As expected, Adobe Systems did indeed release a new Lightroom beta on Monday, but there are a few extra tibits beyond what we suspected earlier.
First and most important, there's now a Lightroom 3 beta 2 download site so you can actually try it. Second, there's a helpful video guide to new features, forum discussion on the new beta, and release notes (PDF).
Also worth a look are a blog post by Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty and a detailed, annotated list of changes from "Lightroom Queen" Victoria Bampton.
Regarding features, we knew about a few big ones: support for ingestion and management of video, support for "tethered" shooting so a computer controls the camera and automatically ingests photos as they're taken, a revamped import dialog box, faster image loading, and more noise reduction improvements.
Now we know some more.
First off, we have a list of the initially supported cameras for tethered shooting. They're only from Canon and Nikon, the two dominant powers of SLR photography, but Adobe "look[s] forward to adding additional Nikon and Canon camera models going forward," Hogarty said. The cameras are as follows.
Canon: EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1Ds Mark III, EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 40D, EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi/EOS Kiss X2), EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i/EOS Kiss X3 Digital), EOS 7D, EOS 1000D (Digital Rebel XS/EOS Kiss F). Nikon: D3, D3X, D3s, D300, D300s, D5000, D700, D90.
Also new is the resurrection of Lightroom 2's vignetting approach as an option, details on video and video metadata handling, better image watermarking, point controls in the tone curve, and user interface changes. Stay tuned for a hands-on look at the new beta.
Lightroom, which can be used to edit, catalog, and print photos, is geared for enthusiasts and professionals. It's particularly suited to handling raw images taken directly from a camera's image sensor with no in-camera processing, a technology that offers higher flexibility and quality than JPEG but less convenience. Processing raw photos can bring a computer to its knees, though, especially with high-resolution images, so performance is key in raw-processing software.