Ever since I upgraded my Adobe Lightroom 4, I ran into all sort of problems. You can go back and read my rants HERE and HERE. About a month after Adobe released their Lightroom 4.0, they finally came out with an iteration of 4.1 that did resolve some of the major bugs in 4.0. They fixed the adjustment curve issues, so your LR3 templates would somewhat work with that of LR4 (note: they still don’t look the same as the writing time of this post, but better than 4.0 for sure). I noticed that things are not *as* sluggish as 4.0, but it’s still not as fast as 3.x used to be. Moreover, the memory usage is still through the roof. There’s supposedly a fix for the slowness, which you can read it on PhotoCamel forum, but the fix doesn’t work for me.
I’ll give Adobe LR4 credit when it’s due, though. Like many others are saying, the Clarity Tool and the Noise Reduction Tool work better than that of LR3. I really like the more options that they give you with the Local Adjustment Brushes, and the fact that the Spot Removal Tool is now smarter (still very slow if you remove too many spots).
I’ve also gotten used to the new sliders of Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks. In fact, they do seem to work better compared to LR3 when it comes to fixing blowouts. If you recall, the Recovery slider always had the tendency to change your white balance. I’m glad it’s all working better now with LR4 that I don’t have to go back and fix my white balance after fixing the blowouts.
This is a major improvement: I recently noticed that if you’re working in Lightroom and wanting to bring a photo into Photoshop (by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + E), you don’t have to save the image as TIFF in Photoshop for Lightroom to recognize the file. You can just save it as a PSD file with maximum compatibility and Lightroom will pick up the edit in real time. This was NOT the case with LR3, if I remember correctly. If you brought a photo from Lightroom to Photoshop, Lightroom would automatically convert the file into TIFF and open it in Photoshop. If you want to preserve the layers, you’d need to save it as PSD, so you’d end up with 2 ginormous files plus the raw for each image you edit in Photoshopt from Lightroom. Now, once you open an image from Lightroom to Photoshop, Photoshop will open the file in RAW format, and once you hit ‘Save’, just pick PSD and off you go. This seems very trivial, I’m not sure why it wasn’t an option before.
While I was editing, I took a glance at my system resources, and saw that both Lightroom 4.1 and Photoshop CS6 hogged up about 10 GB in RAM, with Lightroom having ~2.5 GB and Photoshoping having about 7 GB. It seems that Photoshop could potentially hog more if your system gives it more, and I do feel like I could use some more memory. At the moment, I have a total of 12 GB, triple channel, 1600 MHz. I have 3 sticks of CORSAIR and 3 sticks of OCZ, so I’ve run out of available slots. If I wanted to upgrade my memory, it’ll be 24 GB. Not sure I’m ready to shell out the cash just yet.
All in all, Lightroom 4.1 is in fact better than 4.0. It still doesn’t perform as well as I’d like it to, but it’s definitely a good iteration. If you have a powerful computer that could handle its memory hunger, go for it. If not, I recommend you stick with LR3 until Adobe really sorts out its performance issues.