It seems like the folks at Adobe aren’t about to take Aperture lying down. Using the Adobe Labs site (née Macromedia Labs) they’ve unveiled the public beta of Lightroom, a photo management app aimed squarely at pro photographers. Wow. A public beta from Adobe. (And here’s another kicker—the initial beta is Macintosh-only!) This is great if only to see Adobe dipping it’s toes into the waters of public betas using some of the tools of it’s recent Macromedia acquisition. Apparently this app has been kicking around Adobe in various forms for some time. There’s a good entry over at PhotoshopNews.com by renowned photographer Jeff Schewe detailing the lengthy history of “Shadowland”.
Initial impressions? It’s a much more engaging experience than using Bridge/Camera Raw alone. The app has a more fully-formed toolset and polished UI, and will probably keep a lot of photographers from popping in and out of Photoshop. In fact, it seems like the intention might be to serve up an alternative for pro photographers who might be a little skittish about digging into Photoshop and managing all their shots using the Adobe Bridge/Camera Raw/Photoshop combination that prevails today (read: basically managing everything by hand).
Any way you slice it the pro photography market can only benefit from what’s shaping up to be a healthy competition between Adobe and Apple.