Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta 1 provides a first look at the very latest version of this powerful photo management and editing package.
As with previous editions, the program starts by importing your images into a catalog. And you can then browse your collection's thumbnails, tag particular images, search them for text, attributes, metadata and more. Lightroom can enhance images by tweaking their exposure, contrast, colours and so on; there are modules to print or build slideshows from your favourite images, and you can even build web galleries to share them online.
Version 4 expands on this solid base with more targeted editing tools. So white balance can now be adjusted with a brush, for instance; the program can now also remove moiré and apply noise reduction to very specific areas of your image; and highlight and shadow recovery can help to bring out detail which has been lost in the darkest and brightest parts of a photo.
Lightroom 4 is now also fully location-aware, able to display data from GPS-enabled cameras, assign locations to images, and find and group images by location via a Map view.
Adobe's partnership with Blurb means you'll be able to create top-quality photobooks from within Lightroom, have them professionally printed, bound and shipped to you for prices starting from around $12.50. (Or if the photos are really good then you can even promote and sell them online in Blurb's bookstore.)
And enhanced video support means you can not only view, organise and carry out basic edits on video clips, but when you're happy then you can publish and share the footage on Facebook and Flickr.
Note that Adobe downloads are protected and require a login. The download links here will take you to the page where you can login and download Lightroom 4.
Already one of the most powerful photo workflow tools around, Lightroom 4 extends the program's abilities in several important ways, as well as introducing lots of useful tiny tweaks which we just don't have space to mention here. Take a look, we think you'll be impressed.