over two years ago Aperture 3 offered the ability to create books. All I have to do to create a custom size is to enter the page sizes and margin parameters ... and I can have my book the way I want it ... I can even export it as pdf OR jpeg ...

Add to that ... A 3 has had the ability to handle DSLR video files ... and include them in slideshows ... not to mention a kick a$$ custom features for the slideshow that make the Lr Slideshow module look like a real dog ... Apple did this TWO YEARS AGO!

I have been a loyal Adobe user since the very first Lr beta ... I have not considered moving to Aperture 3 as a single solution ... until now ... frankly I am tired of jumping through hoops to get the job done ... If A3 would add the ability to use of custom camera profiles ... I wouldn't be here long enough to finish this sentence.

I am so tired of jumping back and forth between both programs to get my work done. I can't believe Adobe wants to add another hoop to jump through just so I can work directly with my RAW files to design a book/album ... didn't the team or their supervisors discuss this with actual photographers who would make use of the Book module during the planning phase? It seriously sounds like the whole book module project was an after thought just to say they offered it.

I really do like the Develop module, and I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the ACR team offering the improved image quality ... but here is the sad truth ... there are more than few top drawer pros doing quite nicely using Aperture and other options ... and they don't appear to be suffering from the effort ... so the image quality in ACR/Lr may be excellent ... but it ain't all that ...

Please don't confuse my concerns/rant as an ultimatum ... because it isn't ... it is, however, an observation that the ball is in Adobe's court ... their next move will influence my decision if I should continue down the Lr path ...
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Richard Barry

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I have to say I'm dissapointed also.

Like the above, I hate having to jump into different programs to get a job done - I guess a single solution is a long ways down the track. However, I would have liked to have seen a more robust release - I've stumbled acrtoss three bugs thus far and have had to stop using it and return to V3 (the colour labelling fucnction is not working correctly) until they are fixed.

Teething problems... of course and I'm happy to wait.

That said, I would have much preferred a product that does a better job in develop than the addition of maps etc.

Maybe I'm just getting cranky!
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Rob Cole

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I've had such amazing results on so many photos that I'm pretty darn stoked about it. It's clear to me that a good deal of "engineering" went into the develop module, despite being cloaked in such a small covert set of sliders (and I arrived at that strictly from experience, not because Jeff Schewe & the others told me I should think that ;-}). I'm disappointed that some photos, it just does not handle well at all, but overall a big gain. One and a half thumbs up... I never used slideshow, print, nor web module, so having two new modules I don't use is neither here nor there... - I hope they didn't spend too much time on them ;-}
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Butch_M

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While I welcome your thoughts on my dilemma, your comments do raise three distinct points.

1) - I too think that the Develop module is quite good and welcome it's capabilities. Though you should be reminded that ACR is not exclusive to just Lr ... it is also available with Ps and PsE ... So how much effort did the Lr team actually put into Lr 4? Since the lion's share of effort actually came from the ACR team.

2) - Mr. Schewe never attempted to tell you what to think, only that your early appraisals, opinions and conjecture were incorrect ... of which it took you nearly two months to discover he was right.

3) - Lightroom was initially conceived, marketed and sold as a "workflow solution" ... not a singularly focused RAW converter and simple DAM solution. While you may not see any value in the other modules ... a great many of your fellow Lr users do ... those specific features are what drew them to Lr in the first place. If Adobe wishes to spend their resources propping up the same RAW processor in a different UI and label it as something else, isn't going to stand the test of time.

My photography is my livelihood ... it is how I earn an income to spend on software to make my work easier in the tasks of providing products to my clients. If I wanted half-baked options that actually cause more effort than is saved ... I wouldn't have opted to get on board with Lr in the first place. Work arounds are NOT "solutions" ...
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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I'm a bit perplexed why the export still chooses to utilize 30% of my CPU. With LR4, I still have to stack up exports to get it up to 90%+. In other words:

1 export of 100 images takes 10 minutes
3 exports of 33 images takes 3 minutes.

That's not right. I've heard it from the PM that it's all about the UI responsiveness, but let me tell you, in case 2 above, my UI is plenty responsive including playback of HD video in a window on my 27" monitor while I continue to prune in the Library module. (6-core machine).

I'm not excited that LR isn't getting smarter with my hardware...
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Butch_M

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Unfortunately Sean, this is one of those areas where sometimes developers have to pull in the reins to allow for users who are still working with older hardware ... heck ... we're eight months into v4 and Adobe is still catching flack over abandoning Windows XP ... if they coded Lr to gobble up resources by default ... there would be a complete uprising ... considering the complaints about performance issue for some users who do have top-drawer hardware ...

