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Home > Tools March 9th, 2012

Adobe Lightroom 4 vs. 3 Comparison – What Are the New Features?

Following onto a successful public beta period, the long-awaited Adobe Lightroom 4 final release began shipping earlier this week, and has some folks pretty excited about the new features and capabilities. There’s a complete list further below, but some of the biggies include much better video support, soft proofing, integrated maps and photo books, enhanced sharing & exporting, and some amazing improvements to the Develop module.

We’ve got a new video set from the popular Julianne Kost giving a thorough review of what’s new and improved… (2 hours of coverage; see Table of Contents)   If you want to try out the software for yourself, the 30-day free trials are also now available for download.

New Features in Lightroom 4 (Video Collection)

What’s the Difference between Lightroom 4 vs. Lightroom 3?

First off, we should mention something a little controversial regarding older computers: Adobe is dropping support for the ten-year-old Microsoft Windows XP with this release… The official LR4 system requirements call for Windows Vista or 7, or if you’re running Mac OS then it must be a 64-bit capable (how to tell). And if you’re wondering why they did this, Adobe recently put up a new post explaining why.

So here’s the punch list of what’s changed, the top-level new features in LR4 (courtesy of Ian Lyon’s excellent review):

Library & Workflow:Native video support including basic editing
 Manage images by location (geotagging) with the new Map module
 Reverse Geocoding (new since LR4 beta version)
 Enhanced DNG support
Develop:New Process Version 2012 (PV2012)
 Simplified Basic Adjustments (tone controls)
 Per-channels Curves adjustments
 Updated Clarity adjustment
 Additional local adjustments
 Automatic Chromatic Aberration correction
 Soft Proofing
Output:Integrated Photo Book production (Blurb) in the new Books module
 Enhanced output model for storing settings applied in Web, Slideshow, Print and Book modules
 Video publishing via Publish Collections
 Email directly from within Lightroom
 Adobe Revel (formerly Carousel) export

Adobe says most of these features remain the same from the Lightroom 4 beta version – except for a large number of tweaks and bug fixes.

Compare Versions: LR4 vs. LR3 vs. LR2

Click on the chart below for a release-by-release feature comparison:

What's New in Lightroom 4 vs. 3 vs. 2 - New Features

And for more in-depth on each of those new features, check out this detail page.

[ See also – Lightroom 4: Top 10 Techniques, or 4 hours of free tutorials for Lightroom 4. ]

Do you have any questions about Lightroom 4?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. I have trouble finding photos with LR3.6 and LR4beta seems better at that

  2. Laura Webb

    I am working on a website about the Badlands in central Oregon and the geotagging feature in the new maps module. Now I can stay in Lightroom and precisely match images to locations on a map; this is key to my image library and the website it will feed.

    I appreciate Lightroom’s use of RAM instead of heavy processor dependence, so I can work at a good clip.

    Video publishing and Blurb integration are two more tools that I’ll use directly with this Badlands site.

    So thanks Adobe, you’re making my work, and like easier, and more fun.

  3. Daniel

    Looks good, thanks for sharing.

    But what I am really waiting for is that i can use Lightroom for ALL family members. With appropriate rights: e.g. My kids can search and look at photos, export them etc. but can not change or delete them. Also it should be accessible from different computers in the network, while I have the library on my NAS.

  4. Kris Van de Vijver

    Daniel, I agree : we need network sharing!

  5. Andy Philpotts

    @ Kris Van de Vijver

    Network sharing of the actual photo collection with per-machine views, just one more voice for this kind of support.

    I don’t see any features in version 4 that are compelling reasons for me to upgrade, and you want another $80, tag me as “unimpressed.”

  6. Debbie Borato

    Please tell me the differences and similarities in the basic panels of LR3 and LR4. I read where recovery, fill light, blacks are renamed in LR4 yet do the same thing. I’m confused.

    • Actually Debbie they’re not just “renamed” or “do the same thing”… The controls in Camera Raw 7 (part of Lightroom 4) are rebuilt and significantly improved so you can do much better with your images… Especially with photos that have a wide range of light and dark (think sunsets for example), you can really bring out all the detail in the image without blowing anything out.

      If you watch the video within the article above (from about the 4 minute mark), you’ll learn more about this… Also check out this one below for great before-and-after results. Thanks for your question!