Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is a program geared for the photographer. The user has the choice of downloading Lightroom 5 from the Adobe Creative Cloud or purchasing it as a standalone product with an individual perpetual license. I am reviewing the individual license version using Windows 7, 64-bit. In early versions of Lightroom there were few image processing tools. However, as versions have progressed, so have the tools they contains such as the Adjustment brush. As an added but not necessary dimension, coupled with onOne Software's Perfect Photo Suite 7.5, you can also have layers at your disposal.

Lightroom 5 is a robust cataloging tool and integrates easily with social networking sites. With Lightroom 5, the user has access to Adobe's Behance web site for showcasing work. Below is a screen capture of the default interface of Lightroom 5. In the lower left corner are two icons of monitors. Lightroom is setup to work with one monitor or with two in various configurations.

To Use Lightroom, one creates catalogs by importing individual or groups of photographs. They can be in raw format, jpg, etc.

All of the modules: Library, Develop, etc. have a specific purpose in the digital workflow. The definitions below are from Adobe material. In addition, I have added some screen captures.

Library—View, sort, manage, organize, compare, and rate the photos in your catalog. It’s your home base for working with photos after importing them into Lightroom.

Develop—Globally adjust the color and tonal scale of your photos, or make local adjustments. All adjustments in Lightroom are nondestructive, meaning your original file is not altered.

Map—Organize your photos based on where they were taken and plot your photo journey.
Book—Easily build photo books and export them to a PDF or JPEG file or send them directly to Blurb, the photo book printing service.
Slideshow—Create slideshows to present photos and video onscreen with music and transitions.
Print—Specify the page layout and print option for printing photos and contact sheets on your printer.

Web—Create web photo galleries, which are websites that feature thumbnail images that link to larger versions of the photos.

In this review I will mainly deal with the new and enhanced features.

• Advanced Healing Brush
• Upright™ tool
• Radial Gradient tool
• Smart Previews
• Improved photo book creation
• Slideshows with videos and still images

Since some of the new and enhanced features deal with the tools; here is a picture of the different tools. The Radial Filter is new.

Upright™ tool -

The Upright tool utilizes Lens Correction functions-mainly from the Basic and Manual tabs.

Often when straightening, you may lose some elements in an image. Here you can straighten an image quickly. Even though I lost the left most lower corner of the image in Full, I found it did the best job. This can be easily corrected in Photoshop or in Photoshop Elements or other image editing software. All these settings can be found in the Basic Tab of Lens Correction. Notice on the Manual setting screen capture that there is a grid for added accuracy.

Advanced Healing Brush

To accomplish advanced healing, you access the Spot Removal tool. In Lightroom 5, this tool will now follow the shape of the object to be removed. You can accomplish this removal through using the traditional circle or through bushing over the area to be removed. You can do this with either cloning or healing. Notice the first two 'before' and 'after' images. I removed two areas as shown by the arrow heads. I tried removing a number of objects and all worked excellently.

I was curious how the Clone tool and Healing tool differed, so I read up and did an experiment. In their default usage, they appear to have the same results. Both the Clone and Heal settings try to find the correct area for "rubber stamping." In default placement, Lightroom tries to select the best possible match to replace the object. However, you can move the source by dragging the source area and this is where the difference is visible. I discovered that the source could be moved by dragging it so that one gets the tonal information from another area of the image. On the bottom row, when I moved the source of the Clone tool to the red area, it replaced the original image with a red squiggly object. But when I moved the Healing tool. the squiggly object remained its original color.

For those wondering how one corrects part of an image, the answer is easy - through the use of the Adjustment tool. This tool is great because you can brush on changes. You can, also, customize the brush. See the image below.

Radial Gradient tool

This tool's purpose is to make areas of an image more prominent so that they become the object of interest. I found that I could get interesting results by using the tool in a default manner and by reversing the tool. The tool is radial and can be manipulated to go from a circle to a thin ellipse. Below I used the tool using default settings. I encircled the geese which made the area outside of the ellipse darker.

Below, I encircled the rabbit and reversed the area to be manipulated so that I manipulated the rabbit rather than the area surrounding it. The rabbit became more pronounced.

All these new and enhanced tools worked smoothly and are wonderful and quick fixes for images.

Smart Previews

This is a new feature in Lightroom 5. Smart Previews allow the user to work on a small preview of an image rather than on the large image itself. Suppose that your images are on an external hard drive. You can create a Smart Preview and turn off the external hard drive or work on the image on your laptop, for example, away from the stored image.

To try this out, I put an image on my USB external drive. This image was not part of a collection that I already had in Lightroom.

Improved Photo Book Creation

According to Adobe, Lightroom 5 has expanded and enhanced the book creation module started in Lightroom 4. Below is a comparison of the screens in the Book module between Lightroom 4 and 5. They are very similar as are the dropdown menus contained in the panels.

Slideshows with Videos and Still Images

In Lightroom 5, photographers can combine still images, video clips, and music to create an HD video slideshow that can be viewed on most devices.

System Requirements


  • Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor*
  • DirectX 10–capable or later graphics card
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1 or Windows 8
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive required if purchasing Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® retail boxed version
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services†

Mac OS

  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Mac OS X v10.7 or v10.8
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)
  • 2GB of available hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display
  • DVD-ROM drive required if purchasing Lightroom retail boxed version
  • Internet connection required for Internet-based services†

* Dual-core processor recommended for HD or AVCHD video functionality.

As a standalone, the full price for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is US $149.00 with an upgrade price of US $79.00.

The new image editing tools and enhancements plus Smart Previews I believe are the most important aspects of this new upgrade. Should you upgrade? It depends on how you use Lightroom 5. If you have a large catalog and use a laptop, the Smart Previews is a great feature, as are the Upright tool, the Enhanced Healing brush, and the Radial Gradient tool. Of course, you can always take it for a test drive with the free trial version. Don't know whether to obtain it through the Adobe Creative Cloud or as a standalone with a perpetual license, go on the Adobe website and read about the Adobe Creative Cloud as well as read about Lightroom and the Cloud. The basics from the Lightroom journal are reproduced below and should help answer some questions.

Lightroom and the Creative Cloud

"Adobe’s recent announcement around our Creative Cloud update has generated quite a few questions around how it will impact Lightroom 5. I’ve answered a few of the questions below and please feel free to ask additional questions in the comments.

Q. How much will Lightroom 5 cost?

A. We do not have pricing information to share at this time.

Q. Will Lightroom 5 be included as part of Adobe Creative Cloud?

A. Yes. Lightroom 5 will be delivered to Creative Cloud members at no extra charge when it’s available.

Q. Will I still be able to purchase Lightroom 5 outside of the Creative Cloud

A. Yes. Lightroom 5 will continue to be available as a standalone product, available for purchase as an Electronic Software Download(ESD) or as a boxed product with a traditional perpetual license.

Q. Will there be a different version of Lightroom called Lightroom CC?

A. No.

Q. Will there be features of Lightroom 5 that are exclusive to Creative Cloud members?

A. No.

Q. Will Lightroom become a subscription only offering after Lightroom 5?

A. Future versions of Lightroom will be made available via traditional perpetual licenses indefinitely"

The program ran smoothly and quickly and was very easy to use. You can work on individual photos or apply effects during import. For more information on Adobe products go to the Adobe website.