Having used Lightroom since version 1.0 I have found the steady improvements absolutely amazing. There is help for new users all over the web and in numerous "How To" books, most offered by Amazon.ca. In my opinion Scott Kelbey's is the absolute best but I am biased having at least 20 of his helps books. This inexpensive program allows you to catalogue all you photos wherever they may reside, in a spare hard drive or on line, and in different computers. You can set the program up to personalize it with your company or studio identification and present finished slideshows that you can set up in minutes. This latest version allows you to add voice and music to your presentations which is a big plus. If you take the time to put in keywords or have done so with a previous version this new version allows you to import them upon the upgrade. The numerous ways (at least 5) to sort and search for photos make it easy to retrieve any catalogued photo within seconds even on a source that is not currently connected to your system at that particular time. New enhanced vignetting and noise reduction alone make this upgrade worth the price but its newly enhanced algorithms 2010 version make all the developing tools work faster and easier than ever before. Go to 64 bit and it gets even better. It works almost seemlessly with Photoshop CS5 and the entire Creative Suite making it truly valuable to for any photographer wanting to present the very best possible images.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
The BEST noise reduction (IMO), watermarking, excellent new RAW rendering and other tweaks...July 25 2010
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I have been using LR since v1. The last 2 revisions have brought significant improvements. With v2 the standout benefit for me was the local adjustments brush (that alone made the upgrade a no-brainer. With v3 I wasn't as eager to buy another upgrade - UNTIL I tried it out and noticed that after "updating" views of my images to use the "2010 process" the difference jumped out at me (particularly those at ISO 800+). The higher ISO RAW files from an Olympus E-1 and E-300 suddenly looked demonstrably better (same with files from my E-3). Noise reduction in Lightroom has always been less-than-stellar and I've been saving my pennies to buy a "real" noise reduction program for ~$100.
I am SO glad that I held off buying a separate noise reduction program until after I tested LR3 - I was about to pay just about the same price as the LR3 upgrade just for a noise reduction program! IMO, the noise reduction now integrated into LR3 is the BEST that I have yet seen.
Another tool which I've pined for was a USABLE watermarking tool. FINALLY it is here! Thanks Adobe (even though you really should've had this in there from the get-go.
There are a number of other tweaks that I've noticed (with a smile) - a bit of a speed increase (thanks to true 64bit support), a little more power in working with Black & White renderings and the lens profiles are fantastically useful (for me).
If you are on the fence as to whether you really want to buy this upgrade or wait for the next version just answer the following questions: 1 - Do you shoot primarily in JPG? The image processing engine won't mean as much to you. 2 - Does your camera already have excellent high-iso noise characteristics? This upgrade won't be the revelation it was to me. 3 - Do you not really care about watermarking? One less reason to upgrade. 4 - Are you running on a 32bit system or with <4GB of RAM? You won't see much speed improvement.
If you can answer yes to questions 1 & 2 above then this upgrade is probably not for you.
Personally, the noise reduction and watermarking were what enticed me and then seeing the new RAW processing is what made me click the "buy" button.
Now the only features I'm wishing for are soft-proofing, content-aware fill (I can dream can't I), a clone BRUSH (not stamp) and direct DVD burning.
46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic upgrade - a must-have for all photographers.July 3 2010
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I've been using Lightroom since the beginning - ordering Lightroom v1 immediately upon it's release and absolutely loved it. It's not a complete replacement for photoshop (it does a LOT of the stuff Photoshop does, but not a lot of the selective editing/power you get in PS).
After using the Lightroom 3 beta for the past few months, I knew I needed to get this upgrade.
Unlike Photoshop which is more of a "One image at a time" program, Lightroom brings your whole collection of photos into the application, allowing you to quickly navigate through them, tag/flag them (by stars, for example) and make quick edits to either a single photo or the whole set. This is the most important thing as if you shoot a few hundred photos and need the SAME settings quickly applied to each of them (white balance, for example) it's just a few clicks away. Lightroom also uses a non-destructive editing system, which means you can make as many edits to photos as you want, and the original is still untouched (you don't "save" over your photos, you create new versions once you've edited them how you like).
The built in presets, and ability to create your own/download others online, is a huge feature. Need a black and white high-contrast look with a vignette? You can find it. Need a HDR look? You can find it. Just about any "look" you need, you can either create or find online as a preset (most free).
With Lightroom 3 there are some obvious upgrades/changes:
One of the nicest is the noise reduction - take those ISO 3200 photos and make them look like ISO 200. The feature is much improved over Lightroom 1 and 2, and of course you have full control of the strength.
Faster (at least for me). It was never too slow to begin with, but seems to have gotten even faster in V3 (Windows 7, quad-core)
Lens Correction - great for those super-wide lenses!
