Lightroom 5 released

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Develop module

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 has been officially released. In my experience it’s as bit more responsive than Lightroom 4. Want to learn more about it? Start here:

Announcement on the Lightroom blog at adobe.com

Hot Issues on the Lightroom blog

Adobe list of learning resources at adobe.com

Before you order an upgrade, remember to check all of your professional memberships and educational associations to see if discounts on Adobe software are part of your membership. In particular, if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, the upgrade is included with your subscription and available immediately; use the Creative Cloud desktop application to download it. By itself, Lightroom 5 is a $79 upgrade.

Mac App Store upgrade: If you look for Lightroom 5 at the Mac App Store, it isn’t there. Adobe has a tech note providing information about how to upgrade Lightroom 4 from the Mac App Store to Lightroom 5. It says “If you purchased Lightroom 4 from the Mac App Store and want to upgrade to Lightroom 5, purchase the upgrade from Adobe or another vendor.” The Lightroom 5 upgrade installer will recognize your Mac App Store license and upgrade it.

Adobe doesn’t say why Lightroom 5 is not available on the Mac App Store. It could be because the Mac App Store does not provide a paid upgrade path. The Mac App Store allows apps to be sold for only one price with free updates; upgrade discounts and free trials are not allowed by Apple. It’s also possible that Lightroom 5 has not yet been coded for the special requirements of the Mac App Store, but Adobe has not said whether Lightroom will return to the Mac App Store. Buying from the App Store has the advantage of easy installation and use on up to 5 Mac computers, but updates tend to take a little longer to appear than from Adobe because of the App Store approval process.

Potential gotchas

List of known problems. Review both the Known Issues listed at the end of the Lightroom blog post linked above, and also the Hot Issues blog post linked above.

If you post a lot of small photos to web sites, blogs, social media, or email, and if you shoot a lot of images at high ISO speed settings, you may want to delay upgrading to Lightroom 5 because one of the known issues is this: “Images exported at less than 1/3 of their original size may not retain Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction settings.”  It may not be a problem for you if you don’t apply output sharpening or noise reduction to most of your images, or if you upload/share full-size images. I ran into this issue and had to work around it by first exporting images from Lightroom 5 at full size so that noise reduction would be applied, and then I imported those into Lightroom 4 so that output sharpening would be applied when I exported them to the final small JPEG files.

Before you convert a catalog from an earlier version of Lightroom, optimize it and back it up! This can help prevent problems during conversion. To optimize, choose File > Optimize Catalog. When backing up, if you don’t want to turn on automatic backups, in the Catalog Settings dialog box you can select When Lightroom Next Exits and it will back it up just that one time, while also checking the catalog for integrity.

If you open raw files from Lightroom 5 into Photoshop, keep in mind that the raw processing engine inside Lightroom 5 is now ahead of the one in Camera Raw 7, which comes with Photoshop CS6. To successfully preserve the raw settings from Lightroom 5 in Photoshop CS6 or later, you’ll need Camera Raw 8 or later. You can now download Adobe Camera Raw 8.1 now by choosing Help > Updates in Photoshop CS6, from the Creative Cloud desktop application if you’re an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, or by direct download (choose Camera Raw from the Find Product Updates pop-up menu).

Mac version requires OS X 10.7 or later. With Lightroom 5, the system requirements have moved up so that your Mac must be running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later before you  are allowed to install it. Many users have been using Lightroom 4 on a workstation running 10.6.8 Snow Leopard because Snow Leopard is a familiar, stable release, and when Lion first came out there were bugs in areas such as printing that caused many creatives to stay with Snow Leopard. Well, it’s two years later and time to let go of that anxiety. While some dislike the iOS-like additions to Lion and Mountain Lion, I have found that much of that can be switched off and I’m comfortable with the Mountain Lion experience on my MacBook Pro.

If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber and Lightroom 5 does not appear in the Creative Cloud desktop application as available for installation, one reason may be that the Mac does not meet the Lightroom 5 system requirements. It actually took me a few minutes to figure this out after wondering why Lightroom 5 wasn’t listed on one of my Macs; I finally realized that Mac runs Snow Leopard and needs to be upgraded.

(To put this in context, Lightroom’s direct competitor Apple Aperture dropped Snow Leopard support a year ago when Aperture 3.3 was released in June 2012. Snow Leopard users were supported for a significantly longer time by Adobe than by Apple itself.)

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