Adobe announces Lightroom 5 beta for free download

New advanced healing brush and improved workflow

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Adobe's latest version of the popular photo editing and management software, Lightroom 5, is now available as a free public beta. As the company is looking for feedback on the software, members of the public will be able to download and review the program ahead of its full launch.

A number of new features have been added, while others have been improved since Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.

The new radial filter enables vignettes in various places on the image, rather than just in the corners. Improvements have been made to the healing brush, which now enables you to make a custom shape for the brush, rather than the standard circular shape.

There's also a new way to fix perspectives and converging verticals with one touch of a button, known as the Upright tool. Adobe says over 50 additional "JDIs" (Just Do It) features should speed up workflow.

Dust trap

Adobe announces Lightroom 5 beta for free download

A Visualise Spots feature quickly highlights dust in an image sensor to enable quick removal. The sensitivity of this feature can be increased or decreased, depending on your preference.

Smart Preview is a particularly interesting feature in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 that enables image editing even when the full file is not available - for instance if it's stored on an external hard drive. When the full file is later available, any edits are rendered.

The way photo books are created has seen some improvements, with the ability to modify and edit page numbers more easily, while page templates can now be created.

Adobe has thought about the way that photographers now work with video, as well as photography. A new video slideshow tool enables customers to combine still images with video clips in an HD slideshow.

Adobe Lightroom 5 is available now as a free download via this link until the beta period expires.