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After a months-long public beta, which featured two releases, Adobe has released the final version of their Lightroom 3 software application. Thanks to the long beta, developers were able to make refinements to the application based on user feedback, resulting in an extremely functional, polished, and stable software application. Lightroom 3 boasts numerous compelling reasons for users to upgrade; here are three.
1: Improved RAW Processing & Noise reduction
Thanks to improvements in digital CMOS sensor design, it’s now possible to take photos in very low-light situations. High-end DSLR sensors are capable of ISO speeds up to 102,400. That's faster than even the fastest push-process black-and-white film stocks, and it dwarfs the 1600 and 3200 speeds that were the mark of high-end cameras a few scant years ago. Still, with high-ISO shooting, comes noise. Lightroom 3’s improved RAW processing engine does a much better job at noise reduction than Lightroom 2, allowing you to capture cleaner images in lower light conditions, even if you don’t have the cash for a Nikon D3S with an f/1.4 lens.
2: Lens & Perspective Correction
Shoot with an extreme wide angle or fisheye lens? Like to take architectural photos, but find yourself wanting to adjust the perspective of the photos for better results? In the past, to remove distortions in these scenarios you’d have to edit your photos in Photoshop – which was not only a hassle, but also a cost-prohibitive exercise if you didn’t own a copy of Photoshop already. Now these adjustments can be done within Lightroom, without having to leave the program, and without having to make permanent changes to your original photo.
3: DSLR Video Support
If the DSLR you currently own doesn’t already shoot HD video, chances are that the next one you purchase will. DSLR video is good enough for television production (just ask the producers of House or SNL), and chances are you’ll find yourself shooting some moving pictures with your camera at some point. Now you can view your videos side-by-side with your photos in Lightroom. You’ll even be able to add keywords, ratings, and metadata to videos.
There are plenty of other new features in Lightroom 3 – enhanced performance, faster catalog backups, Flickr export, film grain simulation, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the new features, or are unfamiliar with Lightroom’s capabilities, please check out the B&H Product Description.