Lightroom 5 Public Beta Announced

Last night I downloaded and started to “play” with LR5 Public Beta. It has some wonderful updates that will cause me to use Photoshop even less than I do now (about 1% of shots).

  • Advanced Healing Brush – Yaaaaaaah! Finally a brush rather than a spotting tool. This will greatly speed up the clean up of unsightly branches, grasses, power lines, jet trails, etc. It’s not quite as effective as content aware fill, but that’s not what I’m after as a nature and outdoor photographer;
  • Radial Graduated filter – a very helpful addition for when straight lines just don’t cut it
  • Upright – now, when shooting building, perspective control has become much easier – it really works!
  • Smart Previews – I keep all but my most recent files on an external HD. So if I am doing Develop module updates, I don’t need the external HD plugged in. Not earth-shattering, but helpful nonetheless.
  • Faster? – I’m finding Previews are much faster at loading and when zooming in but my fan runs more and switching modules is not quite as fast

There are a few more minor changes that you may or may not find helpful, but these are the major updates. In fact, this seems like more of an update than a new version.

I am looking forward to the final release as who knows what else Adobe might include. For now though – DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE LR5 PUBLIC BETA unless you are willing to create a new, separate catalogue with a few folders of images for testing. Tis is essential – you do not want to be working on your original copies as the changes may not translate exactly from the Public Beta to the Final release.

If you want to play around with the public beta…

  • read the Adobe release on the Lightroom Journal
  • download the LR5 Public Beta from the Adobe Labs page
  • create a new catalogue; I called mine LR5 Beta and put it in with my other LR catalogues in “Pictures” (WIN: My Pictures)
  • LR5 will copy your preferences from LR4 although it may not pick up your ID Plate;
  • when importing photos to this catalogue, be sure to COPY them (top middle) from folders that already exist in an LR4 catalogue with the Destination set to “Pictures > LR5 Beta”. I put them in a subfolder named for the year (e.g. 2013) and instruct LR5 to Organize “by original folders”

By following these instructions, you will now have a second copy of the original files: the original file is still in LR4; the second in the LR5 Beta folder. Tis protects your original just incase LR5 decides to hiccup or belch or worse.

To walk you through the updates, Julienne Kost has produced a few nice videos for Adobe. I can recommend them as great starting points.

Good luck and have fun!

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