Adobe Announces Lightroom - Let the Games Begin

by Derrick Story

I have a First Look at Lightroom article on Macworld Mag's site. Here's how it starts:

The first impulse most photographers will have is to compare Adobe’s just announced Lightroom to Aperture, Apple’s pro level photo app. And well they should. We may have a real clash of the titans on our hands here.

Adobe promotes Lightroom as “the efficient new way for professional photographers to import, select, develop, and showcase large volumes of digital images.” Unlike Photoshop—Adobe’s image-editing application that must serve many masters, including graphic artists and Web designs—Lightroom is aimed squarely at photographers. That said, Photoshop complements Lightroom when there’s a heavy image-editing task to handle. And Lightroom makes it easy to open a picture in Photoshop. Generally speaking, though, the tools in Photoshop that photographers need most of the time exist right within Lightroom.

Even at this early public beta stage, it’s clear that Adobe has done its homework. Lightroom is powerful, intuitive, and tailored specifically for the serious shooter.

I get into the details of this in the rest of the article. But I have to tell you here, this will be a very good app. And it dawns on me that we now have two robust photo editors available for the Mac, and nothing for Windows. My how things have changed...


2006-01-09 08:05:37
competition is goooood!
i think its great that adobe finally has the will to compete rather than run away in the Mac space (think Premier). i took a look at the tutorial video last night and Lightroom has a lot of catching up to do to refine their workflow and user interface. they've also got some great features (quick picks) that Apple should be paying attention to.

as long as the competitive arms race for an application like this doesn't result in feature bloat, we'll all end up with better tools that much more closely fit the new paradigms of the digitally based professional photographer.

2006-01-09 08:19:15
Support for Windows
The Adobe website for Lightroom says that while the Beta is only for Mac, the final product will support both Mac and Windows.

2006-01-09 09:13:57
Freely-available software in commercial apps
The Lightroom README includes copyright notices for DTCVersionManager (, Lua ( and SQLite (

It's interesting to see open-source projects with liberal licenses becoming so useful to commercial operating systems and applications.

I'd never heard of DTCVersionManager before. So those FOSS license terms which require inclusion of copyright notices make for good advertising :)

2006-01-09 09:17:09
What's "Pro" in LightRoom?
I've been playing a bit with the beta of LightRoom. It seems nice, but I don't see that many pro features in there yet. It's more in par with iPhoto than with Aperture I'd say. To be honest, I haven't used Aperture yet, but from the screenshots it seems to be capable of much more than LightRoom. If it's done, it might be tempted to use it over iPhoto, but I ain't convinced yet...

2006-01-09 09:58:56
What's "Pro" in LightRoom?
The pro features are there, and easily recognizable, if you are an Adobe Camera Raw user. It looks to me like Lightroom is a user-interface-optimized version of the pro-level raw conversion features already available in Camera Raw and Bridge. This is a good thing, because what few people mentioned in Apple's Aperture rollout is that Camera Raw and Bridge can already do much of what Aperture does, but in a far less elegant way. Lightroom looks like an attempt to make Camera Raw and Bridge as elegant as they should have been in the first place.

It may not look "pro" if your idea of "pro" is an interface that is technical enough to scare the newbies away and preserve the elitist technology priesthood. For example, while some have scoffed at the Tone Curve feature and asking where the "real curves" are, I've noticed that a couple of early reviews of Lightroom have praised the Tone Curve as being as powerful as curves but not as intimidating. These reviewers actually seem relieved that someone had decided to improve the traditional curves interface. I guess we just have a lot to learn about where today's apps are going.

2006-01-09 10:08:29
Another goodie from
Ha! See for Javscript that warns that MSIE is an "inferior browser" and may "render the page incorrectly" with a suggestion to "upgrade to Firefox" with a link! That's great. That's gotta go on my next website upgrade!
2006-01-09 10:21:26
Freely-available software in commercial apps
Folks from Adobe were talking about this project (without giving away too much of what the app was for) at last year's Lua Workshop. They wrote most of the user interface code in Lua, atop a custom GUI framework.

(According to this note at the Lua website, "40%" of the app's code is Lua: )

Lua is a compact but elegant scripting language that's become popular in embedded systems and in games (including World Of Warcraft and Psychonauts). Using it in a major productivity app is a pretty ballsy move that recalls the Java hype of the late '90s. I'll have to download Lightroom if only to see whether the app performs better than desktop Java apps!

2006-01-09 12:55:12
What's "Pro" in LightRoom?
One more thing...

"It's more in par with iPhoto than with Aperture I'd say.

Seems like you didn't take a good enough look at it. Have you watched the movie?

Lightroom is like Aperture in that its target audience is completely separate from iPhoto. You can't compare iPhoto to either. The movie showed me that Lightroom, even unfinished, is much closer to Aperture than iPhoto.

2006-01-09 12:58:53
Aperture database...
BTW, did you know that Lightroom imports the photos stored in the Aperture database?

Works, try it...

2006-01-09 23:23:32
Is there a sort command. As in by date or file name?
2006-01-10 05:11:34
Freely-available software in commercial apps
really? looks like a cocoa app to me:

$ otool -L /Volumes/Lightroom/
/System/Library/Frameworks/Foundation.framework/Versions/C/Foundation (compatibility version 300.0.0, current version 500.57.0)
/System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Versions/C/AppKit (compatibility version 45.0.0, current version 743.36.0)
/System/Library/Frameworks/Cocoa.framework/Versions/A/Cocoa (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 9.0.0)
/usr/lib/libmx.A.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 47.1.0)
/usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib (compatibility version 1.0.0, current version 71.1.3)

2006-01-10 05:22:35
Freely-available software in commercial apps
hmmm. definitely would be interesting to know the internal construction of this app.
2006-01-10 11:34:02
Sorting-found it
And it wasn't hidden.
2006-06-06 06:48:23
Please let me know when Light Room is available for a PC.
eR mood
2006-06-14 05:58:11
Janice, you can subscribe on the lightroom website to get informed of the windows release.