Adobe kept the world waiting for what seemed like an eternity after the Lightroom 3 beta first appeared online in 2009. The final release includes new features and useful little extras that we didn't get to see in the public beta releases, and Lightroom 3 provides a significant performance boost over anything we've seen before.
Adobe seems to have hit the ball clear out of the park by providing us with a photo management application that is easy enough for soccer moms to understand yet robust enough for working photographers to use every day. Importing images is easier and faster than Lightroom 2, and experienced photographers won't have to jump back and forth between Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 thanks to the new capabilities of the Develop module.
I'm honestly at a loss for words to describe how impressed I am with Lightroom 3. I've been a dedicated Photoshop user for years and I never liked using the previous versions of Lightroom because they weren't convenient enough and just added an extra set of steps to my existing workflow. Lightroom 3 allows me to quickly process dozens of images and finally provides the editing tools I need so that I don't have to always open images in Photoshop. Granted, Photoshop CS5 is a far more capable image editing application than Lightroom 3, but Lightroom 3 can do "most" of what I do in Photoshop while simultaneously speeding up my workflow.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Lightroom 3 to every PC user who shoots a lot of digital photos. Mac users "might" be happier with Apple's Aperture, but for the price of $299 ($99 to upgrade from Lightroom 1 or 2) it's hard to resist using a photo management application this good.
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