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Approach Adobe Lightroom 2.0 Beta with caution

The company on Wednesday offered its Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta for download. While this version is feature complete, it's more than "rough around the edges," and users of the professional image editing and photo management software should be wary.
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Written by David Morgenstern on

The company on Wednesday offered its Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 beta for download. While this version is feature complete, it's more than "rough around the edges," and users of the professional image editing and photo management software should be wary.

According to a blog post by Tom Hogarty, Lightroom product manager, the Version 2.0 beta version won't overwrite or interfere with a current Lightroom 1.3.1 installation and won't upgrade current libraries.

However, Ian Lyons at Computer Darkroom offered a reminder about the develop settings in the beta version. He said its stability is rough.

Unlike the "Public Beta" for Lightroom 1.0 Lr2beta is pretty much "feature complete", so the intent this time round is to give users an opportunity to "kick the tyres" and provide feedback on bugs etc. Make no mistake, this beta is very rough around the edges and contains many bugs. In terms of stability and bug count it's much closer to "alpha quality", and is most definitely not intended for production use.

It's also important to note that while existing Lightroom 1.x catalogs cannot be read by Lrbeta2, although both will be migrated into the finished version. That being said, Adobe have made it clear that they cannot guarantee that develop adjustments applied with Lr2beta will be honoured in the final shipping version. This is particularly true of localised corrections. Even a quick read through the Known Issues documented in the release notes should be enough convince you that Adobe are not joking when they write Lr2beta is "for testing and feedback". So be warned!

Adobe blogger Jack Nack ran down some favorite features and said the Version 2.0 selective image editing tools rock.

Lightroom 2 adds a Retouch tool right within the Develop module. That means you can paint regions of the image to dodge, burn, saturate/desaturate, adjust contrast, and more.

Edits are stored as metadata, just as all other LR adjustments are stored, and are applied directly to your raw images. (Because people will quickly ask, I'll point out that unlike Apple's newly released Aperture 2.1, Lightroom integrates its selective editing tools right in with the other adjustment tools. In Lightroom you don't have to generate a TIFF file for editing, and unlike in Aperture, you can always tweak the results later. In addition, Lightroom features Auto Mask technology for tweaking the clicked region without bleeding into neighboring areas.)

The beta is open to everyone for a 30-day trial. Users of Version 1.3.1 can continue to use it until the release expires on August 31 (or if a newer better candidate is released).

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