Photographers and DSLR video shooters have yet another reason to rejoice as Adobe has just released a public beta of Lightroom 4. It’s a free download, to let users test out quite a lot of new Lightroom features, and looks like it might be the biggest Lightroom update to date.

Here’s the bullet point list from the Adobe Labs Lightroom 4 website:

  • Highlight and shadow recovery brings out all the detail that your camera captures in dark shadows and bright highlights.
  • Photo book creation with easy-to-use elegant templates.
  • Location-based organization lets you find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras.
  • White balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of your images.
  • Additional local editing controls let you adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas of your images.
  • Extended video support for organizing, viewing, and making adjustments and edits to video clips.
  • Easy video publishing lets you edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr.
  • Soft proofing to preview how an image will look when printed with color-managed printers.
  • Email directly from Lightroom using the email account of your choice.

If you’re going to jump in then it’s worth reading over the important notes on the Lightroom Journal blog, which discuss how the beta version will interact with existing Lightroom installs and catalogs. I’ve used other Lightroom betas in the past and haven’t had any issues with them damaging any existing Lightroom data. Scroll down on that Lightroom blog page for even more bullet-point detail of what’s new in the various modules.

One very interesting change to Lightroom 4 is much better support for video. DSLR video is now supported right in the application. You can playback video, trim the in-and-out points, easily export a still frame and—this is the biggie—do some actual color correction on video using some of Lightroom’s tools. It doesn’t look like it’s a full-blown color grading application (Adobe has Speedgrade for that now!) but it looks like a quick way to make a color correction and export that to a new video file or send it to a supported service like Facebook or Flickr.

I’ve embedded the Lightroom 4 Beta: Working with DSLR Video clip below. There are a lot of detailed videos online now, both in the Lightroom 4 Beta Community Videos channel on YouTube and the Lightroom 4 Beta Julieanne Kost Videos channel.