The Latest Lightroom Rocks

PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM, now in its third iteration, is Adobe's version of digital-darkroom workflow software. Made for mass quantities of RAW files, it handles importing, cataloging, converting, printing, and exporting your pictures. Using the same conversion algorithms as Adobe Camera Raw (the converter that comes with Photoshop), it's ideal for photographers who work with lots of images, do most editing in RAW, and use Photoshop just for serious retouching.

The best upgrades to the software are under the hood: Adobe seriously improved RAW file processing itself. Noise reduction and sharpening are markedly better (for advice on how to make the best use of the new tools, see Software Workshop, page 48). This go-round is much speedier, too—in lightroom 2, we had to wait many seconds for an image to be ready to edit in Develop mode, but now the transition is much snappier, and thumbnails load markedly faster.

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