I’ve been a beta tester for the new family of Adobe Lightroom products since the program was opened to me last year and I’ve been absolutely enjoying testing out the latest features and submitting bug notices as well as chatting with hundreds of other Adobe Lightroom users from all over the world. The beta testing *is* completely confidential and I’m not allowed to talk about what’s coming up in the next release or what features are being added or tested, so I decided to create this post about the changes in the new v7.2 release in advance to have it all ready for the official public release since there are so many new features and improvements, some of which, I am happy to say I’ve been directly involved in providing feedback to improve the issues.
Let me start by saying, this is NOT the Lightroom you’ve been complaining about for years. Adobe has listened and has made fundamental changes under the hood to improve almost every aspect of usability.
One of my personal favorite improvements is the “Embedded & Sidecar” option for rendering previews during the import process. Why? Well, it’s incredibly fast. No, it’s still not Photo Mechanic fast, but you can start culling images within minutes of beginning your import. What makes it fast? Well, as you may know, when you capture an image with your modern digital camera and shoot in RAW – you do, right? – the camera creates a JPG preview using the develop settings you’ve selects in the camera and embeds it inside of the RAW image. Using the new “Embedded & Sidecar” option immediately starts extracting the preview JPGs as soon as all the images are imported. Although this isn’t completely new in v7.2, it has been further improved since it was introduced in v7.1. As of this release, you can skip ahead in the folder you have imported and LR is now smart enough to skip ahead with you and start grabbing the embedded previews from your new location in the folder, allowing you to very quickly jump to different positions in your shoot and have full size, pre-rendered previews available almost instantly. For the most part, using “Embedded and Sidecar” previews allows me to begin culling immediately and not completely hate myself for suffering through the process before jumping to Photo Mechanic and giving up on LR every time. You can find this option under the File Handling section of the Import dialog as a selection got the “Build Previews”. You will still see your traditional choices of 1:1, Standard and Minimal as well, but none of these are faster than Embedded & Sidecar.
Speaking of importing, you should also find that the import grid view is now *much* faster when it populates and you change or select the folder you want to import. Much faster!
Although the 7.1 release introduced several performance enhancements, it seems that Adobe decided to really dig in with the 7.2 release. Some of the major improvements can be found when rendering adjustments in the Develop module, especially is you’ve used noise reduction and/or sharpening. You’ll find that while walking through your images in both the Loupe *and* Develop views. In general, especially on Windows, you will find Lightroom 7.2 is much more responsive when changing modules, selecting tools and changing views.
I’m not a huge HDR/Pano user but you will also find that rendering high resolution Panos and HDR images is dramatically improved from previous versions.
Finally, you will find exporting images is now tremendously improved. Yes, it’s still true that exporting multiple tasks is still faster than exporting everything in a single task, but is significantly improved, especially with high core count CPUs.
Performance is finally catching up and I have to give Adobe a huge thumbs up for listening and recognizing that our time as photographers is important and improving performance of the software we use gives up more time to do more important things than edit photos. I just wish it didn’t take so long…
I’ve had a number of conversations with fellow photographers and LR users over the strengths of using Collections. Well, Adobe has made it even easier to create new collections. The first and like the one you’ll want to use is found by simply right clicking on a folder and choosing “Create Collection from Folder.” Nice!!
The second new spot you will find to create a new collection is in the Map module. I have to admit, I don;t use GPS and have *never* used the Map module. In fact, I have it hidden on my system, but I know a number of landscape photographers who use it regularly, so you may very well appreciate being able to right click on a map pin and choose “Create Collection from Pin” to add all the photos associated with the location pin into a new collection.
Ever wanted to search in folder for keywords, titles, etc? Now you can. You’ll find at the top of the Folder menu there is now a new search bar sitting there. If you click on the looking glass icon, you;ll also find a hint about another new feature in that you can choose to search “All Folders” or “Favorite Folders” alone. The search filters visible folders to only those that meet the filter. Make sure you click the ‘x’ icon when you’re done to reveal the original folders.
Speaking of Favorite Folders, you can now flag individual folders as Favorites. So far, I only see this used in the folder search panel, but I can see more uses coming in future releases. To mark a folder as a Favorite, simply right click the folder and choose “Mark as Favorite.”
Are you one of those photographers who loves to hate tethering in LR? Well, there have been performance improvements throughout. I’ve heard many people complain about how LR is terrible at tethering. From lost connections to having tethering simply stop in the middle of a shoot and require a restart. I rarely shoot tethered, but I can sympathize because I’ve had the same experience and it made me hate tethering. I can tell you that although file transfers from your camera to the computer *really* depends on the cables you use and has very little to do with LR. Where LR has always failed was in how it took the tethered capture and “Auto Imported” those images. It took forever, even when shooting reduced size RAW files and even JPGs were painful. With LR v7.2, I can tell you that the stability is incredible. Although I rarely shoot tethered, I purposefully shot three sessions in early January just to test it and it worked perfectly. Even when shooting full resolution files with my D850, it still took less than 2 seconds to see the high resolution preview on the computer screen using an older USB 2.1 cable. I suspect using a USB 3.1 cable would make this process even faster. I even tried unplugging the cable and then reconnecting it, shutting off the camera and powering it back up. LR recovered on it’s own every time without any intervention from me. I can’t see this being any more stable, it worked flawlessly, every time. Another high five for Adobe!
Finally, more filter choices have been added in the library module, develop module and Smart Collections. I’ve had several conversations as well with photographers who create multiple folders specifically to keep images they have edited separate from images they haven’t edited yet. I’ve always used star ratings and flags to allow quick selection of finished edits and In-Progress and Unedited images. As of v7.2 you can now find “Has Edits” or “Has Adjustments” as a choice in the Library filter bar, the Filmstrip custom filters and even in the Smart Collection option screen.
You can quickly click the “Has Edits” icon, or alternatively “Has No Edits” icon in the filmstrip to filter the strip to only display images you’ve either made adjustments or not made adjustments in LR. You can, of course, combine other filters like Star ratings, Color ratings and flags as well to further filter your filmstrip with simple clicks to make your selections.
So, I think you’ll find there are incredible improvements and features in this new release of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. Make sure you check your Creative Cloud subscription and upgrade to this latest release right away to take advantage of these improvements. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with our evaluation of these new features and improvements and we’ll see you again soon with the next release too!
Adobe also teased at a couple of other new features that are *AWESOME* but they decided to hold them back from the 7.2 release so I can’t talk about them quite yet. Fingers crossed for v7.3. 😉
If you haven’t already downloaded the update, it should be shown in your Adobe CC desktop tool right now, so don’t delay. This is an update you’ll want ASAP. Enjoy!!