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Adobe Lightroom 3 review




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Adobe Lightroom 3
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  • Adobe Lightroom 3.0 - PC/Mac


Our Score:


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an image management program designed to help photographers organise, improve and present their photos. First launched in 2007 it has quickly become a popular tool for professional photographers, and is widely considered the industry standard for camera Raw workflow. Lightroom is not intended to be an image editing program as such, although it can be used to make modifications to images, but rather it is designed to work alongside Adobe Photoshop, with that program handling the serious editing work. Lightroom is used to organise large collections of photos, develop and process JPEG and Raw file images, and to present, print and publish the results.

The latest version, Lightroom 3, was launched earlier this month, and adds a number of new features as well as improving the performance of many key operations. Available for both Mac OS X 10.5/10.6 and Windows 7 or Vista (in both 32-bit and 64-bit) and XP Service Pack 3, Lightroom 3 currently sells for £232 (inc. VAT) for the full version, or £74 for an upgrade version from Lightroom 2. No upgrade from Lightroom 1 is available. There is a student version available for around £64. Lightroom's only real competitors are Apple's Mac-only program Aperture, also currently on version 3.0 and costing around £170, and the highly regarded Bibble 5 Pro, available for Linux, Windows or Mac and costing around £127.

The key improvements in Lightroom 3 are faster library importing, better noise reduction and sharpening algorithms, improved lens correction, perspective correction, more flexible watermarking, easy-to-use drag and drop web gallery publishing, improved multi-image print layouts, and tethered capture for use in the studio. Also improved are some of the filter effects, video file handling and the ability to export video and PDF slideshows with music.

Chris Hamer

June 22, 2010, 8:29 pm

Thanks for the nice review, i look the look of this but for my photos i use my macbook pro. I know there is a version for the Mac but i was wondering could you do a review on Aperture 3? As i dont know which one would be best to use, has the best features etc.



June 22, 2010, 8:30 pm

What i really need is a program which can analyze images based on what they look like and find duplicates, group similar images together etc etc. Can Lightroom do anything like that or is there any other software out there which can?

Hans Gruber

June 22, 2010, 9:04 pm

Sorry, no time to read the review just yet but in your experience how does Lightroom 3 compare to Capture One?

I use Capture One LE (last 4.8.3) and trialed Lightroom 2, it seemed very similar, was quite easy to use and much the same as Capture One hence I don't know if the price difference is justifiable to anyone in my position, wishing for a more pro photoshop experience who doesn't wish to spend £600+ or whatever on CS5.



June 23, 2010, 12:56 am

The raw engine in LR & Photoshop CS5 are the same - ver 6.1 to be precise. ACR does the lens correction, noise reduction etc. It is common code so LR can't be better than CS5. ACR 6.x will be included in a future version of Photoshop Elements as well. Cheers


June 23, 2010, 1:26 am

Just a quick point. You say there is no upgrade from version 1 but Adobe states on their web shop that the upgrade is for version 1.x and 2.x. Any reason for the discrepancy?



June 23, 2010, 2:55 am

I'd like to point out that there is another more than capable alternative to Lightroom in the form of ACDsee Pro3.


June 24, 2010, 1:11 am

In reply to Jonathan and to correct the review, the upgrade license covers both 1.x and 2.x as stated on the Adobe website - I purchased the upgrade edition and have used it to upgrade my my 1.x serial number with no issues.

Joseph Britvch

June 27, 2010, 7:44 am

I downloaded a trial version of LtRm 3 and it kept disabeling my browser, so I had to constantly restart my PC. Don't know this happened. Had to remove the program.

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