A Look at Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom™ 2

October 5, 2008 5:58 pm

Tags: Adobe, CS3, CS4, Lightroom, photo, Photoshop

Lightroom 2 was again first made available as a Beta version in order for users to provide feedback, and it would appear that Adobe felt there has been enough improvements over the 1.4 version to make this a full new version rather than an update. For the general feel of what this programme has to offer, please first read the review I did of Lightroom 1.4 here. I can then concentrate in greater detail on this new and improved version without going over what I had previously covered.

Overall, the 2.0 interface isn't too much different from Lightroom 1.4. The same main five panels remain, and some things, like metadata browsing by lens, rating, etc., have been put at the top of the Library interface. Nonetheless, the 2.0 interface does sport a few significant new features.

Improvements include the following:

Improved performance

Speed has been an Issue for some users of Lightroom 1.4, and the recent improvements here are very satisfying. Even on my laptop there is a marked increase in performance, and it makes better use of multiple processors for faster display of thumbnails and photos, and supports 64-bit systems running Windows® Vista® and Mac OS®.

Integration with Adobe Photoshop CS3

Open photographs from Lightroom in Photoshop CS3 more quickly and as a Smart Object. Merge multiple photographs to panorama, merge multiple high dynamic range (HDR) photos, or open multiple photos as one layered file in Photoshop. When you return to Lightroom, edited images are automatically added to the catalogue.

The real benefits of Lightroom 2 are that you will be spending less time in Photoshop doing edits. Of course some things are not possible to do within Lightroom, but the process of moving files to Photoshop has been made more intuitive than previously.

Work smoothly with Photoshop

Lightroom 2 allows you to open images directly in Photoshop CS3 without writing out a TIFF or PSD file first. Integration with Photoshop CS3 software enables your work to be updated automatically in Lightroom 2, these time saving features ensure that Lightroom 2 always has current images available. The enhanced integration between the applications allows for seamless use of Photoshop software’s Smart Objects, panorama stitching, HDR functionality, multiple layer workflow, and goes further. One of the features in Photoshop CS3 is the ability to create an image panorama. Now, you can select multiple images in Lightroom 2, send them to Photoshop CS3 to create the panorama, and easily save the resulting image back into your Lightroom 2 library

Multi-monitor support

For those of you like me, who are not using this feature on other software platforms, you can do some cool things, like opening a view of the Library in a second window that can be displayed on a second monitor. Keeping this window open while you’re working in any module, makes it easier to view and select photos to edit or present. I would have liked to have been able to make adjustments in both windows, but this does not appear to be supported at present.



Streamlined Library browsing

A much improved, reorganized layout in the Library module makes it easier to manage your photos. A Volume Browser lets you check the status of local and networked volumes at a glance. The new Library Filter bar in the Grid view lets you find photos by metadata criteria; attributes such as: ratings, labels, and flag status, or a text search of indexed metadata fields. See View information in the Volume Browser and find photos using the Library Filter bar.

Support for larger file sizes

You can now work with files up to 65,000 pixels long or wide, up to 512 megapixels

Local colour adjustments

You can now make changes to exposure, brightness, clarity, and other adjustments on specific areas of a photo by using the Adjustment Brush tool or the Graduated Filter tool.



Smart collections

Create smart collections based on metadata rules that you specify. Smart collections automatically stay up-to-date with the photographs that meet the criteria you specify.

Postcrop vignette

Apply a vignette effect to a cropped photo.

New print options

Create print layouts, called picture packages, that contain one photograph in a variety of sizes on a page. Enjoy improved output sharpening, and print to a JPEG file for your print service provider, or to your own home printer.

Sharpen smartly for the web

Lightroom 2 will apply the correct amount of sharpening depending on whether your image is destined for display on screen, in print, or on the web. When outputting for the web, the degree of sharpening you specify is automatically applied on output.




I am very impressed by this latest release of Lightroom 2.0. This programme is a joy to use for workflow, tagging, and photographic organization. Adobe has thought of almost everything that both amateur photographers and professionals could wish for, and its speed is now so much improved, being far less system dependant. Adobe has added a plug-in colour profile system that addresses one of the main complaints users had with Lightroom 1.4 and Adobe Camera RAW. Many users will also welcome the ability to be able to use plug-ins via the plug-in manager, though few are written at present, but I am sure many will soon be on the way.

Despite the mask editing options being rather limited, you may find that unless the Auto mask has worked its magic the first time, time lost in working upon localized editing may not be worth the effort for the small gain in image quality. But many users will welcome the simplification of this process, and it has to be said that the localized edits are a major improvement.

If you are fortunate to use a 64-bit system, the extra speed is a real bonus. I have not as yet been able to test this out properly, due to some incompatible software that is essential for other applications I use. But, with the New Photoshop CS4 on the horizon, very soon a dedicated system such as this will be a worthwhile investment for those who wish to make the most of this powerful software. I plan to upgrade my computer to take advantage of this and the extra memory that the 64 bit system can address. As mentioned previously, this still works very well on my fairly outdated laptop.

The commitment by Adobe to developing Lightroom continues, and even if there is still a way to go yet for this to be the perfect solution, this product is still faster than any other Raw Library applications on the market, and I can recommend it without reservation.

System Requirements:


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 processor
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified for 32-bit and 64-bit editions)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024x768 display
  • CD-ROM drive


  • PowerPC® G4 or G5 or Intel based processor
  • Mac OS X v10.4 or 10.5
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 1GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1,024x768 display
  • CD-ROM drive

For more information, please visit the Adobe Web Site.

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information—anytime, anywhere, and in any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.

Member of Renderosity since August 2002 and former Moderator of the Photography Forum and Gallery. I have had a few nominations for AOM in both photography and mixed medium. Aged 59, Born in Cornwall and have a special interest in Wildlife photography. I have travelled widely while serving in the Royal Air Force as a medic, and later working as mental health professional in the UK health service prior to retiring in 2005. Visit my website: http://www.digitalartzone.co.uk



October 13, 2008

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