So I played around with the new Lightroom 4 beta and am a happy camper. Being a beta, it runs on the slow side as I would guess they will still optimize code and all that technical stuff. Going from version 3 to v. 4 should be fairly easy, but you have to unlearn a few sequences. For new users, using LR 4 will be a bit easier. With older versions it was OK to not follow the top-to-bottom sequence of controls and adjustments in order; now it is recommended. Good things: Clarity is even better with few chances of halos; the noise reduction and sharpening seem even more improved beyond anything Photoshop can do, truly excellent. White balance is more accurate as you can control more the sampling area. The confusing Brightness control in Develop module is gone--use Exposure and the tone curves. All values are standardized to default to 0, rather than the strange mix of 50 and 0. You can now adjust the brightness and contrast of printed output with sliders from the Print module, which is very helpful. The adjustment brush/graduated filters (functionality similar to Layers but more automated) now allows you to selectively change noise and moire within parts of the image. Soft proofing is far easier than Photoshop and adjustable. Not-so-good things: You need an Intel Mac and Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.8) at a minimum. They have replaced the Recovery and Fill Light sliders (which many of us have been addicted to) with Highlights and Shadows sliders. These do the same things and more (negative strength changes too) but it's a change. I haven't check out the book making, nor the video editing or web capabilities. Here is a photo I just took in Oregon and was processed in LR4. Canon 7D, 100-400L lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f 6.7, 1/750.
ME Michael Elenko Eye In The Triangle Photography 206-226-3315