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12-02-2019, 04:05 AM   #1
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Lightroom Features

Lightroom was my first photo editing program, purchased about 5 years ago. I've moved on since then and tried several other programs. How much has LR progressed since then - for example, can it now do layers, the various stacking features such as HDR, focus stacking, panorama stitching, and haze removal, etc? Back then it seemed it's strongest feature was it's file organizing and storage - still the case? Thanks for any info.

12-02-2019, 04:24 AM   #2
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Lightroom has had the ability to do HDR since v3.0, IIRC. Focus stacking is done in camera, not in post. I have no idea about pano-stitching. The latest cloud-based version of LR can do some haze removal. I do use the organizing and retrieval system of LR. That is certainly not LR's best feature, but it is the best I've ever seen at that task. I have used: PS Elements, DXO-OpticsPro, Canon's Digital Photo Professional, and old(er) versions of PhotoShop. For my money, LR is the best raw-converter and photo editor available, at any price.
12-02-2019, 04:42 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wanderer2 Quote
Lightroom was my first photo editing program, purchased about 5 years ago. I've moved on since then and tried several other programs. How much has LR progressed since then - for example, can it now do layers, the various stacking features such as HDR, focus stacking, panorama stitching, and haze removal, etc? Back then it seemed it's strongest feature was it's file organizing and storage - still the case? Thanks for any info.
LR comes in two versions , cloud based and desktop based. I use the desktop version. Its editing capabilities are very deep. It does not use layers like Photoshop but the editing tools use masks and are very sophisticated. HDR is very good, I often leave my grad filters at home now, and merging the raw files in LR is as simple as select and right click. Haze and dehaze are all there. Have a look on youtube for Park cameras tutorials. He has done some good ones recently on using specific tools on LR like grad filters dodging/burning HDR etc.

I subscribe to the Adobe Photographer package. For 10 a month I get both LR and PS plus my own website. There are regular updates and recently the PS was upgraded to a complete new version. I tend to do most of my editing in PS, but for HDR and grad filter effects LR is hard to beat.
12-02-2019, 05:25 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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LR 'Classic' has lots of new and decent features now, like panorama stitching and good dehazing, and a whole pile of other new tools and tweaks.

This is a handy (but a bit outdated now, since every month Adobe have been adding more) summary of the features of current Lightroom 'Classic':

https://photographylife.com/lightroom-classic-vs-lightroom-cc

But alas LR still runs as slow as ever.

12-02-2019, 06:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
But alas LR still runs as slow as ever.
I found both LR and PS ran slowly on my old computer which was a win7 OS with single HDD. Since getting a new computer with SSD in addition to much larger HDD and running windows 10 everything runs much faster. Both LR and PS open in under 10 seconds and are ready for use.

Use the SSD for your OS and programs, and use the HDD for files (including picture files )
12-02-2019, 06:48 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Use the SSD for your OS and programs, and use the HDD for files (including picture files )
Most LR operations on my system are heavily CPU bound. I/O seems not to be the [main] slow-down cause. I do have the LR catalogue and cache on a SSD, BTW.

I'm building a new system with about 3 times CPU horsepower. Hopefully that will revitalize LR.
12-02-2019, 07:53 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Most LR operations on my system are heavily CPU bound
I have found that as well, I suspect running the Lua scripting engine is the main reason, if I closed the program with a photo in Develop mode, reopening LR takes especially long. Accessing the embedded SQLite database is actually pretty speedy, in Library mode, filtering on metadata and navigating through thumbnails is a breeze on my old Intel quad-core.
12-02-2019, 09:45 AM   #8
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From my usage of LR classic (part of the $10 a month creative cloud) it has most of what you are looking for. In general I don't do HDR so I haven't used that feature but it will stitch a pano for you and has dehazing and a bunch of other knobs. I mostly use it for raw development with some fairly light edits. It won't do focus stacking or layers but photoshop's ability to do focus stacking is actually not too bad now.

12-02-2019, 01:43 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. If I understand correctly, to summarize the answers to my questions about LR having the various features are:

Layers - no
Focus stacking - no
HDR - yes
Panorama stitching - yes
Haze reduction - yes

Did I get that correctly? Is there anything else of major significance I didn't mention that LR doesn't do?

