This week Adobe released a beta version of Lightroom 5. Here is my initial report on what Lightroom 5 Beta means for those using Datacolor products:
Lightroom, while it has added many printing conveniences over the years, has always lacked certain desirable functions for color managed printing. Black Point Compensation is always on when printing from Lightroom; Adobe invented BPC, and is very proud of it, but there are legitimate reasons for choosing not to use it, and the lack of a checkbox for this feature makes Lightroom printing less robust. And while there are four (or at least three and a half) rendering intents in ICC printer profiles, Lightroom chooses to only offer two of them to users. So those who prefer Saturation intent when printing using Datacolor’s SpyderPrint profiles, will have to continue using the SpyderPrint Preference option to switch the Saturation and Perceptual intents to create a version of their profile for printing from Lightroom using the Saturation intent (accomplished in Lightroom by then selecting Perceptual, and the special version of the profile with the switched intents). None of this has changed in Lightroom 5 beta; though hope springs eternal. Perhaps Lightroom 6…
The Rendering Engine in Lightroom 4 was significantly different from previous versions, necessitating major changes in how the SpyderCube was used; but providing better controls for working with the Cube in the process. Lightroom 5 has no such engine changes, allowing the same process for using the SpyderCube with LR5 as with LR4.
The lack of Rendering Engine changes, or Color changes, mean that creating Camera Calibrations is done the same way in Lightroom 5 beta as it was in Lightroom 4, and that results are the same as well.
How Lightroom uses display profiles does not appear to have changed, so it is not necessary to reprofile your displays to use Lightroom 5 beta. But its still a good idea to recalibrate at least once a month anyways…
Lens Auto-Focus Calibration is a camera firmware function, so does not effect Lightroom, or any application, other than providing sharper images to work with.
A Word on LR5B In General
Most of the changes in Lightroom 5 beta involve allowing it to perform more image editing functions. Some of these are functions that used to require moving the image into Photoshop (and out of RAW) that now can be done in Lightroom; and in some cases more easily and automatically than in Photoshop. And a clever new version of Proxy Editing allows images on drives not currently on-line to be edited using a new, larger preview image. This will have some interesting Cloud implications in the long run.
For me the improved rendering engine was the key feature of LR4, while the softproofing function and its ability to create custom tuned virtual print versions of an image for various papers was the elegant new addition. This time around the off-line editing capability has a similar feel of being the elegant new addition, while the LR5 “engine” changes are limited to added capabilities in the Lens Profile section. I will plan to cover these Lens Profiling changes, and what they mean for advanced users, in a future article.