Almost every function in Lightroom has a specified keyboard shortcut for quicker access. Using keyboard shortcuts is a great way to speed up your post-processing significantly, but memorizing all of them can be quite tough. You can view these Module-specific keyboard shortcuts by selecting “<…> Module Shortcuts…” from the Help menu at any time, or by hitting Ctrl + / on your keyboard. Mind you, as many as there are of the shortcuts listed in this table (shown for the Develop Module below), there’s actually more of them. You can find all the Lightroom 4 shortcuts in Adobe’s Help page for both Mac and Windows, while Lightroom 5 shortcut list should be available shortly.
After my “Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements” article, many of our readers suggested a comparison between Photoshop Elements (PSE) and Lightroom would be more useful. I must admit, I found such requests to be a little strange, because I believe both of these programs to be very different. The difference lies in both targeted user base as well as complexity and overall functionality. On the other hand, some features are shared between Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as between Lightroom and PSE. In this article, I will describe similarities and differences between these two popular post-processing applications by Adobe to see whether one can serve as a replacement or an alternative for the other.
Photoshop, PSE and Lightroom Differences
The three most popular image post-processing programs among photographers by Adobe – Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements – all target different user bases. While each can be used as a substitute for another in many situations, it usually results in a compromise. Let me give you a short user-base description for each product.
When I criticized Adobe for its “Creative Cloud” push, where I talked about how the company is forcing its customers to migrate to the Creative Cloud subscription service without giving the choice to buy an individual license for its upcoming software, I talked a little about the software update past. Basically, at some point in the past, Adobe decided to stop providing updates to its older Camera RAW software, telling us that the new versions were incompatible with the old ones and that updates would be provided only to the most recent versions of its software. This was a big push on behalf of Adobe, which forced many photographers to upgrade their Photoshop licenses – otherwise they were not be able to open RAW files from newer cameras.
Adobe Camera RAW is a widely used tool by photographers. Since photographers upgrade their equipment constantly, Adobe knew that the easiest way to make people upgrade to the latest version of its Photoshop software was to make new Camera RAW versions that were only compatible with the latest version of Photoshop. Eventually, photographers would be required to upgrade or inconveniently use Adobe’s DNG converter to convert those RAW files to DNG format and then work off those. If you used Photoshop CS5, you were forced to use Camera RAW 6 and you had no option to upgrade to Camera RAW 7 that ships with Photoshop CS6. Previous versions were done the same way, I believe starting from CS4.
Today Adobe officially released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, the latest and greatest version of its imaging software targeted specifically for photographers. Despite Adobe’s hard push for Creative Cloud, which we criticized heavily, Lightroom 5 will be available for purchase as individual license (which means that you can buy either the retail box version or an upgrade), or as part of a Creative Cloud subscription.
A short while ago, Adobe made an announcement many photographers (among other Adobe’s software users) found to be rather shocking. Adobe decided to stop developing Adobe Creative Suite and focus on its CC software. CC stands for Creative Cloud. Obviously, it doesn’t mean they will stop developing Photoshop and other popular programs, many of which are among the best on the market. However, CC will carry a number of changes, and, while we can safely assume most of them will be welcome, there is a huge catch. Adobe CC package will be available as subscription-only. That means, in order to use Photoshop and other CC package software, you will need to pay a monthly fee and connect to internet at least once a month (there a several varying conditions), which, for me, sounds much like… renting. We wrote an article on the topic where we discuss Adobe’s decision in more detail – suffice to say, we weren’t exactly thrilled with excitement. I must admit, though, Photoshop wasn’t the main reason for me worrying. After all, I like CS5 and CS6 fine and, with the exception of RAW support, don’t see why I’d need to update anytime soon. What I was worried about most is Lightroom. Was it to undergo the same changes?
By now you have probably heard about Adobe’s decision to stop development of Adobe Creative Suite (which includes such software as Photoshop and Illustrator) and move to a completely different subscription-only model. In short, Adobe does not want to sell packaged versions of its software anymore and wants you to instead pay for select software packages or the whole Creative Suite on a monthly basis. For example, today you can purchase Adobe Photoshop CS6 for $599 and own the license, which means that you can install it on your computer and use it whenever you want without limitations. With the new Adobe pricing strategy, you will no longer be able to purchase Photoshop that way – you will have to get a $20 per month subscription for using Photoshop alone (or $50 for the whole Creative Suite). There will be no other option. Software will be delivered over the Internet and once you get it installed, it will make occasional requests over the Internet to Adobe.com to verify your subscription level. Creative Cloud will work the same way that CS6 works today, except it will require an active subscription. When traveling without any Internet connectivity, the software will work for a limited amount of time (something like 30 days) before ceasing to work and requiring you to connect to the Internet.
Digital photography has become extremely popular thanks to its accessibility and speed, but to get the best out of those photographs some time needs to be spent editing and tweaking them. Thankfully, plenty of applications are available for you to complete such tasks with, starting with moderate and user-friendly functionality of Google Picasa all the way up to most complex pieces of software, such as Adobe Photoshop (or simply PS). In fact, Photoshop is probably one of the most popular photo processing programs currently available. Most people that use it know but a few percent of its capabilities and are likely never to use all of it, myself included! Fewer people still understand that it has never been targeted squarely for photographic use (the way Adobe Lightroom is, for example), but rather all sorts of graphical editing. How much sense does it make to use such a complex and professional piece of software to edit simple family photographs? Not that much if you’re a simple enthusiast who just wants high quality photographs with minimal fuss. Thankfully, Adobe has something for you as well. Photoshop Elements (PSE in short) is a lighter, simpler, quicker version of its sibling. In essence, it offers all the functionality you’ll ever need to edit your JPG and even RAW images, but through user friendly tools and interface. In this Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements article, I will give you a quick tour of 11 capabilities of Photoshop Elements. Hopefully, this brief comparison will help you decide which one is better for your needs.