Watermarking - I believe this was in LR1, but the current version is VERY nice. I'm usually one to avoid watermarks, but the ones on LR3 can be classy and non-obtrusive.
Tethered shooting - now you don't need to combine multiple programs and set up a "ghetto" tethering solution - it's built in!
Flickr upload built in - a nice feature for those that use the service.
Video importing - unfortunately you can't edit the video, but it's nice to have it in the same spot if you do both photo and video (like most HD DSLRs and almost all point and shoots do now)
Slideshows - you can now export them as video (even HD), with music!
New print options - I don't use these, but I'm guessing some people do. If that's you, you have some upgrades here!
Ability to create galleries for your site (either basic HTML or Flash) - This is the same as Lightroom V2 (but an upgrade for those who went from v1 to v3)
Selective editing brush - Same as above, nothing new but something not available in Lightroom v1
Overall it's a great system, especially working with hundreds or thousands of photos at once! A must-have for all photographers, professionals or amateurs. I'd like to see the ability to add effects/filters and edit video files in the future, but this is a PHOTO application so I won't hold it against them! Can't wait to see the new updates coming out over the upcoming months (Adobe has been very good about adding new features in same-version updates (like 3.1, 3.2) which come free.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Essential UpgradeAug. 9 2010
David J. Schneider
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This is the first Lightroom version that I would consider fully mature. Lots of new features worth having, and the whole operation seems sleek and efficient. While certainly easier to use than Photoshop, this is not a beginner's photo-editing program (at least if one uses most of the features). I bought it primarily for the lens correction feature which works well but since I use good Nikon lenses the corrections are hardly earthshaking and in fact I now rarely use the feature. Importing is now much easier, and the print module more sophisticated. Noise reduction is much improved. Tethered shooting is now possible although I prefer to use another product I already own. I feels much faster and although I haven't checked on changes in menus and modules, it somehow seems more intuitive. With the first version of LR I did about 50% of my editing in LR and the rest in PS, second version about 70% in LR, but now I'm using LR for probably 90% of my image processing. You still need PS for some things, but LR does most corrections faster and easier. There are certainly programs that are easier to use and cheaper, and then there's PS. I like LR for the tight integration of photo correction and a database; many of the cheaper programs do not have such a powerful database engine. ACEsee is also a good program, perhaps easier to use as a photo management system but not as good on editing. For those who already own LR, an upgrade is almost a no-brainer even for those like myself for whom $95 is a significant sum of money.
42 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Import conventions for LR3 are incompatible with LR2June 24 2010
Wishful Dreams - Tim Townsend
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I have about 35,000 images in several catalogs. Uniformly, images are identified with a title yyyymmdd-s.format. "s" is a sequence number assigned by me, sometimes with a modifier like 5a, 5b. Format is the usual .jpg, dgn, etc. Formerly, I imported from a scanner folder on my desktop or directly from a flash card (used in a canon). I would direct LR to store the contents in a folder (of my own making like ""2010"). LR2 would then generate a folder in my designated folder (2010) with the format of yyyy-mm-dd for each image taken on a specific day of that month.
LR3 doesn't do this! It creates folders with the format yyyymmdd (not much of a problem). But it does not place pictures corresponding to yyyymmdd into the proper folder. Some would be in one folder, some in another folder. BEWARE. This is a software bug which I spent >3hours discussing with their tech reps: (Satya, Nirmal) both good. Hopefully they will fix the bug soon.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Nikon almost got more of my moneyJuly 14 2010
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I shoot Nikon. I needed to shoot tethered on my laptop. Almost paid $150 for Nikon's capture software to be able to do this. Held off because I was waiting to upgrade LR which only cost $100. Glad I did! Built in tethered capture support for most Nikon DSLRs. Works awesome! A little bit of delay in loading them into LR during capture, but that was to be expected with the limitations of my laptop transferring raw files via USB.
As for the other improvements: well worth the upgrade. I won't go over all the changes, as you can read about them on the Adobe site and everywhere else.
My only complaint: LR3 seems much slower, even on my desktop. Zooming in to check details is really slow to refresh to higher res. (compared to LR2) Advancing through images has display lag. "Optimized catalog". I checked the same images in LR2 to see if it was maybe my CPU. LR2 is faster with minimal delays. Maybe I am missing something is LR3 that will help with this delay. I can still simultaneously run LR2, CS4 and listen to music on dual monitors without delays. But running only LR3 gives me delays. Annoying. I guess when Adobe completely revamped its engine, it must now be very processor intensive and I need to upgrade my computer? I must be missing something. If anyone has any insight, please leave a comment. (Dell XPS 3ghz quad processor, 8gb ram running on Vista home)