Last week, Adobe released the public beta of Lightroom 5. Since it was the same week as Photoshop World, I decided not to download the new software until I was done presenting my concert photography class. Knowing my luck, the new beta would have corrupted something important just when i needed it. But now that Photoshop World is over I have downloaded and started to look at the new Lightroom. At first glance LR5 looks exactly like LR4. The layout is the same and the modules all look the same. So what exactly does LR5 have that LR4 doesn’t. For that, I had to look a little deeper into the application.

A better healing brush. I’ll admit it, I hate the healing brush in LR4. To me, it has always been more work to use the healing brush for anything more than removing a few spots compared to just opening the image up in Photoshop, using the healing tools there and going back into Lightroom. It was the simple fact that the area being healed had to be round. What if it was something long and thin? Then you had to make a ton of really difficult selections. That has all changed in LR5. The healing brush now works as a paint brush. Way to go Adobe… and it’s about time.

Visualize spots. This is very cool as it allows you to find sensor spots in your images. Located on the bottom of the screen when the healing brush is open, this setting makes it easier to find spots caused by dust on the camera sensor than ever before.

Radial Filter. This new filter allows you to add any off the existing local attributes to a circular mask with a feather falloff. This allows you to do some cool vignettes but are not limited to the edges of the images. You can also add multiple filters in the same image.

Save custom Layout in a book. You can now not only create a custom page layout but can save it so that you can use it again and again.

Smart Previews. These allows you to edit images when on a different drive. This works best when the smart previews are created on import. Look for a blog post on this process soon.

Mix video and still in the slideshow. You can now mix videos and stills in the LR5 Slideshow module. Just create a slideshow and when the video is shown, it just plays. Really simple.

Upright. This helps to fix the uprights in images. The tools are found in the Lens Correction panel. This is really useful to remove converging uprights in images of buildings. This is a very powerful tool with a lot of options.  I will create a separate blog post about it soon.