Listening to Lightroom podcast #8, as a PC user I'm frustrated at not still being able to test it for myself. But frankly Mac users who've got their hands on the program do so as photographers first, no matter how much they often bore you with their computer brand. So let them clap with joy or choke on bugs, and let us PC users have a beta when it's ready.

But the more I hear and read about Lightroom, the less impatient I become. Are Adobe lowering their sights and making Lightroom just a raw processor, replacing Bridge and to some extent Photoshop, but being little better than Bridge (ie nearly useless) at helping you find or manage your images?

I'd like to think I'm wrong on this, but podcast 8 made me think Adobe's developers are now more interested in rudimentary selection-based edits, such as in LightZone or Capture NX. And at Lightroom's forum some posters don't want DAM features. They're wedding and event photographers and I can see where coming from - they can get away with using folders to organize their files, and in the old days I bet they trashed their negs the second they were paid. Essentially what Bruce Fraser says in the podcast is you sell “creatives” the pretty raw processor and give them the dowdy DAM later. Which sounds as solid a commitment as “domani” or “manana”…. High volume raw processing might be more immediately painful or sexier (substitute “and” depending on your preferences). But for a big chunk of Lightroom's target market the other side of the same high volume coin is DAM and their search requirements often span multiple drives and folders. This group needs a DAMP (DAM+processing) program like Lightroom originally promised to be, and starting off with the raw processor is always likely to produce an unequal and unhappy marriage.

It makes me think a “best of breed” solution is going to suit me better, most of the time, than a “one ring to rule them all” like Lightroom or the Mac-only Aperture. How nice would it be for a DAMP solution to emerge out of a solid DAM program such as Microsoft iView? How about Microsoft Capture One or Microsoft LightZone?