As mentioned in my previous Adobe Lightroom 2 post, I was able to obtain a greater dynamic range from my Maroon Bells photo than I had thought possible. There’s no need for scientific analysis. The evidence is here in these 100% crops of both the contrasty highlight and shadow detail areas.
I even tried decreasing the exposure and contrast in Photoshop to -100 and still couldn’t even get detail in the burnout areas of the cloud whereas Lightroom 2 was able to retain highlight detail without affecting other parts of the image. To be fair, I haven’t tried CS3 so I’m not saying that Lightroom 2 is better for image processing but it is clear that Lightroom 2’s RAW converter is very powerful and well worth the money for anyone who is on the fence about whether or not it is worth the money.
I bought a copy of Adobe Lightroom 2 the other day and am extremely impressed for reasons I didn’t expect. Initially I just wanted a RAW converter for the latest cameras and a more efficient way to cull down a large batch of images. While I’m still working out how to incorporate Lightroom 2 into my existing workflow, the quality of image processing I’ve been able to get from LR2 has blown me away. I really didn’t think I would do any photo processing with LR2 other than hit the import and export to Photoshop buttons. That all changed the minute I open my first image and started experimenting with the various sliders.
Once I processed a few images from the Brea Canyon fire, I decided to try it on this Maroon Bells image. The top photo was processed two years ago in Photoshop and I tried my best to pull as much detail out of the image as possible. With Lightroom 2, it required minimal effort to get detail from my picture that I never even knew existed!
If this isn’t enough evidence to convince you to try Lightroom 2 then I don’t know what is. Image quality should the first and foremost priority for photographers.