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Photoshop Lightroom 2 released as Adobe's first 64-bit Mac app

Following an earlier open beta, Adobe on Tuesday released version 2.0 of its Photoshop Lightroom post production photography software, which stands as the company's first application to run 64-bit-native on Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system.

The San Jose-based software developer is particularly proud of the accomplishment given that Lightroom's main competitor, Apple's Aperture, has yet to see native 64-bit support.

Adobe has committed to delivering 64-bit versions of Photoshop and its other Creative Suite applications, but said earlier this year that those updates will take considerably longer due to Apple's decision to scrap plans for a 64-bit version of its Carbon developer tool set.

For Lightroom 2.0, 64-bit support will allow the application to address large amounts of memory in excess of 4 gigabytes, which will speed up overall performance for photographers dealing with large scale images that must be swapped into and out of memory during processing-intensive operations.

The software also aims to streamline and accelerate photographers’ workflows through an enhanced Library module featuring the ability to visually organize images across multiple hard drives. A Library Filter Bar and Suggested Keywords feature work towards simplifying the search and retrieval process.

Two other highly touted features of Lightroom 2.0 are dual-monitor support for maximizing workspace and more efficient printing tools. For instance, the software now arranges photos of multiple sizes on one or many pages with customizable templates to maximize paper and ink. Intelligent algorithms then automatically determine optimal sharpening for screen or print, producing crisper images faster.

Adobe is also rolling out new RAW technology that gives photographers access to flexible camera profiles that will help reduce unexpected changes in the quality of their photographs.

"Camera profiles are the visual starting point for the raw processing workflow, but image preferences vary for every photographer," the company siad. "To minimize surprises, Adobe is supplying default camera profiles that closely emulate the visual looks that photographers are used to seeing from their favorite camera, while also providing the ability to create highly customized profiles to suit different tastes."

Camera profiles are available for immediate download on Adobe Labs for use with Lightroom 2 and Camera RAW 4.5, along with a DNG Profile Editor for the community to test and create their own profiles. The tools currently support over 190 camera models including the Olympus E 420 and E 520 models.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 is available for immediate download (or shipping) through the Adobe Store in English, French and German with the Japanese language version planned to be released at a future date. New licenses cost $299 and upgrades fetch $99.