Lightroom 4.1 RC2 on Adobe Labs

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Adobe Labs have a new release candidate version of Lightroom 4.1. I pushed it out at the launch time on Twitter, but held back here to have a closer look.

As well as the additional support for new cameras, like the Canon 5D Mark III, there’s 2 new features. The first is the ability to read up to 32 bit Tiff HDR files. What this means is you can now create full HDR files in HDR Pro in Photoshop and tone map the photos in Lightroom.

I’ve tested both HDR Pro in PS, and Photomatix Pro file. The files from Photoshop take the middle exposure as the baseline, and are easy to process in Lightroom. The ones from Photomatix Pro are on the bright side and need to have exposure cut by a lot to start working on them. It’s still great to see this feature in Lightroom. While you still need an external tool to do the merge, it’s one step closer to full HDR control in Lightroom.

To make the file in HDR Pro, open Photoshop, go to the File>Automate menu, and select Merge to HDR Pro.

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Alternatively, use Merge to HDR Pro with the images selected in Lightroom.

Browse to select the files to create a HDR. I’ve clicked the 32bit option and then press Return. Depending on the file you may need to choose a more optimal White Point using the slider first. Once the file is back in Photoshop, choose Save as and choose Tiff as the option. Import the the file into Lightroom where you can use more familiar controls to edit it. If you merged to HDR in Lightroom, save the file to bring it back into Lightroom.

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The other feature is that Chromatic Abberation now has a dedicated section in the Lens Corrections panel. As 4.0 only had a tickbox for automatic correction of red/cyan and blue/yellow fringing, the new option also allow for purple/green fringes that appear on highlight edges with wider apertures.

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There’s an eyedropper to help select the fringe colour, and modifier keys to help refine it. While I could do a short tutorial, I think people will benefit more from reading Eric Chan’s tutorial on it. Eric coded the feature, so knows more than anyone else on it.

You can find more detail on the Release Candidate over at Lightroom Journal including bug fixes and camera additions.

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