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Adobe Lightroom For iOS Long Exposure Technology Preview Tested

With the latest Adobe update, Lightroom Mobile for iOS can simulate long exposure photography so we thought we'd see how well it performs.

|  iOS Apps
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Adobe released quite a big update for Lightroom yesterday and this included adding a new Technology Preview for Lightroom Mobile on iOS which allows you to capture simulated long exposure shots handheld. 

We say 'simulated' as the iPhone can't actually capture shots that are longer than 1/4th of a second so Adobe had to play around with its app to build a way the user can capture long exposures without longer shutter speeds (and all of the accessories that usually come along with it). 

We know it's not a true long exposure but having the ability to capture a similar look you usually need a tripod, camera and filters for is pretty cool (even if it still needs a little work - more on this below). 

Once you download the new update and enabled the Long Exposure Technology Preview, a new capture mode appears when using the camera option built into the Lightroom Mobile app (see the above screen grab). 

Technology preview


To use the new mode, frame up, hit the shutter button, wait while the smartphone counts down and remain still while the app says 'hold tight'. You can then exit the camera mode and wait for the app to work its magic on your image. Once it's ready, it will appear in the Lightroom Mobile app's gallery. From there, you can edit it, share it or save it to your smartphone's image gallery. 

How the Long Exposure mode works is that it captures a burst series of DNGs or JPEGs, analyses each image to stabilise them and then merges together the images for the simulation of a long exposure.

Adobe says some types of long exposure photography, such as shooting in very dark scenes, won't work purely because of the restraints of the iPhone but mist-like water is possible. You can also get quite arty with crop fields and trees, a bit like this: 

Arty Trees


As the feature is still a Technology Preview, it's not quite ready for a full-on review but we thought it would be cool to just see how well this technology can perform (so far). First impressions suggest there's a lot of promise in the technology that, if done right, could be a game-changer for those who shoot images with their smartphones

Yes, we know it's not quite there when you compare it to long exposures captured the traditional way but for new technology in a device that fits in your pocket, and you don't need accessories for, it's still pretty cool. 

Some of the shots aren't quite right (you can see where patterns are repeated to recreate the effect) but for technology which is, basically, a test preview of what's to come, you can see what the app is trying to do and, when the stars align, it does do surprisingly OK. There's definitely potential in the app and it'll be interesting to see how Adobe develops the technology further. 

Below we have a few comparison shots (iPhone camera vs Long Exposure Preview Mode in the Lightroom Mobile app) as well as some shots captured just with the Long Exposure Technology Preview Mode.


Top: iPhone 8 Plus camera, Bottom: Long Exposure Technology Preview Mode


Top: iPhone 8 Plus camera, Bottom: Long Exposure Technology Preview Mode


Long Exposure Technology Preview Mode


Long Exposure Technology Preview

Long Exposure Technology Preview Mode


Adobe is interested in hearing what you think about the new technology so do post your comments below or get in touch with Adobe direct. 

As well as the Long Exposure preview, Adobe also added Guided Tutorials on iOS and more Andoird devices now support the HDR capture mode. A Healing Brush also appears in the tool menu (premium feature, not available in the free version of the app) and iOS users will find a new checkbox in the Optics tab that allows them to use automatic detection/repair of chromatic aberrations. 


Lens Correction


For more information on the update for all of the versions of Lightroom available, have a read of our news section

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