Adobe Exploring Mobile Lightroom for RAW Editing

By Norman Chan

Enough processing power on an iPad 2 to run it.

Now this is really interesting. Adobe--whose MAX conference is going on this weekend--revealed on an online photography show that it is working on an iOS version of its RAW image processing software Lightroom. Apppearing on Scott Kelby's The Grid, Adobe Group Product Manager Tom Hogarty demoed an early internet app that could read and process RAW files from a Canon 5D Mark III, "developing" it using tools from Lightroom's Basic Development panel (eg. Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Vibrance, etc). While other RAW photo readers on iOS exist, like Apple's own iPhoto, Lightroom compatibility would allow photographers to sync edit paramaters between mobile and desktop, where copies of the RAW files would live. Performance is also a big concern for Adobe, said Hogarty.

On a related note, one of the problems I'm running into with my iPad photo workflow and RAW is the inability to choose what files to import using the camera connection tool. Since I'm shooting all my photos in RAW now, the iPad only allows me to import both RAW and JPEG while the SD card is connected, even if I only want to import the JPEG for viewing and light editing. And once a photo is imported, there's no way just to delete the RAW or JPEG version on the iPad. My current solution is to plug that SD card into my desktop and move all the RAW files to a separate temporary folder, then sync just the JPEGs to my iPad before moving the RAW files back again for Lightroom import on the desktop.

Adobe MAX being this weekend, and we're expecting to see many more new products and features announced from Adobe at the show. Can't wait to see more of Photoshop's upcoming deblurring tool!