What is Photoshop Elements?
As the name would suggest, Photoshop Elements is a close relative to the Photoshop CS, but unlike its bigger brother, it’s not targeted at professionals. Don’t get me wrong – Photoshop Elements 11 has a lot tricks up its sleeve, such as RAW support through Adobe Camera RAW plug-in. On one hand, anyone familiar with the regular, full-fledged Photoshop will find themselves right at home. But Elements doesn’t encourage you to use any serious tools manually – in fact, it aims to do most of the work for you with just a few clicks. So if you want your family images to pop and stand out with minimal fuss regardless what sort of gear you use, be it a DSLR, a mirrorless camera or a compact point-and-shoot, this may well be your answer. Luckily, being targeted at a very different audience means the price is also significantly lower. Adobe Photoshop CS6 retails for around $590, while the Extended edition costs a whopping $900. You should really consider whether you need all that functionality, because Photoshop Elements 11 will set you back a mere $60 (current price with instant savings).
A while ago Adobe announced Release Candidates of Lightroom 4.4 and Camera RAW 7.4. These versions were close to being finished, but may have contained some bugs. Today, Adobe has made the full versions of their updates available. The main goal of these updates is to add support for recently announced cameras (25 of them, actually), but there’s a number of important improvements, too. This is quite a big update. First and foremost, Adobe claims better handling of Fuji’s X-Trans sensor RAW files.
Camera and Lens Support
Here is the (rather extensive) list of newly supported camera models:
- Canon EOS 1D C
- Canon ESO 100D (Digital Rebel SL1 / EOS Kiss Digital X7)
- Canon EOS 700D (Digital Rebel T5i / EOS Kiss Digital X7i)
- Casio Exilim EX-ZR700
- Casio Exilim EX-ZR710
- Casio Exilim EX-ZR750
- Fujifilm FinePix F900EXR
- Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR
- Fujifilm FinePix SL1000
- Fujifilm X100s
- Fujifilm X20
- Hasselblad H5D-40
- Hasselblad H5D-50
- Hasselblad Lunar
- LEICA M (Typ 240)
- Nikon 1 J3
- Nikon 1 S1
- Nikon D7100
- Nikon Coolpix A
- Nikon Coolpix P330 (preliminary support)
- Olympus XZ-10
- Pentax MX-1
- Samsung NX300
- Sony Alpha NEX-3N
- Sony Alpha SLT-A58
Adobe has made their almost-finished versions of Lightroom 4.4 and Camera RAW 7.4 available for download. These Release Candidates (RC) have been thoroughly tested, but are subject to improvement over the next few months before final versions are available. So far, Lightroom 4.4 RC is a free download for all current Lightroom 4 customers and will expire by 31st of May. Adobe Camera RAW 7.4 RC will expire on 30th of April. Why are these RC updates important? Well, first of all because of the added support for newest camera models:
- Canon EOS-1D C
- Casio Exilim EX-ZR700
- Fujifilm X100S
- Fujifilm X20
- Hasselblad Lunar
- Leica M
- Nikon 1 J3
- Nikon 1 S1
- Pentax MX1
Now, you may notice the rather peculiar addition of Hasselblad Lunar mirrorless camera which is said to be based on NEX-7, but with a full-frame sensor. There is a reason why I chose words “said to be”, because the camera is yet unfinished and thus unavailable. A rare feat making software support available before the actual camera is even officially announced.
New lens profiles are also present:
- Canon 24-70 f/4L IS
- Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO HSM for Sony and Pentax
- Sigma APO MACRO 180mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM for Sony
- Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM for Canon, Sigma and Nikon
- Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM for Canon and Sigma
There is a possibility that new cameras and lenses in addition to the ones mentioned above will be supported when final versions are released.
Update: Looks like the information was incorrect after all – Adobe is NOT giving away CS2 for free. According to Dov Isaacs of Adobe, “On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2! What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download). Apparently there still is no such thing as a free lunch… ;)
In a rather interesting move, Adobe has made the decision to allow users to download its 2005 Creative Suite Premium (CS2), which includes Photoshop, for free. One can speculate regarding the reasons behind the strategy. On one hand, it is hard to imagine that Adobe was counting on any revenue from this older version, since software firms normally only license the current version of their products. On the other hand, Adobe may be looking to entice some fence sitters to consider easing their way into Photoshop.
How does this benefit you? The Channel Mixer! My main purpose for originally purchasing Photoshop vs. Elements or other program was this one feature. As I demonstrated in my infrared photography article, the Channel Mixer allows you to extract the portions of visible and invisible infrared light in a way no other feature currently provides. This feature may not be exploited as much by others, but it is a prerequisite for those that are serious about infrared photography. I am now hopelessly addicted to the full blown version of Photoshop CS6, but if this feature had been available in other programs, I don’t know how quickly I would have jumped on the Photoshop bandwagon. By allowing users to download Photoshop CS2 for free, Adobe has lowered the costs and challenges for those considering entering the world of infrared photography. And this is just one of the features of Photoshop – there are many more great tools available in Photoshop CS2 that you can utilize for your photography needs.