I started to work on LR when the very first beta was available and never left the ship since. I tried various software but in the end, I always come back to it. When LR3-b1 was released, I immediately downloaded it but the beta was kind of disappointing. It was running way to slow, even on a Quad core… Even with that set back, we could see there would be significant improvements.
I installed LR3-b2 a few hours after Adobe posted it’s availability on their website. I still use LR2.6 for anything serious since there are no guaranties the LR3 beta catalogs will be importable in the release version.
The best part, in my opinion, of LR3 is the new noise reduction (NR) engine. That thing delivers! LR” has 2 sliders for NR: the luminance and the color. They were OK but gave so much lost on the sharpness that is could easily destroy parts of the images (where razor sharp edges were necessary). The NR in LR3 offers now 5 sliders for better control: Luminance/Detail/Contrast and Color/Details.
The 3 images below are from the same raw file. The one from LR2 has the same amount of Luminance and Color NR (Lum 75, Col 8) and sharpening as the LR3 (Amount 25, Radius 1.0, Detail 25, Masking 0) . The main difference are the sub sliders LR3 offers (Lum-Detail 76, Lum-Contrast 52, Col-Detail 50), helping to retain the details while applying NR to the image.
Can’t wait for the retail version to be out. Now what would be nice from Adobe, it would be to add support for a third screen where all controls sliders could be sent to, leaving one full screen for the edits and one screen for the compare, zoom, thumbnails and such.