Lightroom 3 Beta: After a weekend of use…

I’ve used Lightroom 3 Beta to edit a few shoots worth of images, and have some things to report. First, as expected from a beta, there are some things that have to be outright bugs:

  • Rotating images in grid view has strange behavior where the thumbnails are concerned. Sometimes the thumbnails just don’t update the to the new orientation, and if you hit rotate again, you’ll be surprised by a 180 degree rotation.
  • Sending images to Photoshop is pretty broken. The regular command-e (on a Mac) does the right thing, but Merge to HDR and Merge to Panorama are grayed out in the main menu bar and although the contextual menu has those options, I couldn’t get them to work right for me.
  • Fiddling with the filters in the filmstrip–especially the star ratings–can lead to Lightroom getting a bit confused.

I’m assuming some things are just rough edges:

  • While working in Develop is faster than in LR 2.5, as is rating and keywording, moving from image to image takes longer while LR3B retrieves or renders the preview. I have 1:1 previews being automatically generated on import, so I’m assuming that it just hasn’t been optimized for retrieving the previews.
  • Uploading via Publish Services seems extremely slow. Much slower than with older export plugins.

Some things are great:

  • I love the new Publish Services idea. I wish Jeffrey Fridl’s Flickr plugin had full functionality, but I couldn’t get even the latest version to work with the same feature set that it has on LR 2.5. He says on his blog that he hasn’t gotten access to any API docs for the feature, so I’m sure those things will get there when he does. The basic Flickr plugin functionality is fine, and better than what Lightroom had before, but it’s not as feature-rich as Friedl’s.
  • It’s nice having Collections navigable in the Develop module, although I think this just points to a weakness of Lightroom’s: depending on modes. This is one area that I think Aperture has always been superior.
  • The new sharpening continues to impress me. Much improved over previous versions.

Adobe’s said that this beta doesn’t have all the features that the final release does. One other feature, in addition to the ones I mentioned earlier, I’d really like is improved geotagging/geolocation support. When biking, I usually have a GPS tracking me, and being able to easily take that track and extrapolate where I took a shot based on the timestamps would be great. I use another Friedl plugin to do that for me now. It’s unfortunately also not working for me in the beta.

I still have yet to try printing or slideshows from the beta, so I’ve got more to play with.