Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lightzone 3.0

Lightcrafts has made version 3.0 of Lightzone available for download this week, and let me tell you, I've only played with this new version a little, but I'm in love. It supports PEF and DNG files from the Pentax *ist D, DS, and DL cameras, as well as the latest K100D and K10D. The "edit" mode, which is akin to adjusting and developing in Lightroom and Aperture, is so nice to use, so well planned, and so simple that it begs the question why Lightcrafts hasn't been purchased by Adobe or Apple yet. Its "styles" section is used to quickly apply settings, which is fun, but the power in the application is in the exposure adjustment tools that let you really get into the nitty gritty of the tone curve by defining regions with the zone system. A list of all the new features can be read here and a quick description of all the adjustment tools are here. In fact, I'm impressed with how well the website is designed to answer questions. Want a comparison to Photoshop and Lightroom? Download this PDF chart. Want video demonstrations? Look no further.

Playing around with a shot I took of the Flatiron Building yesterday, from a Pentax *ist DS and the DA 70mm Limited, in Lightzone 3.0

For the first time since I saw Lightzone years ago, it finally feels as intuitive as I suspect it was meant to be from the start. Obviously the layout is now more like Lightroom, but that's okay. All the good apps are starting to trend that way anyhow. However, while the GUI is fast, the redraw is a bit slow on my G5. It's probably best on a system with at least a 2ghz Intel Core Duo. I'm going to revisit my digital negatives from my last test and start looking at how the new Lightzone measures up, but I guessing the results will probably be better than ACR 4.0.

Lightzone 3.0 is available as a free trial download, or an upgrade from previous versions (starting at $49), and the full version is $249. However, they have competitive upgrades. If you're a registered user of Adobe CS, CS2, or CS3, the cost will be $149. And if you own Aperture or Lightroom, the cost is just $99. Not bad.

Links: Lightzone 3.0

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lightzone is a good product, however, Lightcrafts has decided to drop support in version 3 for computer systems that do not have SSE2. That leaves a whole lot of AMD/Celeron based systems out of the equation for current and/or future updates.

Funny, both Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX run quite well on non-SSE2 machines. I suppose it is a mute issue now for our organization - although Lightzone has a couple of unique features, it pales in comparison to Capture NX as a raw converter and Lightroom/Aperture as complete work flow tools.

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