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Adobe Lightroom 4 free beta released

Adobe has released a free beta version of Photoshop Lightroom 4, a upgrade to its photo management and processing software. Headlining the new release are support for video and geo-tags.

Adobe's digital image architect Richard Curtis says that Lightroom 4's video support is "for photographers, not for cinematographers". It allows digital SLR users to catalogue video from shoots alongside stills, and apply colour adjustments for exposure and white balance, and from presets created from still images (below).

Support for geo-tags allows you to see a Google map view of your photographs based on where they were taken (above). You can apply geo-tag info to photos without tags either manually, or from another photo (such as a phone snap taken on location just for geo-info).

Photoshop Lightroom 4 includes new creative tools for recovering blown-out highlights and shadow detail (below), plus better tools for working with small areas of an image

A soft-proofing checkbox allows you to see an image as it will appear when output on a particular printer/press and paper (assuming your screen is calibrated correctly). Lightroom 4 can display an overlay, showing which colours can't be output correctly (above), so you can adjust your image to bring in back in range.

Adobe has built Blurb publishing into Lightroom, so you can build books using the on-demand print service's templates and send them off from within the application. You can also output PDFs for other print services.

Adobe hasn't announced when the final version will ship, nor whether the pricing will remain at £198 plus VAT now that Apple Aperture costs only £45 plus VAT. You can download the beta from labs.adobe.com

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