A Beta version of Lightoom 4 is being released today which promises to offer "The Complete Photography Solution" and is available as a free, yes free, public download from Adobe labs
Improvements and additions have been made in three areas: Manage, Edit and Share.
Video format support
Video support has been added for users of the latest SLR and compact digital cameras featuring built in video. Lightroom 4 beta now not only keeps a track of where the video is cataloged on your harddrive, but also lets you edit, making adjustments such as converting to black & white or clipping the front and back. You can then export in a non destructive form so your original remains safe.
Map module (using Google maps)
Using the powerful Google Maps engine directly within Lightroom 4 beta means you can geo-tag your photos so they appear on a world map. You can drag a batch of pics from your Lightroom 4 beta catalog over a location and those map references will appear in the metadata with the number of pics appearing as a marker on the map. You can also set it to record a track log so you see your route on the map with pictures at each step of the route.
Simplified Basic Adjustments
The image adjustment settings have been simplified to make it easier to edit quickly, with Moire and Noise Reduction as single sliders
Advanced Highlight and Shadow Recovery
A more advanced Highlight and Shadow recovery includes individual sliders for Whites and Blacks.
Additional Local Adjustments
You can now adjust colour balance in local areas, this works well when using the gradient editor to balance the colour of say window light with the interior lighting. This could save photographers lots of time in Photoshop editing and masking.
Soft proofing for Print Fidelity
A feature to let you assign profiles and soft proof has been added for those who print and want to be sure their image is in the gamut range of the output device. You can now see out of gamut warnings and adjust your photo using the editor to bring it within gamut.
Sharing Photo Book creation (working with Blurb)
Design your photo book and page layout from within Lightroom 4 beta using blurb's book engine and your Lightroom catalogue. You can change text, edit page layouts and totally build a book and then export direct to the Blurb retail system.
Simple email solution directly within Lightroom
A new export to email feature lets you email your photos or videos direct from Lightroom 4 beta. You can turn off photo map geotagged data in the export dialogue box.
Ability to publish video to Facebook and Flickr
There's also an option to export your photos direct to Facebook or Flickr.
Unlike most software, where you have to wait for us to get hold of it and review it, Adobe are letting you try for yourself. Lightroom 4 Beta is available now as a free public download from Adobe labs