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Lightroom 5: Adobe releases latest version of its image management and editing software

lightroom 5Adobe on Sunday released Lightroom 5, the latest version of its image management and editing software popular with both professional and enthusiast photographers.

The official launch comes two months after the release of the beta version and brings with it a raft of new features designed to tempt current Lightroom users to fork out for an upgrade as well as bring on board new users looking for an efficient way to manage their photo collections.

With Lightroom 5, Adobe continues to expand its range of editing tools which, while well short of what a dedicated image editing application like Photoshop has to offer, does nevertheless allow for speedy and effective image manipulation. While the software already has a removal tool for photographers looking to zap those pesky dust spots, a new Advanced Healing Brush helps you to more effectively eliminate unwanted artifacts from images, including irregular shapes.

Feel like straightening that tilting tower in Pisa? With Upright, you can. This new tool lets you automatically square and align an image with a single click, though you can of course still correct it manually, with sliders allowing for minute adjustments to characteristics such as distortion, scale and aspect.

The new Radial Gradient feature allows you to highlight important parts of your photo with greater flexibility and control, offering the opportunity to create off-center vignette effects as well as multiple vignetted areas on a single image.

Lightroom 5 also brings with it advanced black-and-white conversion capabilities together with highlight and shadow recovery options. A new location-based organization tool lets you find, group and tag images by location and create a photo journey.

Improved photo-book creation also comes with the refreshed software while the slideshow module now offers the chance to combine still images, video clips, and music to create an HD video showing off your creative skills.

Lightroom 5 requires Windows 7 or 8 while the Mac version needs Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8. Although the jump from Lightroom 3 to 4 saw its price fall by 50 percent to $149, Adobe is offering no such reduction this time around, with the new software continuing to retail for $149. If you’re running an older version and fancy making use of the new features, you can upgrade for $79.