It would be nice if there were the option for users to select resource allocations on the fly ... I know when I have to export 4,000-6,000 images to my online shopping cart ... I don't need to move on and edit another job ... I just need to upload the batch ASAP ... it would be very convenient not to manually multi-task the export ...
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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I don't buy it. There's a preferences section for a reason. AND it's 2012. Software has been able to read hardware setups for decades. If Lightroom sees that I have a monster system (yes, 12 cpu, 24GB Ram, SSD), then jack up the performance. If it sees some dude with a Pentium II 450MHz box, scale back the resource usage. Isn't that obvious?
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Butch_M

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I don't disagree with you Sean ... you are preaching to the choir ... however ... after six years in existence ... we can't get them to take the time to code in the possibility to use more than a single transition, single time duration or single audio track in the Slideshow module ... I doubt we can get them to take the time to develop any other extra code for any purpose .... If it were not for the annual nearly complete overhaul of the Develop module (not that I am opposed to that) we haven't seen much else improve in quite some time ... only half measures with new modules and others are totally ignored ...
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seanhoyt-dot-art

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My opinion, and it's probably a minority (?), is that I want Lightroom to be a pure Library and Develop suite. Right? Photoshop + Bridge. No maps, no books, no slideshow, no print (maybe print), no web. The extra stuff there is a distraction. There's better dedicated software for that stuff. I toss 100k images at this thing and 10% efficiency increase means more cash in my pocket and/or more time to relax.Honestly, if they could beef up LR performance, I'd be willing to pay $1,000 per version no problem.
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Butch_M

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While I respect your opinion and understand your desires, I'm exactly in the opposite end of the spectrum ... I do a multitude of my own printing ... I very likely would have bought the first version of Lr just to get the Print module because it is that good ... I design 150-200 books/albums per year (for myself and two other shooters) none of which I can create in the Book module because the Blurb template page sizes are useless for the vendors I do use ... I create at least a dozen slideshows for clients per month (they have become big sellers for me) and I end up drowning in a mountain of unnecessary derivative files in the process using alternate software ...

If I could actually import, process, design and export more of my work from right within Lr ... I could save a massive amount of hours and a significant amount of disk space per year ... and I too would be willing to pay a premium price for that capability ... just the ability to jump from Slideshow to Develop and convert an image to sepia and have it update on the fly would be a boon for me instead of having to export to another app and re-import the image into that project could save me more hours than I care to count ...

In my mind, without the distracting modules, if you already have Bridge/ACR/Ps ... there is really no reason whatsoever for Lightroom to exist ... Lightroom is just Bridge and ACR with a different wrapper ... then you still need PS for the heavy lifting ....

While I personally have little to no use for the Maps or Web modules ... It doesn't bother me that they exist for if you never invoke them, they stay out of your way ... you can even hide them from the menu ...

It wasn't my idea for Adobe to offer more than Library and Develop in Lr ... they came up with that model on their own and spent considerable effort to market Lr as such ... now that those other modules do exist ... I fully expect them to maintain and improve them to industry standard instead of only providing half-measure or incomplete offerings ...
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Rory Hill

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Another disappointment for me is the import module. The whole raison d'etre of lightroom is workflow. If you are a high volume shooter, chances are you are not using lightroom to cull and import. I am frustrated that I have paid the same price as lightroom to buy photo mechanic. I can cycle through my D800 images, previewing the embedded jpgs, while still on the card at 3-4 per second and quickly tag the ones I want to import. Try doing that in lightroom and you quickly bog down.
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Rob Cole

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Consider importing everything and rendering 1:1 previews, then culling in Lib module should be lightening fast (that's what I do). Take a break while importing... - sorry in advance if it seems I'm minimizing your importing woes - just offering a work-around, if not so good for you, maybe other readers....

One of the fringe benefits of this workflow is one can delete all from card immediately after import/image validation, since one will already have 2 copies on hard drive.

Reminder: I acknowledge that you may not want to do it this way...
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Jim Burgess

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Rob--it isn't that someone "may not want to do it this way"--it's that someone CANNOT do it this way if they are shooting a high volume of shots and on deadline. Simple example:
Shooting a few hundred images during the 1st half of a football game is pretty common. And it's likely they are RAW files, especially if it's a night game. Even if one tags the images in camera on the field, LR is not capable of importing just the tagged images, so all of them have to be imported at halftime. Typically 10-20 are then selected, edited and uploaded.
I will venture a guess that if the approach you suggest using LR was utilized, the football game would be over by the time the first-half images are imported and 1:1 previews are built. And the photographer would soon be looking for other work.
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Rob Cole

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Understood. I used to use ViewNX for pre-culling the previews on card before importing...
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Butch_M

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Exactly what Jim suggests ... It's easy to offer workarounds ... but all a workaround is ... just MORE work for the user that we expect our software to simplify ... many folks won't buy software solutions that create more work ... no matter how "superior" they may be touted in other areas ...

This is one area where Aperture 3 excels over Lr ... you can make a preference selection to use the embedded jpeg previews during the import process (likewise for PhotoMechanic) ... which greatly improves the deadline process ...

The absence of this feature is a no-go response from photojournalists when they are presented the option of adopting Lr ... many of these folks who work in a field where time IS the difference between success or failure won't consider any option that could dig into that valuable time ...