A few months ago, Apple Computers stopped dipping its toe into digital imaging software and plunged it’s whole foot in with the release of Aperture, a post production tool for working with RAW images aimed squarely at professional photographers. Some would say that was encroaching in Adobe’s realm and there’s been rumbling within the industry on what Adobe would respond with.

Adobe finally did respond and what they’ve come up with is Lightroom, a product Adobe hopes will fill the void created by Apple’s offering. And apparently they’ve been working on it for some time.

“We first showed an early version of Lightroom at the Adobe Ideas Conference in April 2005 to demonstrate a new streamlined digital photography experience, from capture to print. Even in beta form, photographers will find world-class technology that complements Photoshop.”

-Adobe President Shantanu Narayen in a statement

The major drawback for Aperture is that it demands too much in minimum system requirements. It was designed to run on a system with at least two (dual) 2GHz PowerPC G5 processors and 2GB of RAM for optimal performance. While I do meet all of Apple’s performance requirements I donÂ’t match their OS requirement. I have a PC (yes yes, you can send all your hate mail).

So it is fine and dandy if your employer is willing to foot the bill for the upgrade, but what do you do if you’re a student? A student who is being left behind from learning new software that could potentially become a staple of the photographers workflow.

That’s where Adobe is hoping to step in it seems. Adobe developed Lightroom to run on the systems that Apple forgot. The slew of Macs not supported by Aperture and envualty the PC enviroment.

Right now, Adobe is recommending that those who want to try out Lightroom have a system with at least a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 768MB of memory and a 1,024-by-768 pixel screen. It won’t run on systems with less than 512MB of memory. That’s pretty much run-of-the-mill compared to Apeture’s lofty requirments.

If you’re on a Mac, be sure to download the beta and play with it. As a photographer in the PC environment, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

On another note, Abobe needs to change the name. Lightroom is awkward. Doesn’t LightTable make more photographic-sense?

Want more? No need to visit your local libary, check out these links:
Adobe’s offical video walkthrough
A first-look & primer at Lightroom
Hands on pre-release copy