Lightroom 3.0 is on its way after a long beta-testing period. Ian Lyons has broken down the new features quite well on his Web site.
One of the more interesting changes is that Adobe has re-engineered its RAW processing engine to the point that it isn’t exactly backwards compatible. Photos processed in past versions of Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW will be labeled “Process Version 2003” (the year that Camera RAW became a standard feature in Photoshop). Photos processed in the new version will have “Process Version 2010” appended to them.
The difference? Supposedly, the noise reduction and sharpening tools have been improved dramatically. The change in the way RAW files are converted to TIFF, JPEG, etc. is supposed to yield a greater quality image as well.
One of the other changes to Lightroom is support for DSLR video files, although my understanding is that the implementation is rudimentary. You cannot play back a video file within Lightroom–it launches your preferred video viewer (Quicktime, Windows Media Play, etc.). What I do not know yet is whether there is at least some ability to put video files inside of Collections to keep them organized. I would certainly hope that this functionality was not overlooked.
I did not participate in the Beta program because I simply didn’t have the time as I was enrolled in classes at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, but now that I am working on my final project I have a more flexible schedule, and am looking forward to the changes in Lightroom.