Adobe has released Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.1 and 6.1, Adobe Camera Raw 9.1, and a corresponding DNG Converter 9.1 update. There’s also a Lightroom Mobile 1.5 update, as well as Photoshop CC 2015.1. All are free updates for current licenses of the software; update links are at the end of this article. The Lightroom and Camera Raw updates include the usual new camera profiles and lens profiles, and fix a number of bugs, and the Creative Cloud versions add new features. For more details, go to:
- Lightroom CC 2015.1 / Lightroom Mobile 1.5 post at the official Lightroom Journal
- Adobe Camera Raw 9.1/DNG Converter 9.1 post at Lightroom Journal
In this article I summarize some of the main points.
New features in Lightroom CC 2015.1 and Camera Raw 9.1
The Adobe blog posts I linked above describe new features for Lightroom CC and Camera Raw. The two most prominent are Dehaze and being able to adjust Whites and Blacks in local adjustments.
The Dehaze slider attempts to remove atmospheric haze from photographs. While you can already address haze by manipulating general and local contrast, using existing controls such as Contrast, Clarity, and Tone Curve, the complication with haze is that it increases with distance. This means you’d have to manually apply local corrections to vary your contrast adjustments in different parts of the photo. Dehaze is specially tuned to recognize and manipulate the way haze varies with distance, and it’s just one simple slider. And you can also use it to add haze to images. Dehaze was previously demonstrated as the Defog technology preview at the 2014 Adobe MAX conference.
Adobe chose to add Dehaze to the Effects panel, not the Basic panel. This may be because they recommend completing Basic corrections before adjusting Dehaze.
In the following original image we see the top left of the mountain obscured by haze.
Below, increasing Dehaze to 70 clarifies details along the ridge and starts to clear up the sky.
In the version below I was able to approximate what Dehaze did but using manual adjustments instead. I had to adjust Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Clarity, while Dehaze was a quick 1-slider move. But I still haven’t recovered as many details from the ridge and sky, even though Contrast, Clarity, and Blacks have been significantly adjusted and Highlights is already at -100. I tried to reveal more ridge detail by applying a Tone Curve, but that ruined the building. Dehaze doesn’t do that because it concentrates adjustments on hazy areas.
You might notice that the Dehaze-only version has more color saturation in recovered areas; not everyone will prefer that. In a lot of cases I find that Dehaze starts to look artificial at about +20, so like Clarity, Dehaze is a feature you don’t want to overdo.
Whites and Blacks sliders now available in local adjustments
The Whites and Blacks sliders have been part of the Basic panel in the Develop module for some time, but now they’re also part of the Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush. This lets you make precise adjustments to contrast at the ends of the tonal range in specific areas of the image. The figure below shows Whites and Blacks when the Adjustment Brush is selected.
According to the bug fix lists in the blog posts, it looks like Adobe has also fixed some issues related to the recent addition of GPU support to Lightroom and Camera Raw. Adobe also claims to have improved Fuji raw support.
Who gets new features (or, what about Lightroom 6 users)?
The new features in this release are available to Creative Cloud subscribers.
For Camera Raw, the new feature policy is the same as it has been since Photoshop was included in Creative Cloud: All users of Photoshop CS6 and later receive Camera Raw updates that include new camera profiles, new lens profiles, and bug fixes; but new features are available only to Creative Cloud subscribers.
For Lightroom, all users of Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC users receive new camera profiles, new lens profiles, and bug fixes; but new features are available only to Creative Cloud subscribers. This is consistent with how Camera Raw has worked since the first version of Photoshop CC.
If Adobe continues to follow their update model, Lightroom 6 users might expect to get new features with the next major release of Lightroom. There is no information available about when or if the next major non-CC version of Lightroom will arrive, but a reasonable guess is that it’s what would normally be expected to be called Lightroom 7. From the Adobe point of view Lightroom CC 2015.1 is like getting an “advance” of the features in Lightroom 7. But from the customer point of view Lightroom CC 6.1 seems like a “crippled” version of Lightroom CC 2015.1. For example, while Dehaze is not available in the Lightroom 6.1 Effects panel, Lightroom 6.1 does recognize and apply Dehaze settings (applied by Lightroom CC 2015.1 or Camera Raw 9.1), and some have discovered that you can adjust Dehaze in Lightroom 6.1 by manipulating image metadata. Stu Maschwitz provides some free Lightroom presets that do this.
Some Lightroom users are unhappy that the feature updates in Lightroom CC 2015.1 are not available to those who bought the non-subscription version (Lightroom 6), but in the big picture there hasn’t been a major change here. Feature updates have typically been provided during major upgrades, with bug fixes in minor updates. Remember, Lightroom 5 had been falling behind Camera Raw 8 because Camera Raw was getting continuous feature updates as part of Creative Cloud. Lightroom finally reached feature parity with Camera Raw when Lightroom 6 was released. Because Lightroom CC is part of Creative Cloud, it can now stay in step with Camera Raw. However, the feature update situation for Lightroom 6 is unchanged from Lightroom 5: Lightroom 6.1 gets camera, lens, and bug fix updates only.
New features in Lightroom Mobile 1.5
Lightroom Mobile now supports video in collections. Additional Develop controls are now available including vignettes, black and white conversion, and the tone curve.
How to get the updates
To update both Camera Raw and Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud: Start Adobe Creative Cloud if it isn’t running, and it should indicate that an update is available for Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom.
To update Lightroom 6: Choose Help > Updates.
To download standalone installers for Camera Raw and DNG Converter: See the links at the bottom of the Lightroom Journal post for Camera Raw 9.1 and DNG Converter 9.1.
To update Lightroom Mobile: Check for updates on your mobile device. (For iOS, open the App Store and tap Updates).