Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 review

Adobe Lightroom offers most of what you'd need from a digital darkroom and asset manager, handling a range of common still image, RAW and video formats, and using Photoshop or external applications when heavier editing is required.

Importing almost two hundred high-res images into a new Collection in Lightroom 5 took a few minutes longer than we expected. This we found was down to the new Smart Previews, 'proxy' versions of the images that can be generated on ingest and can be used for editing even when the original images aren't accessible by the Mac. Any changes made are synced with the original catalogue when it gets reattached.

The Library Tab's asset management is well-served with a variety of ways to select photos for use or deletion in Lightroom, as well as stacking in groups. There's a Quick Develop area that offers quick adjustment Presets, but no previews for them.

The main Develop Tab gains a straightening device in the Upright Tool – but this is no mere ruler-based utility. Part of a rejigged Lens Correction panel it can take advantage of Lens Profiles to also automatically reset perspective settings, reduce chromatic aberration and can crop the image to remove any white space. It's a massive time saver.

See also: Mac software reviews

Another useful tool is the Radial Filter. Able to add a bit of focus with a vignette and local colour correction with an elliptical selection, it supplements the Adjustment Brush and linear Graduated Filter. Like them it's possible to go back and edit the effect settings, even after you've moved onto another section of the image.

Also enhanced is the Spot Healing tool, which has really improved its ability to find adjacent source areas of pixels with which to 'heal' an image. You can remove unwanted detail by painting over it, using a new feather control for fine adjustment. There's also a new Visualize Spots option which inverts the image to let you view smaller and less-visible imperfections.

As for output, you can now mix images and video in slideshow, while the book module has been tweaked for enhanced page numbering, text boxes and template creation

OUR VERDICT

Running as a 64-bit application, but still with no GPU-acceleration, Adobe's image management and correction tool scores high on the productivity scale. Smart Previews brings a video-style proxy workflow, although import time is extended, but the enhanced toolset more than makes up the lost time. There's not a vast array of social media options – as well as Facebook and Flickr, there's Adobe's own Behance. You can also publish images directly to the Adobe Revel smartphone app.

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