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Adobe updates Lightroom ahead of Apple presentation

Adobe Systems on Monday released an updated public beta of its Lightroom photography workflow software, adding a handful of new tools and a more streamlined user interface.

The announcement comes just hours before Apple Computer is expected to highlight enhancements to its own post-production photography solution (Aperture) during a 90 minute presentation at the Photokina tradeshow in Cologne, Germany.

Adobe said Lightroom beta 4 —available immediately as a free download from Adobe Labs — unites the product feature set of both the Windows and Macintosh versions.

The San Jose, Calif-based software developer also announced that it has decided on final branding of the software, which it will induct into the Photoshop family as "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom."

The latest beta offers improved digital photography workflow tools, such as a precision white balance selection option and a more streamlined user interface experience with customizable controls. A new tone curve adjustment feature offers image correction capabilities, allowing users to visually obtain excellent midtone, shadow and highlight adjustments.

Other enhancements in beta 4 include new filters, search presets and organization options for quicker retrieval of images. Adobe has also built some time-saving tools into the Develop and Library modules that allow users to re-name and convert files to Adobe Digital Negative Format (DNG) after importing into the Lightroom library.

Since it was introduced in January, more than 325,000 people have opted to download and try Lightroom as a beta, Adobe said.

In order to run Lightroom, the company recommends Mac OS X 10.4.3 and at least a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor or Windows XP SP2 and at least an Intel Pentium 4 Processor. It also recommends a minimum of 768 MB RAM and a 1024x768 resolution display.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom beta is a Universal binary application that will run natively on PowerPC and new Intel-based Macintosh systems. The final version of software is expected to ship in early 2007, at which time Adobe promises specifics on pricing and final system requirements.