Beta testing is the way to go.
Adobe has just released Lightroom 2.0 Beta allowing all and sundry to bang away at it in a sort of group grope-wiki software development approach which I can only applaud.
Localized corrections in the Develop module and multiple monitor use seem to be the most useful enhancements – this is enough to call it 2.0 or are earnings hurting? Still, Adobe is adopting the right development approach.
There’s no soft proofing support yet, but read this for a workaround.
Interestingly, the ‘10,000 pixels a side’ import file size limit (meaning files cannot be over 10k pixels on either dimension or more than 100mB in total) has been increased to 30,000. I actually ran into the 10,000 pixel limit when migrating from Aperture to Lightroom on some big scans of 4″x5″ originals, so this is not as odd as it at first sounds.
Anyone can use the 2.0 Beta but to extend the trial past 30 days you either have to be a registered 1.x user or ask Adobe nicely. There’s a neat tutorial here. In a related tutorial an easy way of exporting, say, multiple images to Photoshop, such as in HDR photography is explained. The enhancements allowing multiple image printing on one page are nothing short of superb – some 5 minutes into this tutorial.
Is Adobe trying too hard? With 2.0 Beta newly out and 1.4.1 still in need of repair, is Adobe unnecessarily rushing things?
While I have no access to current data, assuming that PC users outnumber Mac zealots by 4:1, it’s not like Aperture is a competitor. Add the fact that Aperture 2.0 seems to require the costliest Mac to run half decently (if then), whereas Lightroom potters along nicely on an ancient G4 Mac, I somehow doubt there are going to be too many users switching from Lightroom to Aperture. In fact, I would guess they are about as common as people looking for permanent resident status in North Korea. Trust me, Abobe, I only want to go through this hell once, so there’s no way you are about to lose me as a user unless something better comes along and it uses LR’s catalogs without need for conversion.
However, given how few people use Macs, I wonder whether Adobe would be better off canning half the Lightroom development team and spending the savings on properly marketing 1.4. Lightroom 2.0 is nice but, let’s face it, it can wait and you are not going to dump Aperture just because of this Lightroom Beta upgrade which isn’t even ready for prime time.
And, please, no comments about how photographers are disproportionately users of Macs. The sole reason you visit this blog is to read about photography and 80% of you, according to my statistics, use Internet Explorer. Last I checked, that piece of garbage doesn’t even run on a Mac …. and anyone using IE with Parallels on a Mac truly needs a lobotomy. And I’ll bet that of the 20% using Safari, some are running it on Windows and many don’t use Aperture in any case. So the 4:1 LR:Aperture user ratio is probably understated.
Sure, all the toadies, sycophants, commercial flacks and those otherwise in the pay of Adobe will extol the virtues of 2.0 and praise Adobe for its community spirit. Utter nonsense. Adobe is a stockholder-owned public company. It’s primary duty, as with any public company, it to maximize the wealth of its shareholders, not tell us about its great good heart and wonderful social policies.
So, Abode, fire a dozen developers (starting with the fellow who approved 1.4.1 for release) – $1-2mm saved – and roll something like this out.
“Aperture users! Make Lightroom run twice as fast. On your ten year old Mac. Invest the hardware savings in a new Nikon D3 instead”.
And let’s face it, Adobe, your stock is nothing to write home about.
Or, better still Adobe, write a proper converter for Aperture to Lightroom catalogs and sell Lightroom at 50% of retail to anyone downloading it and sending in the box top from their Aperture software. Now that’s something that might make me show some interest in your stock and it would pay for itself with the first few conversions. It might even preclude an imminent hostile takeover though I’m conflicted here as I would far rather own the stock is someone wants to acquire you for a premium to the quoted price.