Yes, Lightroom 3 & ACR will feature lens correction

Ah, we were trying to save this little bit to be “One more thing…” when the apps ship, but we can’t wait to share it: Both Lightroom 3 and Camera Raw 6 (part of CS5) will offer automatic lens correction. PM Tom Hogarty writes,

The easiest application of lens correction is to apply the lens profile technology that encompasses geometric distortion (barrel and pincushion distortion), chromatic aberration and lens vignetting characteristics.

A handful of lens profiles will be provided by default and a Lens Profile Creator Utility will be posted on Adobe Labs allowing photographers to create their own lens profiles using a simple procedure.

Check it out:

With the introduction of killer new noise reduction, demosaicing algorithms, and sharpening plus sophisticated lens correction, the Lightroom/Camera Raw duo put even more distance between themselves and the competition, and I’d expect them to keep mopping the floor with Aperture among pro photographers.

[Update: I neglected to mention one detail: Lens correction in Camera Raw requires a free update that’ll be available soon after CS5 starts shipping.]

44 thoughts on “Yes, Lightroom 3 & ACR will feature lens correction

  1. As I posted over on Tom’s blog, this is *huge* to get this in Lr3! I can’t wait to get lens correction inside the non-destructive Lr workflow!

  2. Is it me, or are the hands and rear view mirrors in the first pic somewhat distorted after lens “correction?”

  3. What about face recognition?
    [No, sorry. When I’ve queried photogs they’ve said it’s a nice-to-have feature, but that they cared much more about image quality. –J.]

  4. I think you’re saying ACR is part of CS5, but is LR in the suite now? Is LR coming out the same day?
    [No, they’re independent; sorry for any confusion. –J.]

  5. @Jim: We’ve always been told that ACR and LR’s Develop module share a lot of code. Honestly, when you look at LR, many of its critical features were already present piecemeal in Bridge, PS, and ACR. LR pulls them all together and adds quite a bit more.

  6. Hi John,
    This question is not specific to lens correction (although the video clip is amazing).
    I have a recollection that the last time Adobe introduced new version of Lightroom and Photoshop there was a special deal if you bought them at the same time. That deal was announced sometime after the initial releases.
    Will there be any special combo package this time? I would prefer to upgrade Photoshop as soon as possible, but it would be nice if Adobe would offer the discount in advance of the actual Lightroom release.
    Any guidance would be appreciated.

  7. That is perspective distortion, which is caused by an object’s proximity to the imaging plane. It looks like the photo was taken with a fisheye lens, so there’s a good chance the hand/arm and mirror were very close to the lens and thus perspective is exaggerated.

  8. John,
    I’m one of the many Aperture users who would love to switch to Lightroom, having used the LR3 beta quite extensively. Apple did manage to get Aperture 3 out the door, which has alleviated some of the pain, but the urge to switch is still there.
    What would get me (and, I’m sure, many others) to switch in a heartbeat would be some kind of import utility from Aperture to Lightroom.
    I realise that the adjustments would be difficult, if not impossible, to bring over, but even simple things like the folder arrangements of projects and keywords should be relatively straightforward to import into LR and this would really ease the otherwise monumental task involved in migrating thousands of images into Lightroom…

  9. YES, one more thing indeed! Very glad Adobe is sneaking this into an update for CS5 rather than having to wait until CS6. Your response to my concerns about this in an earlier post, “[Oh, one never knows… –J.]”, had me hoping.
    Can’t tell for sure, but it looks like the vertical perspective shift is taking into account focal length. Is this right? Some of the other perspective correction methods in Photoshop behave differently (e.g. free transform); using these others, you might get verticals vertical and horizontals horizontal, but not have their scales right (e.g. a square shot at an angle might end up as a rectangle afterwards).
    It’s interesting that the area above the sign gets pushed outside the edges of the image. Would the proper way to not lose this information be to use the scale operation, or is there a way to shift the image down or do something akin to changing the canvas size?
    Thanks for the great news about this upcoming feature making it into Lightroom and Photoshop!

  10. Excellent I was hoping this would be in LR3.
    So is there a “one more thing” still to come?
    [Not to my knowledge, but we do have a few small things yet to show. –J.]

