Adobe has just announced the availability of Lightroom 4. There is also a Lightroom 4 Trial Version for anyone who is considering the product and would like a free trial run. The trial version is good for 30 days.
The full version of Lightroom sells for $149, which is an amazing price for this powerful tool. If you already own Lightroom, the upgrade to version 4 is only $79. There is the possibility of an additional 30% discount if you purchase any of the Creative Suite programs that include Photoshop CS5 or CS5 Extended. There is also free shipping of the disc version until the end of March.
For those who may not be familiar with the program, it is a combination of a raw processor that is the same engine used in Photoshop, and a database access management tool for your photography. It includes additional modules for creating slide shows and web galleries and a very powerful printing module. New in v4 is direct emailing of images and a new module for book creation. New highlight and shadow controls make reigning in contrasty images unbelievably simple without the need for complex masking and multiple processing of images. This is a preview for us Photoshop users of features that will be in CS6 very shortly.
Many landscape and fine art photographers find Lightroom to be the only tool they need to process their images. Others find the image management tools a powerful means of organization. If you add Photoshop or Elements to Lightroom you can export images for the added tools they offer, and return the results back to Lightroom for output. There are many other aspects of the program that may appeal to you, so you might consider downloading the trail version for a test. Be aware that like most powerful programs the initial confrontation of the interface may be a little confusing, but if you are familiar with ACR you should at least find image processing pretty intuitive.