Hey Lightroom Peeps! (that’s hip slang for Lightroom people)
Today is pre-conference workshop day here at Photoshop World in Orlando. I’ve got an HDR pre-con that starts at 1pm so I’m pretty psyched. However there’s some big news in the Lightroom world today. Adobe has released an update to the Lightroom 3 beta. Full details can be found over at Tom Hogarty’s (Lightroom product manager) blog but I’ll give you my take on some of the big features that are new in the beta.

1. Built-in Tethered Capture – Tethered is a must have and now Lightroom has it (for most of the newer model cameras).

2. Video support – Video is big these days. While you can’t directly edit the video in LR3 Beta, you can now manage it in the catalog just like any other photo which helps out a lot. That includes sorting, rating and ranking video. You can also see info about your video and if you double click, it’ll open the video in your video player.

3. Luminance Noise Reduction Improvements – This is big for me. Personally, I always had pretty good luck with the color noise reduction aspects of Lightroom. But now that they’ve added some sizable improvements in the Luminance Noise reduction you’ll see some pretty major changes in the usability of your high ISO photos.

4. Watermarking – Watermarking was one of the big improvements in the first beta. The placement, size and type of watermarking has been further improved and helps take this feature up a notch.

5. Import – I know this sounds like it’s mostly for newcomers to Lightroom. Veterans pretty much have the import process handled right? But I’ve gotta tell ya. One of the big issues I had with the first beta was that it took FOREVER to render the thumbnails and show me the import dialog because it seemed to be reading all of my attached drives and folders. That’s changed and import is a lot faster now. That said, there’s some overall improvements that make import easier which will help out the newcomers to LR as well.

6. A Full Point Curve – If you’re used to curves in Photoshop (you know, the kind where you can add a point anywhere on the curve) then you’ll appreciate this one. Curves in LR now act more Photoshop-ish. For me, this means some pretty cool possibilities for special effects, and (you guessed it!) presets

If you want to download the beta just click here. Our pal, Terry White, also did a video that you can find here. Also, remember this is just my take on what I consider to be the larger improvements in the 2nd beta release. Tom’s got a full list along with some links at his blog. If you’ve downloaded the beta, let us know what you think here. I’m definitely interested to hear your initial thoughts. Thanks!