I have been playing with the Lightroom Beta and I’m so excited that I can tell you about it now!

As of 12:30 PM PST today, April 15, you can download the Beta for Lightroom 5 from Adobe’s website.

There are a few features in this beta that I am particularly excited about.

What are the new features in the Lightroom 5 beta?

  • The spot removal tool now works like a brush.  We will no longer be limited in Lightroom to removing small circular shaped blemishes.  The screen shot below shows how I removed an irregular shape with just one brush stroke.
  • Apply local adjustments with the radial filter.  The gradient filter is good for skies and straight lines, while the adjustment brush is good for localized areas.  This is a great combination of the two – constrain your edit to a given location with a gradual transition to the unedited area.  You can create off center vignette effects, and add more than one to a photo.
  • Correct perspective and distortion issues using Upright.
  • Smart Previews – previews are editable now, even if offline.  Say that you store your Lightroom catalog on your laptop and store your photos on an external hard drive.  Even if the hard drive isn’t attached to your laptop, you can edit your photos.  The previews will not produce high resolution, print quality files. However, you will be able to work without toting the EHD everwhere.  When you do connect that external hard drive back to the laptop, the edits will sync seamlessly with the full files.

Do you have to own a prior version of Lightroom to use the beta?

No!  Anyone can download and test Lightroom 5.  I suspect that after the official release date, the beta won’t work anymore.  You would need to purchase at that point.

Is this version bug free?

Not necessarily.  If you decide to try out this beta, know that it might not be perfect.  It hasn’t given me any problems yet, however.

Which software does the beta run on?

You need Mac Lion, Mountain Lion, Windows 7 or Windows 8 to run the beta.

Where can I download the beta?

Download the Lightroom 5 beta from Adobe by clicking this link.

Where do I provide feedback to Adobe on how the software works?

This is what Adobe has to say about feedback from customers:  Adobe encourages customers to provide comments through its community forums on both new and legacy features. Feedback offered may be integrated into updates added before the final version of the software is released.  Share what you have to say here.

Not everyone is cut out for using beta software.  However, if you are an early adopter of technology, I encourage you to give the Lightroom 5 Beta a shot.  Now’s your chance to have a say in your photo editing future!