Graduated and radial filters are very intuitive.

Graduated and radial filters are very intuitive.

Lightroom Mobile 2.4 is available on the iOS App Store right now, and it has some exciting changes:

  • Directly import raw files
  • Local adjustments – graduated and radial filters
  • Lens corrections
  • Copyright added to imports
  • Keyboard shortcuts available when iPad keyboard attached

Directly importing raw files is undoubtedly a major development for LrMobile. I must admit though – it just doesn’t interest me. When I travel, I take my laptop and an external hard drive, and I don’t feel like spending money on Apple’s camera connection cable. But clearly mobile hardware is now making such a workflow more practical, and I acknowledge that many others have demanded raw import since day 1. Be careful what you wish for.

This is how Adobe envisage its use:

We’re sure it’s happened to you before: you’re out taking photos (in raw of course) and you capture a real stunner that you can’t wait to share with the world. Until now, you had to either transfer a JPEG version of the file over or you had to wait until you got back to your desktop or laptop. With the raw technology preview, you’ll be able to import raw photos immediately to either your iPhone or iPad, edit them, and then share them, anywhere you’ve got a connection. Our goal with Lightroom for mobile is to make it an indispensable part of your photography workflow, providing the tools that you’re familiar with and the quality you expect in a product that can be with you, no matter when inspiration strikes. With this technology preview, we want to push the boundaries of how photographers around the world work with their mobile devices.

You get all of the benefits of raw, such as the ability to change the white balance, being able to recover blown out highlights, access to the full range of color information, as well as editing an uncompressed file, all using the exact same technology that powers Lightroom on your desktop. An added benefit is that the raw file that you’ve imported into Lightroom for iOS will be synced with Lightroom on your other devices, such as Lightroom for desktop or Lightroom on the web, along with any of the edits, star ratings, or flags that you added.

While importing raw files does nothing for me, I’m much more interested in being able to add graduated and radial adjustments. These are added in a way that will be very familiar, if a bit awkward. First you enable Local Adjustments by tapping the button at the bottom of the screen, then you choose “Linear Selection” or “Radial Selection” on the screen’s left, then you click a little + button at its top. But then the adjustments handle just like in Lightroom Desktop, and the adjustments “round trip” (I guess that’s a verb now) just like any other adjustments.

Incidentally, I think they’ve made a mistake using the technically-correct but ugly and unphotographic names “Linear Selection” and “Radial Selection”. I appreciate “filter” misleads those who use other mobile apps, but filter is what they’re called on the desktop and LrMobile isn’t just for mobile-only folk, you know.