I’m sure it’s not possible to own a Mac, shoot in RAW format and not have heard of {Adobe}’s {Lightroom} software by now, and there’s no way I’m going to attempt a review when others have had preview releases for months. What I will say is that if you do run {OS X} 10.4.x and have some RAW files then do go and get the Beta 1 demo – I’ve run it on a 1GHz 12″ PowerBook with 768MB of RAM as well as a dual 867MHz MDD with 2GB and whilst the laptop does really need a few moments to get itself settled into memory (if I’m using anything else then the swapfile does get hit fairly hard) the MDD breezes along.

So far I’ve added a little over 4,700 or so images of varying types (JPG, TIF, X3F, CRW, CR2) to {Lightroom}, using the Copy option to store the files as duplicates (it’s Beta software, so I don’t want it to bite me), and they went in with very little effort, but there’s lots to play with that isn’t immediately obvious without some pointers. My tips are:

  • Watch the video from George Jardine (19 minutes) as it’s an excellent primer
  • Read through the list of Lightroom resources listed at Photoshop News
  • Go and have a browse through some of the reviews they link to, in particular I found Ian Lyons Feature Preview had some good news (Crop and Straighten are coming RSN), and Michael Reichmann’s first look was also interesting
  • Command-Option-A: after adding images, do try this to view the Activity window. The top right corner of the main window has a discreet one line summary of what the software is doing, but this window explains the large amount of drive/CPU activity well after import. Before worrying at the lack of speed, make sure that all four thumbnail types have been fully cached, and then start testing properly
  • If you enjoy videos, then Photoshop User has some tutorials available, but they do seem a little slow to me: George Jardine has promised more video guides to come, and I’ll certainly be looking out for those
  • If what you see interests or infuriates you, then do have your say on the forums

If you want something to view the movies full screen, I can recommend Xinema or VLC if you don’t have QT Pro.