It’s just about the one year anniversary of Lightroom’s rebranding to Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC, and today Adobe is releasing the next version of Lightroom Classic (8.0) and Lightroom CC for Mac/Win (2.0), along with updates for Lightroom CC on iOS and Android. whew. Let’s dive in!
Lightroom Classic 8.0
Lightroom Classic is still front and center in my workflow (though I do love Lightroom CC on mobile a lot), and I’m glad to see Adobe is maintaining their commitment to keeping it updated with new features, camera support, and bug fixes. I think it is safe to say that the days of splashy new versions packed with new features every 18 months are behind us. Instead we’ve gotten new features, camera support, and bug fixes every two months. This update does come with a new version number, but it is an incremental growth over version 7.5 in keeping with the pattern we’ve seen throughout the year.
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New Process Version
The process version is the secret sauce for processing our photos, and this is something that should continue to evolve and improve. Process Version 5 will be the default for newly imported photos from now on (until it changes), and it brings improvements to image quality in high ISO raw photos and an improvement to the rendering of negative Dehaze. I’m not really one to use negative amounts of Dehaze, but comparing the same amount of Dehaze to a photo using Process Version 4 (top) to the new Process Version 5 (bottom) does show an improvement in retaining color and contrast for the same slider value.
You can change process versions via the Camera Calibration panel to test it for yourself. Current photos with older process versions will not be changed by Lightroom. You can change them manually if you wish, but you do not have to do this. You’d only change the process version of a previously edited photo if you want to leverage the new features added to the latest process version. I’ll probably only do this in rare cases to old photos, but I see no problem moving forward with Process Version 5 as the new default.
Single Step HDR Pano
Ever since we gained the ability to merge to HDR and Pano within Lightroom I’ve shot a lot more HDR and panoramas, often just to create higher resolution images of more typical aspect ratios (as opposed to the true panoramic aspect ratios). If the situation seems to call for it, and I have time, I’ll even shoot for HDR and panorama at the same time. While the merge to HDR and pano functions made it relatively easy to first combine all the brackets into HDR images, and then merge all the HDR images into a pano, it has just gotten so much easier. Now all you need to do is select all the frames from your HDR pano, then right-click one and go to Photo Merge > HDR Panorama (or via the Photo > Photo Merge menu).
Classic takes them all into the new HDR Panorama Merge Preview dialog, where you can select a projection, perform boundary warp, auto crop, auto settings, and stack all the images together. Note, if you need to use Deghosting you’ll want to do it the old way and merge each HDR bracket individually so you can control the Deghosting settings (this dialog does not apply any). Clicking merge saves out the final HDR panorama. This will save me a lot of disk space by skipping the individual HDR image stage.
New Range Mask Option
If you have a dual lens iOS device that can create HEIC photos with embedded depth map data, then you can leverage the new option added to Range Mask in the local adjustments (Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush). The camera in Lightroom CC for iOS gained a new Depth Mode as a tech preview during the last update, which allows you to create those types of photos right in Lightroom CC. Everything created in my Lightroom CC app downloads to my Classic catalog automatically. Selecting one of those photos, I can apply a local adjustment, then choose Depth from the Range Mask drop-down menu.
This will reveal the new options associated with this type of mask. Due to the depth information contained in this photo, I can now limit the range of the mask based on that information. This provides a whole new level of control. I’ll have to explore this in a tutorial for another day, but from what I’ve seen so far it is very promising!
Note, you’ll only see the new Depth option when a photo with depth information is being edited.
Improved Tethering Experience
Some much needed attention has been given to the tethering experience for Canon. If you are a Canon shooter and shoot tethered you should see greater overall stability and an increase in transfer speeds. Adobe has stated that similar improvements are coming for Nikon in a future release. Here’s a link to all camera’s currently supported for tethering. The Canon EOS M50 and the Rebel T7 have been added in this release. They’ve also updated the online user guide for tethering to include new options for Canon shooters.
Lightroom CC 2.0 (Mac/Win)
New things came to Lightroom CC for Mac, Win, iOS, and Android too.
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The new Share tab makes it easier to access all of your shared albums, whether you’ve created them here in Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, on mobile, or even within lightroom.adobe.com.
The new Connections tool at the top of the Shared tab gives you the ability to create a connection with your Adobe Portfolio, and easily share albums to it. Adobe promises to continue to develop this feature to add connections to other online services (such as printing).
In the My Photos section of the left panel is a new People view tab. Leveraging the Adobe Sensei powered search, imported/synced photos are now analyzed for faces, and photos of the same person are grouped together to make them easier to find. At the time of this writing it was still crunching through my photos, so I look forward to test driving this when it is done.
The search also gained a new autocomplete feature that can suggest various bits of metadata (keywords, locations, camera, lens, ISO, etc.) based on what you have typed so far.
Color to Local Adjustments
I didn’t even realize this wasn’t already included, but Lightroom CC’s local adjustment tools now have the Color swatch for hand coloring/tinting your photos as part of the adjustment.
Migrate Apple Photos
If you’ve used Apple’s Photos app, and want a way to migrate your photos out of there and into Lightroom CC, you now have that functionality. Located under the File menu.
Lightrom CC for iOS and Android
The same People view and search improvements have been added to Lightroom CC for mobile devices as well. In addition, there are a few new guided tutorials (under Settings). The HDR capture on Android has also been improved.
iOS and Android also gained access to improved display options when sharing your albums to the web. On a shared album, tap the tri-dot menu and tap Share to Web. Under Share to Web tap Display to access options for changing the theme, appearance, entering author info, and filtering what photos appear based on flag or rating.
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New camera support and new lens support has also been added across all applications. Adobe Camera Raw is also being updated to version 11, so keep your eye out for that update as well. There’s a lot to absorb, and remember that the apps become available on a rolling basis, so if you don’t see it yet, just give it some time. Updates for mobile can take longer due to App store approval process.