Now that the Adobe Lightroom for iPad app is finally released I had to take it for a good spin and report back to everyone my thoughts. I’ll save some overall feedback for the end and first start with a quick review of the functionality. As a reminder the app is a free download available for iPad only but you do have to have the most recent version of Lightroom and be a creative cloud subscriber.

When you first launch the app it will have you sign in to your Creative Cloud account. This is required and you can’t move past this if you don’t have a active Adobe Creative Cloud account.

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Once you are logged in you will see any collections that you have in the desktop version. To get a collection synced from the desktop version of Lightroom first make sure you have the latest version installed and then in the collections section you will see a little icon to the left of the collection name. Click on that and this will start to sync the collection to your Lightroom iPad app.

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Now that you have a collection synched just open up the iPad app and you will be able to click into any collections. Here you will see a grid view of the images in the collection. If you want to have an overlay of some details just use a 2 finger double tap. You will see the F-Stop, ISO and shutter speed shown over the thumbnail.

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If you tap on one of the images it will appear full screen and go into the editing mode. The first feature you will see in the built in tutorial is how to rate your images. This is actually the most useful feature for the app in my mind. If I just uploaded a full shoot and wanted to go through the images to make my picks on what I want to keep or not you can swipe up or down to pick or reject the images. Then swipe to the side to go to the next photo. Everything loads pretty much instantly and it’s a pretty nice experience. You can sit on the couch watching a movie and flipping through to choose your picks for a shoot very quickly.

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You will also see 4 icons at the bottom of the app when you are in the full picture view. The first icon will allow you to see a filmstrip of small thumbnails beneath the main image so you can navigate through the collection. The second option is where you will do all of your main editing. Here you have the same settings you would have in the Basic section of the Develop module:
– White Balance
– Temperature
– Tint
– Auto Tone
– Exposure
– Contrast
– Highlights
– Shadows
– Whites
– Blacks
– Clarity
– Vibrance
– Saturation

Tap on any of these and a slider will appear so you can adjust the settings up or down. Again everything is very fast and smooth, you can also use a double finger tap to have an overlay of some camera details and a histogram show over the image and as you edit the histogram will update in real time.

The third option gives you some filters and effects. While these are nice you can’t edit them at all or add your own so you are a little limited here. In total there are 47 filters you can choose from.

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The final option will give you the ability to crop the image and includes a bunch of preset aspect ratios that you can choose form. Just drag the cropping bounding box to crop, very straightforward and easy.

Overall I’m glad that Lightroom is moving into mobile and helping to give us a way to edit our images on the go. However the app feels empty and lacking of a lot of the power features that Lightroom is known for. You can’t use any type of brushes to fine tune your images, there are no curves adjustments or really any advanced editing features. There are many types of image editing apps that are much more powerful than this like: Camera +, PhotoForge, Phototoaster and many more. I think the main thing that Lightroom has going for it is the sync with the desktop version. So if you needed to make a really quick set of edits and then finish them later from your desktop then it would work well.

Hopefully Adobe has a version 2 coming and will keep adding to this app as time goes on. Also to give Adobe some credit the app is very quick, you can flick through your images in a breeze with really no delay and the app actually feels faster than Lightroom on the desktop. If you have any thoughts let me know in the comments below.

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