Want a sneak peak at the next version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5? Adobe just announced the availability of a public beta. A beta is geek speak for when a product is ready for testing, but isn’t shipping yet. The Lightroom 5 beta offers a free, public preview of new features and tools that will be offered in the final release. No offical date has been given when it will ship.

Lightroom is the essential tool for busy professional and discerning amateur photographers, who are uncompromising in the pursuit for image quality or searching for artistic expression, said Winston Hendrickson, vice president of digital imaging products, Adobe. The Lightroom 5 beta is highly valuable in ensuring the new features support and address the needs of our customers and we look forward to hearing feedback.

Lightroom 5 beta offers new features including:

  • Advanced Healing Brush allows customers to heal imperfections and remove distracting elements
  • Upright tool analyzes an image to automatically level horizons and straighten objects like buildings to correct a keystone effect
  • Radial Gradient tool creates off-center or multiple vignette effects
  • Smart Previews allow customers to edit images without needing the original raw file
  • Video slideshow enables customers to combine still images, video clips and music in a creative HD slideshow
  • Upgrades to the Book module enhancing the ability to create, customize and order elegant photo books using a variety of tailored templates

The public beta is a tradition with Adobe for Lightroom. This is the fifth consecutive version Adobe has offered for public preview. Adobe wants customers to provide feedback and comments through its community forums. This input may be integrated into updates added before the final version of the software is released.

The download is free and available immediately. You do not need to own (or have tried) a previous version of Lightroom. You can download the beta and use it until the product expires on June 30, 2013.

Our friends over at NAPP have also launched the Lightroom 5 Launch Center.