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This is the concluding continuation to my first article, Replacing LightZone - RAW Processing and Photo Editing Software.
In April 2012, Adobe introduced Lightroom 4 with a realistic UK price of around £100!
Before, in the UK, Lightroom had a similar price to that of an entry level DSLR! I couldn't endorse a product with such a price to my clients, but now things have changed.
Having used Lightroom 4 extensively for the trial period (30 days), I purchased a licence for £106 from the Adobe UK website. Needless to say, I was suitably impressed with it!
You can do most of the editing you could with LightZone, although the tools have a different approach. Adjustment brush "Masks" do more or less what "regions" did in LightZone; you can't specify a tone or colour range to which an adjustment is applied, but the Flow and Density sliders give enough control over the selection areas, which Lightroom somewhat conversely names. There's also a graduated adjustment tool too, and as with adjustment brushes, you can apply as many of these as you wish.
With Lightroom, half of LightZone 3.9's shortcomings, that were supposed to be addressed with V4, are covered with lens profiling - just click two check boxes under lens distortion, and you've fixed barrel/ pincushion distortions and chromatic aberrations - no painstaking sliders to adjust; just click!
Size reduction and output sharpening are all catered for in the Export function, and the print module is excellent too!
The most noticeable virtue that Lightroom has over LightZone, and any other editor I've used for that matter, is its ability to produce exceptionally bright and clean images! The adjustments and sliders give you total control, and the sharpening and noise reduction are cohesive as they are powerful.
Lightroom, with its new realistic price, is now my main recommendation to clients who shoot RAW, and I'll be writing extensively about it in future tutorials.
I'll be recommending Zoner Photo Studio free version to those who shoot JPEG, and who wish to do minor edits and prepare dedicated files for web and print. I'll recommend the pro version to RAW shooters as a user-friendly editor for any occasional 16 bit pixel editing requirements outside the scope of Lightroom.
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