At first I hesitated to upgrade, because the LR extension seemed not relevant to my personal preferences. In case of LR2 -> LR3 transition the decision was obvious. But as soon I begun to experiment with the new Developer Module, I understood how significant is the step-up in its capabilities. I think that currently no one has the expertise and vision to provide any serious competitor to Lightroom. Below is an example of LR4 detail recovery: My wife uses the Lumix superzooms and sometimes she forgets to change the exposure mode properly. Here she kept the FZ35 camera in "M" and overexposed severely (the FZ35 compensates the image for the LCD display, and this "intelligent" function gives a false indication of a proper result!) This the *.RW2 file as imported into Lightroom:
A total loss... I tried the new LR4 Whites and Highlights sliders and got this stunning improvement:
I literally could not believe my eyes. To compare, this is the same image generated by LR3.6 with Recovery=100:
Congrats to the scientists and developers at Adobe, Lightroom is truly a great tool for photography with no equal. Atop of the scientific advances, with every major upgrade Adobe manages to provide a compelling package of novelty for the money!
This great recovery latitude extends now also into shadow areas. Its application reaches also into properly exposed images, of course in terms of camera setting. Whenever there still is chromatic information, LR4 seem capable to recover it with astonishing ability to preserve the hue (Pottery on Kauai, Canon 7D in P-mode, full sun outside, no flash used):
Maybe working more with curves in LR3 could provide a comparable results, but now with the new Basic Development I can really get some usable results quickly.
Foremost we can recover blown out skies in high contrast situations, like in this Na Pali image (Canon 7D P-mode):
12 versus 14bit raw files surely play a role, but with 12bit LR4 can also do wonders: Nikon 1:
Nikon D7000: These waves look just splendid, also the detail in shadows show up. Time effort 10-15sec. I am sure a perfectionist would do much more detail work, for example on the sky:
Brief tests with HDR (Photomatix Pro) show that often LR4 seem to mak a better job with one image, without the masking drama and noise in Photomatix!
And as it seems, more it come from Adobe. The V4.1 provides the brand new defringing controls, a salvation for an entire bunch of our images!
Recovery by Whites and Highlights makes an image look bland and flat. That's how your recovered image lookes to me. I think you should use shadows and darks as well since your overexposed image completely lacked those..
BTW, moving Highlights to 100 doesn't only affect highlights. It affects mids as well.
Both of you seem to be ignoring the fact that you can do local adjustments to highlights etc with the Adjustment Brush. It has most of the Develop options and they can just be brushed on where needed, instead of blanket adjustments.
Especially along the lines of "I have no scientific data whatsoever, but I KNOW that LR X.X is moar slower than LR Y.Y. I have 1024 GBz of RAM!!!!1oneone!"
(When will people understand that processor power is much more important to Lightroom speed than RAM?)
What I do know is that with LR4 I can get detail especially in highlights and shadows that I can't get with LR3 (or Nikon Capture NX2).
I've lost count of the number of old images where I've gone back to them with LR4 and in a couple of minutes produced markedly better results. In theory one should be able to get the same results with tone curves in LR3 or Nikon NX2 - but I've gone back to LR3 and NX2 with a number of photos, and been unable to replicate the LR4 results without considerable effort, if at all.
Did you mean to say I was complaining about Lightroom's Highligh recovery capabilities? Actually no. I was talking about the way you excersise those capabilities. How come that wasn't clear from my post?