Editing RAW photos on the Windows platform wasn't always an easy thing to do. Photographers have for years relied on their camera maker's software, or more expensive third-party solutions that may not have a user-friendly interface.
While many may argue that Adobe Photoshop and other graphics software have already been around and supports the editing of all major graphic formats, it does not allow for a workflow that an independent RAW editor provides right from capture to editing and all the way to printing.
Nikon DSLR camera users will be familiar with Nikon Capture NX (now known as Nikon Capture Pro) software, whilst other professional photographers would have relied on Capture One Pro by Alpha One. Although there are these softwares that support RAW, very few actually make RAW editing a pleasant journey. I myself have been looking for a better alternative to Nikon Capture NX. I find Nikon Capture too slow and memory-intensive.
A few months ago, Apple delivered Aperture to Apple users and I was captivated by the interface. It really made RAW editing a breeze. I was hoping that someone would introduce something like that to the Windows platform. Boy, am I glad someone was listening! Let me introduce you to the Windows-equivalent of the Apple Aperture software - Adobe Lightroom!
Adobe Lightroom Beta 4
Adobe Lightroom was certainly developed with professional photographers in mind. But the casual photographer or the enthusiast who is keen to bring out the best in their photos should take a look at what this product can offer. While it may be designed to work best with RAW files, it works just as well on the more common JPEG format.
Adobe Lightroom is currently still in beta testing. Fortunately, it was a public beta test, which means that even you can try it out today! But while you download, let us show you what Adobe Lightroom can do. After four weeks of testing, we are quite happy with what Adobe has produced. Although there were few shortcomings, they were nothing we can't live with.
Let's check it out!
For this review, I relied on my trusty Nikon D70 that produces its RAW files in the 12-bit NEF format. Photo editing requires a fast PC with lots of RAM and a large screen real estate. Although I have a 20" wide-screen LCD monitor running at 1680 x 1050, I am still making do with a 1.8GHz Intel Pentium 4 PC with just 512MB of RAM.
On a brighter note, I had the Windows paging file relocated to a second hard drive which improves its performance. Furthermore, I installed Adobe Lightroom on Windows Vista and this allowed me to take advantage of the ReadyBoost feature. I reserved 960MB of cache using ReadyBoost. It's not as great as having 2GB of real RAM, but it's really much better than relying on just 512MB of RAM.