  11. I’m planning on moving to LR3, but staying with PS CS4 for at least a while. Will PS CS4 be able to open LR3 files that have been “touched” by the new lens correction feature? Will CS4 get a camera RAW update to support this?
    [I’m afraid not, but you can just have Lightroom burn a TIFF or PSD for PS to edit. The only downside is that you end up with an intermediate file on disk even if you don’t save edits in PS. –J.]
    It looks like a cool tool and can’t wait to play with it. Thanks!

  12. You say there’ll be a few more minor things coming? Is one of them tethered capture for my D80 and many other currently un-supported SLRs? It’s killing me that I’m *this* close to tethered capture in Lightroom.

  13. Well, for non destructive lens correction in PS you could also use the Lens Correction filter on a Smart Object (that may contain a raw file).
    If i see it right, the Lens Correction filter in CS5 has about the same automatic correction of vignetting/CA/distortion as ACR. Now the question would be, are there any differences between *automatic* correction in Lens Correction vs in ACR, any disadvantages in one of the possibilities, do they use the same lens profiles?
    Definitely highly interesting improvement.

  14. Yeah, I played with the face recognition in Picasa and Aperture and as it currently stands it’s more of a nuisance.
    What’s needed for it to work is to have better control over thresholds – for example recognize only if face is bigger than 20% of the image and it’s not out of focus.
    with Picasa, it started detecting and adding all faces it could find; I had photos taken at sport events with huge crowds, resulting in a huge collection of faces I did not care about… overall it proved a bigger chore than manually tagging the people I am actually interested in.

  15. This is fantastic!!!
    Will there be a way to set this as an import preset so it is automatically applied to everything that should get it?

  16. Is this more or less the same as the existing Distort > Lens Correction inside Photoshop itself? (it’s not just in Camera Raw in CS5 is it)?

  17. They use the same profiles, though there will be separate ones for raw vs non-raw (fundamental color space and image size differences). Image quality results will be similar. There are some workflows that will be simpler in ACR when working with raw files. For example, to make the best use of lens corrections in PS, the image in PS should be uncropped (full original size); in ACR you won’t have to worry about this because the raw image data is always uncropped (or its area is known relative to the uncropped area, e.g., when shooting DX mode or 5:4 mode on a Nikon D3).

  18. No, it is much more sophisticated. The PS CS5 Lens Correction plug-in itself has been extended to support lens profiles, which do a much better job quality-wise. Much easier too, since if the image metadata (i.e., EXIF) is known, then the plug-in will simply figure out which camera & lens you took the picture with, then load the appropriate profile and apply the correction. You can still fiddle with the manual controls as desired, of course.

  19. Do the profiles for zoom lenses take into account the variance in distortion characteristics throughout the zoom range?
    This feature is already going to be a huge time saver for me, but that would be the proverbial icing on the cake.

  20. Having played with both Aperture 3 and the latest Lightroom beta, I decided to purchase Aperture 3 vs. investing in Lightroom. The biggest reason? It works more like iPhoto in that it is better integrated into the overall OS and seemed a bit more powerful with the image-correction tools. Any plans for Lightroom 3 to improve OS integration to work more like iPhoto does with integrating across multiple programs, etc.?

  21. @jim – What parts of iPhoto’s OS integration do you want in Lightroom? Apple’s in a unique position to extend the OS to suit their products. For Lightroom, we’ve gone to great lengths to provide tight integration with Photoshop through our shared Camera Raw technology, workflow automation through Smart Objects, HDR and Panoramas.

  22. Yes, Jason. For example, it is common for zoom lenses to have some barrel distortion at the “wide” end of the zoom range, and some pincushion distortion at the “long” end of the zoom range. The profile accounts for this. As Tom demonstrated in the video, all you have to do is click the “enable” checkbox to turn it on, and you’re done. Camera Raw and Lightroom will read the focal length information from the EXIF and apply the appropriate correction data from the profile. Hope this helps.

  23. OK, so this has nothing to do with Photoshop then. Since ACR opens, er, “in” Photoshop, and the name of the function is the same as PS’s filter (Lens Correction), I thought there might be a connection.
    [To be clear, Lens Correction exists as a filter inside Photoshop (as it has for a while) and has been upgraded there, AND it’s being added to Camera Raw. Why both places? It’s generally more convenient to apply corrections during the raw conversion stage if possible (as they can be added to presets, etc.), but we want to support corrections to already-processed images, too. –J.]

