Adobe has just released a new version of Camera RAW and acknowledged that the next version (or update) of Photoshop Lightroom will contain the new features found in Camera RAW 4.1.
The main current features that have been improved are Sharpening and Noise Reduction. The brand new Basic color enhancement tool is called Clarity.
Sharpening - is really the main new tool in Camera RAW 4.1, those of you who are familiar with Photoshop and the Unsharp Mask filter will recognize the interface, with a slight twist to new and more powerful tools. The sliders available for controlling the sharpening are Amount, Radius, Detail and Masking.
Amount - self explanatory, allows you to control the degree of sharpening applied from a value of 0 to 150.
Radius - lets you determine the number of pixels on either side of the sharpening edge.
Detail - is the new word for threshold, a new word had to be used because this slider allows you to use the sharpening tool as a straight sharpen filter or as an unsharp mask filter, going from one extreme to another.
Masking - allows you to do on the fly masking of the non-edge areas with a high degree of masking variation from a value of 0 to 150.
Noise Reduction - I am personally not a big fan of noise reduction but do make (very conservative) use of it.. The main reason being that I would rather have a slightly noisy sharp picture, than a clear mushy one.
Clarity - I have not played with Clarity enough yet to say how much I will like it but I will for sure make use of it. The Clarity slider can be found together with Saturation and Vibrance sliders. It will take some testing to see how it fits in with the other settings. As near as I can figure it Clarity is a low contrast area enhancement filter, which in the right images could be very useful.
These are some fantastic new tools for Photoshop CS3 users and hopefully soon for Lightroom users too.