Lightroom 5 available now

There were a few worried faces and strained questions when Adobe announced its intention to switch Photoshop from being a standalone package to a cloud-only subscription service earlier this year - what did this mean for Lightroom? Adobe was quick to confirm that Lightroom would remain a standalone option as well as being available in the full Creative Cloud subscription, at which point I think there was a collective sigh of relief, and this moring Adobe has released the newly upgraded Lightroom 5 package.

What then do you get for your £57.64 ($79) worth of upgrade or £102.57 ($149) of brand new photo editing magic product? (Or the automatic update that comes with your monthly Creative Cloud subscription.)

Instead of having to piddle about with the spot healing brush, trying to get a round brush to cover a square imperfection, there's now the Advanced Healing Brush. This allows for irregularly shaped splotches and blotches to be fixed with a bit more panache than a round thing. I mean, really, since when have imperfections been perfectly round?

Being the stickler that I am for straight horizons, I'm looking forward to trying out the Upright tool. Using the angle tool wasn't especially tricky, but having a tool that analyses and corrects at the click of a button might be useful.

If you've bemoaned the inability to apply off-centred or multiple vignettes, the new Radial Gradients tool should bring an end to your woes.

The Book module has been updated to include standard or customer-specific templates and the video slidehow function lets you combine images, video clips, and music in one feature.

If, like me, you store your Raw images on multiple extrenal hard drives rather than on your computer's hard drive, not being able to re-edit an image because you and your files are separated by a plane ride, a train ride, or just a walk upstairs is a bit frustrating. Smart Previews is there to ease the pain of the 'Image Offline' notice - you can make your edits offline and next time you connect, the changes will be applied to the original images.

The brand new standalone package and the upgrade are available now. Head over to Adobe for the details.