By now it's a familiar pattern: Camera makers release new models that can shoot photos in the high-quality but labor-intensive raw image format, and Adobe Systems periodically catches up with a release to support those proprietary formats.
So it's no surprise to owners of Olympus' E-P3, E-PL3, Panasonic's G3 and GF3, and Sony's Alpha NEX-C3 and SLT-A35 that the release candidate for Lightroom 3.5 adds support for their cameras. The closely related Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in 6.5 release candidate, also issued, follows suit; usually it's a few weeks before the test versions are replaced by final versions.
But the vastly larger number of existing Lightroom customers who have older cameras should pay attention to this release, too, because it attempts to fix a lot of bugs. Tom Hogarty, Lightroom's product manager, details them on his blog about Lightroom 3.5 and Camera Raw 6.5 today, but here are some that I found notable:
Using the arrow keys to modify image adjustment settings lacked responsiveness
Lightroom 3.2 introduced preview cache inefficiencies.
Develop load time performance was inconsistent.
GPS Altitude metadata was incorrectly excluded from files converted to DNG or exported as DNG files from Lightroom 3.4.1.
Another reason existing users might be interested: the new software can automatically correct some optical defects with lenses from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad, Sigma, and Tamron.
Another close relative to the software is the DNG converter, which changes raw files into the Digital Negative format that Adobe is trying to standardize. DNG Converter 6.5, which uses the same raw conversion engine, no longer works on PowerPC-based Macs.
Hogarty's blog lists all the lenses, but here's the list of supported cameras for the Lightroom and Camera Raw release candidates, according to Adobe:
Fuji FinePix F600EXR
Phase One IQ140
Phase One IQ160
Phase One P40+
Phase One P65+
Sony Alpha NEX-C3
Hasselblad "FFF" files created by the Hasselblad Phocus software for currently supported models are also now supported. (FFF files created using the FlexColor software are not supported)