So, yesterday was the big day for everyone in the photography community. The new version of Lightroom was finally released. Pages leaked, serves crashed, some people drooled, and others whined. It was a day filled with excitement and emotion – a day on which you may have missed the right information to allow you to take an informed decision about getting the new version. In this post, I am collecting all the latest information in what I hope is an easily digestible format – lots of videos included.
Important stuff first
Let’s get the important questions out of the way first.
Q: Is there a perpetual license or only a CC version?
A: There is a perpetual license for the new Lightroom. Thus, you can buy it in stores and online for $149. If you have a Creative Cloud subscription that includes Lightroom, you can download and install it right now.
Q: What’s the difference between the two versions?
A: In Lightroom 6 (the non-CC version you can buy in stores) you will not get Lightroom mobile. Thus, you cannot sync your images via the Creative Cloud and process them on your mobile devices. You will also not get the continuous updates you get through CC. Whenever a new package of features is added to Lightroom, CC users will get an update instantly and without additional cost. Lightroom 6 users will not get this. Other than that, both versions are equivalent. Future updates to the CC version will probably change this, however.
What are the new features?
As always when a new version of a program comes out, there are all kinds of big and small new features and changes. I will not go through all of them, but only through the ones that may really change your mind and make you update from Lightroom 5 to Lightroom 6, for example.
Adobe has added facial recognition to the Library module. You can now let it collect similar looking faces for you, and you can then give these faces a name. This may help if you have lots of portraits or family photo, for example.
Merge to panorama
You can now merge several photos into a panorama directly in Lightroom. Before that, you had to go to a program like Photoshop to do that. One of the cool things about this is the fact that the resulting panorama is stored as a DNG file. So, if you stitch raw files, the output is a raw file again. This opens lots of possibilities for the post-processing.
Merge to HDR
You can also create an HDR image directly in Lightroom now. You would have needed software like Photomatix or Photoshop to achieve that before. Merged HDR files are also output as DNG files.
Improved graduated and radial filters
The graduated and radial filter tools now let you use a new Brush tool to change the masks associated with these filters in arbitrary ways. Before that, a graduated filter would be limited to a transition along a straight line. Now, using the new Brush, you can add areas or remove them from the filter mask as you see fit.
Create custom web galleries
Before the new version, the quality and flexibility of the web galleries you were able to create were rather mediocre. That has changes with the new version.
Music in slideshows
You can now add up to 10 music tracks to your slideshows. Before that, you could only add a single track. The new version also lets you sync your slideshow to the music.
Performance has been a weak point in Lightroom 5. Lightroom 6 & CC can now use compatible graphics cards to speed up a number of operations. This will reportedly improve the speed of some operations up to 1000% and more.
The features explained above are only the headline features. There is a ton of other improvements that may or may not be relevant in your day to day work. A great place to start exploring these new features is the Lightroom Learning Center at KelbyOne.com. You will get video instructions on the big and small new features there.
Anything missing, let me know?
Is there any cool feature I am missing here? Let me know in the comments below. And tell me what you think about the new version. Are you excited or disappointed?