As mentioned in my post earlier today, Adobe Lightroom has come to the iPad in the form of Lightroom Mobile. If you are an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, the app is free. You download it from the App Store, sign in with your Adobe ID and you are ready to go if you have also updated your Mac version of Lightroom to the just-released version 5.4.
Lightroom is based on collections, and any collection on your Mac can be quickly synced with the iPad version. Lightroom Mobile works with Smart Previews, the compressed DNG format files that Adobe added as a feature in Lightroom 5. On your Mac, your files are full size RAW format. You work on the Smart Previews on your iPad.
Changes you make on your iPad are synched back to the full size versions on your Mac. The same is true the other way. Make an edit in a photo in a synced collection, and presto, the change appears on your iPad. It's best to do this over WiFi for speed, and so you are not running over any cellular data allotments you may have.
Think of Lightroom Mobile as a remote extension to your Mac files. The app needs that Internet connection for updates to work, but you can edit files without an Internet connection and sync them when you're connected.
The iPad version of Lightroom is very well executed. It's not just a simple port. It fully supports things like swipes and pinching, but also makes good use of taps. Tapping with two fingers shows you the meta-data in your image. A three-finger tap provides a before and after look at your edits. There are graphic elements that tell you when a file is syncing.
On the iPad, you can add photos from your camera roll or any folder that the app can point to. There is also an auto-import feature -- when it is turned on, any photo saved to the camera roll is imported into Lightroom Mobile. Images can be sorted in the same ways Lightroom Mobile's big brother allows.
Slide shows are supported and very attractive. You get some choices of transitions, like fades, wipes and flips. I didn't note any AirPlay support though, and hopefully it is coming in a future update.
Editing is not as feature-rich as with Lightroom on the desktop, but important functions like Clarity, Vibrance, Saturation, color temperature, highlights, shadows and more are supported. There are the same presets that Lightroom has on the desktop version as well. I don't see things like lens correction, but you can make those edits on the desktop and instantly see the changes on the iPad.
Lightroom Mobile is going to be terrifically popular with pro and advanced photographers. If you already use Lightroom, and have a Creative Cloud subscription, you're ready to go at no additional cost. If you don't use Adobe Products, this iPad app might bring you into the fold.
Lightroom Mobile is not a quickly thrown-together app. It's going to be a big deal and right now it is only available on the iPad. Android users will have to wait, and Adobe is mum about doing anything for the slow-starting Windows Surface tablets.
The app is already getting great ratings from users. Lighrtoom Mobile requires iOS 7. It's happy to run on any iPad that supports iOS 7, which takes it back to the second-generation iPad or the first-generation iPad mini. The app is a 46 MB download.
- Key specs
- Form factor Tablet
- Operating system iOS (8)
- Screen size 9.7 inches
- Storage type Internal storage (16 GB, Flash)
- Maximum battery life Up to 10 hours
- Dimensions 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 in
- Weight 0.96 lb
- Announced 2014-10-16