  24. “Mopping the floor with Aperture.” Please post some updated numbers to validate that statement.
    [The most recent InfoTrends survey is the one to which I linked. The trend line in it was very clear, and since that time Lightroom has added the imaging improvements I noted (not to mention workflow improvements, etc.). –J.]

  25. >>What about face recognition?
    [No, sorry. When I’ve queried photogs they’ve said it’s a nice-to-have feature, but that they cared much more about image quality. –J.]

  26. Hi David.
    Do yourself a FAVOR. STOP running all over the Internet trying to defend Apple Aperture.
    I know you feel a bit peeved but you can’t stop the Lightroom machine.

  27. Im a LR-addict. I will defenately upgrade and im a beta user.
    But i think the target file handling dialogs in the import is very confusing…
    It seems that it always start from scratch instead of using the same interface in the left pane in library mode.
    Put perhaps its not final…

  28. The Lightroom “machine” will always have more users than Aperture for two reasons: First, Lightroom runs on Macs and PCs instead of just Macs as Aperture does. Second, there is no barrier to entry for users of Camera Raw since its adjustments carry over into Lightroom. The barrier to entry for moving from Camera Raw to Aperture is huge since it means losing all of your adjustments.
    So bragging about Lightroom “mopping the floor” with Aperture is disingenuous since it falsely implies that Lightroom and Aperture are competing on even footing.
    [No, Mark, what’s disingenuous is to keep ignoring the data to which I linked. Comparing apples to Apples, Lightroom is crushing Aperture among pros *on the Mac platform*. Go take another look. –J.]

  29. The fact that Apple doesn’t create a PC version of Aperture is their own choice. They could compete with us there if they choose. So using the level playing field argument isn’t a good one.

  30. Sweet! I think non-destructive lens corrections at the raw level are awesome and I can’t wait to try it out.
    And here’s to hoping the “one more thing…” is some sort of geotagging feature. I can dream, right? 😉

  31. “mopping the floor with Aperture”
    Those numbers you reference look like complete BS. I see no reference to Capture One, Canon/Nikon supplied software, iPhoto, etc. Also I think you might be surprised by how many photographers still shoot JPEG, and yet still use LR/Aperture. 58% of photographers using ACR?! I’m a wedding photographer and I don’t know nor have heard of one single person who uses ACR. Surely the wedding/portrait market is a large share of business for these products? I’m virtually certain LR is the market leader but these numbers don’t pass the smell test.
    [You’d have to take it up with InfoTrends. As I’ve explained more than once in the comments on those studies (which have run for three years), I didn’t include the (lower) numbers on other raw converters because I was comparing only LR and Aperture. –J.]
    Anyways, the lens distortion correction looks great. I’m a long-time Aperture user, and don’t really see a compelling reason to switch, but I love the competition that keeps these products improving. What I think is really great about Aperture, that is never ever mentioned, is the album design tool. That alone is worth the purchase price of Aperture, since with LR you would have to shell out another $200-$500 for that function separately.

  32. Can anybody help me please. I’ve created a profile of my Pentax lens with the new ‘Adobe Lens Profile Creator’. It’s saved in /Users/(User Name)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/LensProfiles/1.0.
    I can use it inside Photoshop CS5 (Filter –> Lens Correction…). But it’s not recognized in ACR 6 / LR3b2. What do I need to do to use my lens profile also in ACR6?

  33. Very nice feature, finally I don’t need to export and create huge TIFFs file only to correct distortion in lightroom!
    I’d like to see a feature added though: compared to PTLens, there’s one little feature – but extremely useful imho – which the new ACR (and LR3 too?) lacks, that is the shifting of the image when correcting the perspective. If you look at the first perspective correction example here, you see that it’s cropping out some part of the image on the top, to introduce some gray in the bottom. It would be nice to be able to set an offset – in the example it would be downward – so that the upper part is preserved and the gray part on the bottom would be reduced.
    It wouldn’t cost much in terms of programming and performance… would this be possible?

  34. Why can’t Adobe release ACR 6 for CS4 ? It looks to me as though it is purely a marketing decision to force people to buy CS5.
    I use LR2 + CS4 but LR3 will break my workflow unless I shell out NZ$1000’s this really sucks.

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