Adobe Launches Lightroom 5 Beta, Adds Several Exciting Features


From the very first version of Lightroom in 2006, Adobe has been releasing public betas prior to shipping to make sure that the final product has all of the kinks worked out, and this year is no exception. Earlier today, Adobe released the public beta of its upcoming Lightroom 5, complete with video and photo examples of a few exciting new features.

First up is the Advanced Healing Brush, an enhancement to the Spot Removal Tool that allows you to use brush strokes to clone out unwanted parts of your photograph. No need to use the round dropper to do your work.

Also demonstrated in the video below is a new Visualize Spots tool that photogs who scan negatives or have sensor dust issues will greatly appreciate. This tool highlights dust spots so that you can more easily remove them without having to scour the image first.

Check out the demo below:


Next up is the Radial Filter, which takes the place of the adjustment brush and masking for those that want something more straight forward. The radial filter allows you to apply local adjustments to a circular mask. That mask can then be resized, feathered or even inverted to make any highlights or adjustments look as natural as possible.

Here’s that demo:


The last feature given its own video presentation is certainly not the least in terms of wow-factor. It’s called Upright, and it completely automates the straightening and/or cropping work involved in leveling a horizon or adjusting perspective. This one speaks for itself, so be sure to watch the video below to see all of the Upright feature’s ins and outs:


One final very noteworthy feature that can’t really be demoed and so didn’t come with its own video is Lightroom 5’s new Smart Preview capability. This’ll be especially useful if you use an ultrabook (e.g. MacBook Air) for your editing as it’ll save you from using all of your SSD space.

What Smart Preview does is store small, lossy DNG versions of your RAW files on your computer as “previews” that you can edit even if the original file isn’t present. Any edits you make to the “preview” are immediately applied to the original as soon as the file is found. No need to waste space keeping your originals on your computer’s hard drive, you can keep them on an external and plug it in occasionally to transfer edits.

That’s it for the big features Adobe has in store for Lightroom 5. The beta is out and available for you to download and play with to your heart’s content at this link. It’ll be fully functional until June 30th when Adobe will kindly ask you to fork over a yet undisclosed sum of money to keep it that way. Check out Adobe’s press release for more details.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    Any word on whether Adobe has addressed the horrendous speed issues present in Lightroom 4? Its so painfully slow I almost don’t want to use it anymore.

  • Mansgame

    You can buy a fast new computer for a few hundred bucks.

  • Connor A

    I’m not sure if i am doing something wrong, but I can’t open my Lightroom 4 catalogs in the beta. Any help?

  • George w

    Any news on that de-blur software they showed a demo of last year or so?

  • Fabian

    Try just importing the pictures out of your LR4 catalog

  • Photog

    Did you pay attention to the videos?

    You should NOT try to open your current catalogs with the Beta.

  • Jake

    Or you can make a program that works properly on existing technology without forcing consumers to pay a few hundred bucks extra.

  • Neoracer Xox

    I never had problems with it either 12 gb ram does help:)

  • mbaltrusitis

    Mansgame might be rude about it but he may have a point. As slow as Lightroom 4 may be on your current hardware, Aperture 3 would be an absolute dog on those same specs.

  • mbaltrusitis

    Mansgame might be rude about it but he may have a point. As slow as Lightroom 4 may be on your current hardware, Aperture 3 would be an absolute dog on those same specs.

  • Irrational User

    My 386 can’t use Lightroom at all. Goddamn Adobe!

  • John Kantor

    LIghtroom 1 was incredibly badly designed and bug-ridden. Lightroom 2 salvaged the design, but was still bug-ridden. Lightroom 3 works pretty well. Lightroom 4 is a dog with ludicrously bad changes to the user interface that were obviously some programmers idea of “what works better.” The best thing we can hope for is the Lightroom 5 isn’t worse.

  • Pourio Lee

    Wiener spot removal.

  • Thomas Lawn

    You don’t realize lightroom is slow until you try photo mechanic, then you realize 5 minutes for a download is 5 minutes too long.

  • Thomas Lawn

    I like that the first thing she draws is a middle finger (or a phallus, depending on your predilections and/or drawing ability).

    In all seriousness, Julianne Kost is amazing.

  • Mike

    I can’t see any controls for mask copy/paste/invert :(

  • HÃ¥vard Fandrem

    Still no Content Aware?

  • BrokenHelix79

    I don’t know what “ludicrously bad changes” you’re referring to, but my workflow has sped up with every new iteration of Lightroom. It’s not perfect, and it’s a bit slow even on my hefty PC, but I truly believe Adobe is trying to make the best photo editing/cataloging software on the planet.

  • heikki

    Hmm, I see a massive amount of radial filters incoming with clarity set to minus gazillion. Bad artificial bokeh anyone?

  • phototodo

    There is no way you could buy the necessary power to notice a true performance improvement for a few hundred dollars. Throwing money at it does not solve the speed issues. Just built a 6-core Vishera with 16GB RAM, Samsung 840 Pro SSD, USB 3.0 reader and 6670 video card. I noticed a moderate bump in speed but mostly to disk intensive actions such as launch, open catalog and switch to catalog view. Convert to DNG, switch to Develop module, noise luminance, import, export, and publish are still just as laborious as on the quad core 12GB it replaced. The USB 3.0 reader is noticeably faster to copy files to SSD/HDD but no significant improvement to Lightroom import.

  • Robert Johnson

    I would love to see folders updated on startup with the new photos auto imported but not moved. It is a pain to have to import.

  • Renato Murakami

    I guess that’s going for Photoshop CS7 alone? Pitty if so

  • Adrian

    E-SATA is better than USB 3.0.. I know this is 300mbs vs 600mbs …but in real life speed is the same.. in addition e-sata uses less CPU compared to usb 3.0.. this is why I have Qnap raid with 2 WD blacks connected to pc via e-sata.