Thanks again, the replies were very helpful
12-02-2019, 02:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wanderer2 Quote
Thanks for all the replies. If I understand correctly, to summarize the answers to my questions about LR having the various features are:

Layers - no
Focus stacking - no
HDR - yes
Panorama stitching - yes
Haze reduction - yes

Did I get that correctly? Is there anything else of major significance I didn't mention that LR doesn't do?

Thanks again, the replies were very helpful
That's correct, although if you have the Adobe CC Photography plan that also includes Photoshop, LR can do focus stacking indirectly by sending the component images to Photoshop as layers where you can blend them, so it's a fairly simple workflow if you have both LR (Classic) and PS.

Also, it's possible to combine HDR and panorama stitching in one step if you want to create an HDR panorama.

LR is basically an organiser built around ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) so in terms of image editing capabilities, whatever ACR can do, LR can do, along with organisation, batch processing etc.

In addition to gaining dehaze, it's also gained texture, which allows enhancement of medium details, in addition to sharpening which was already there for fine detail.

While officially, LR doesn't support layers, you can achieve layer like functionality using gradient, radial or adjustment brush adjustments which you can create multiple instances of and stack up on top of each other.
I'd describe them as being like adjustment layers combined with a layer mask in PS.
Not all of LR's controls are available when using an adjustment tool, but often there's enough functionality that you don't need to export to PS.
12-02-2019, 03:28 PM   #11
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One reason LR may appear to be slow in Develop mode is that with the nondestructive editing it has to apply all your changes to an image each time you open it. I have had a few images where I have been doing so much work on them that my system seems to lock up as I continue editing. In those cases I have exported them as tiffs and re-imported them to continue work on the new version. More RAM and a faster CPU would improve the situation.
12-02-2019, 05:37 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kiwizinho Quote
That's correct, although if you have the Adobe CC Photography plan that also includes Photoshop, LR can do focus stacking indirectly by sending the component images to Photoshop as layers where you can blend them, so it's a fairly simple workflow if you have both LR (Classic) and PS.

Also, it's possible to combine HDR and panorama stitching in one step if you want to create an HDR panorama.

LR is basically an organiser built around ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) so in terms of image editing capabilities, whatever ACR can do, LR can do, along with organisation, batch processing etc.

In addition to gaining dehaze, it's also gained texture, which allows enhancement of medium details, in addition to sharpening which was already there for fine detail.

While officially, LR doesn't support layers, you can achieve layer like functionality using gradient, radial or adjustment brush adjustments which you can create multiple instances of and stack up on top of each other.
I'd describe them as being like adjustment layers combined with a layer mask in PS.
Not all of LR's controls are available when using an adjustment tool, but often there's enough functionality that you don't need to export to PS.
Thanks for all of that info. It does help me understand LR better, my first photo editing program. However, I'm only interested in it as a stand alone program. Thanks again, and to everyone else who has responded.
12-02-2019, 07:43 PM   #13
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One of the things I hate most about Lightroom is the awful speed. I am trying the new Export feature to export two presets of 169 files from my K-1 - one with a watermark and one without. It is painfully slow. I have an SSD Drive for the program and the catalog, and all of my files are contained on a 7200 RPM hard drive. I have an older i7 with around 24 G of RAM, and this thing is chugging. Note, everytime the Adobe feedback request pops up I complain about the speed. I think we all need to yell about this. I don't need new features, I need performance improvements.
12-02-2019, 09:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joe Dusel Quote
I don't need new features, I need performance improvements.
Indeed. I've noticed that LR and K-1 36mp RAW's in particular really don't like working together at any decent pace.

This article gives a hint, I think, at the kind of systems one needs for LR to work quickly. A lot of horsepower:

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Lightroom-Classic-CPU-performance...-3rd-Gen-1626/
12-03-2019, 03:55 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
It does not use layers like Photoshop but the editing tools use masks and are very sophisticated.
Are there still limitations in place as to which adjustment types can be used locally?

LR used to limit local adjustments to a comparatively low number of adjustment types, with "HSL", for instance, being frequently requested as a local adjustment by LR users.

This was one of the reasons for me to switch to Capture One as the latter practically allows all kinds of adjustments to be brushed in or be applied through gradients, and most recently even through parametric luminosity masks.
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