Lightroom 5 Beta is Here
It’s that time of year again when we can look forward to a new version of Lightroom. Yesterday Adobe released the Lightroom 5 Beta, and while it’s not a finished product, there’s a lot of new stuff to try out! Today we’ll take a quick look at some important changes in the Library and Develop workflows.
One of the innovative new features, that has real potential for improving Lightroom workflows moving forward, is the Smart Preview. Lightroom now provides the opportunity to create a special kind of preview at import (in addition to the default preview that is created with each file). This enables you to continue developing those files “offline”, if needed.
For example: if your primary computer is a laptop and your original photos are stored on external drives (e.g. import via Add), Smart Preview can ensure that when you’re not connected to your mobile drives, you can continue processing photos in the Develop module. The heart of the Smart Preview is a Lossy DNG format, which tends to maintain a higher quality than JPEG compression at smaller file sizes, and is quicker to load than full-sized previews. The downside is that with any lossy format, extreme changes to color or tonality can credit image artifacts; you may not have as much lattitude when editing shots that were taken under extreme lighting conditions, for example.
The example above shows a Catalog built from a mobile hard drive. When connected to the drive the words “Original + Smart Preview” appears in the Histogram area (the Yellow text was put there by yours truly for visual reference only). When you go offline (i.e. disconnect your drive and head to the coffee shop), only the Smart Preview item is visible and a small black icon appears on each thumbnail to let you know that the Smart Preview is active and ready for use.
Later when you re-connect to all your files, the changes that you made will be synced up with your metadata and original preview so that you don’t lose a beat!