• Price: 175 . 69

  • Company: Adobe

  • Pros: Fast, intuitive workflow for previewing, sorting, and processing digital photographs; now with 64-bit processing; improved keywording; remote volume access and localized retouching; available for Windows.

  • Cons: Handover to Photoshop Camera Raw is inconsistent; brushes are circular only; Apple’s Aperture is less expensive.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Lightroom 2 is the third major release of Adobe’s digital photograph sorting, Raw image-processing and enhancement program – the original version 1.0 was followed fairly rapidly by version 1.5. It’s now compatible with 64-bit processors (Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.5, or PCs with Windows Vista 64), with the major benefit that it can access as much RAM as you can throw at it – previously Lightroom could only access 3GB. There’s also now a software developers’ kit, so third parties can develop plug-ins.

As before, Lightroom 2 is billed as a member of the Photoshop family, and has improved links with Photoshop CS3. However, it works perfectly well as a standalone program: it’s able to print images directly, or export them in standard formats for Web, print or slideshow. It can open and convert almost 200 proprietary camera Raw file formats, and will also import and adjust standard TIFF and JPEG formats.

Although not a full pixel editor, it now offers localized pixel retouching tools, in addition to a vast range of global adjustments for colour, tone, sharpness and so on.