6/19/15 After writing this the Adobe Lightroom team reached out to me. I have been working with them on performance issues. I am happy to say that as of Lightroom CC/6 they have already made the software faster and continue to do so through debugging and monitoring of what happens slow performing catalogs.
Adobe Lightroom is my favorite workflow tool for my photography. Not only that though. It is the software I use for 99% of my photo processing. You have made it so extremely useful and efficient to stay organized and work my way through editing photographs.
No matter what other software I try, I always return to you. But since version 5, and especially with version 5.6 our relationship has turned to the rocky side. If there was a perfect competitor out there I’d break up with you in a heartbeat, but there isn’t one. So we’re stuck together.
Our relationship isn’t monogamous and the many other photographers you’re married to also have similar complaints to those of mine.
My frustration really began with version 5.0, as noted earlier. As soon as I upgraded I started noticing various speed issues. After first opening Lightroom 5 everything runs smooth, but then it begins to slow down, further and further. The upfront speed boost has degraded in Lightroom 5.6 and now it lags even with small JPG files created by a simple point and shoot camera. That, my dear Adobe team, should never happen. I can understand a slight lag with RAW images, but JPGS? Come on now.
I recently decided to vent my frustration on Facebook (yea I know), so I posted the following:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is the best editing and workflow software I’ve ever used for photographs. It is also a pain in the ass. Damn you Adobe for not making it faster. 2.6GHz i7, 16GB of RAM, All files and caching on internal SSDs and you still lag? Really???
I apologize for the foul language, but I am at the end of my patience with Lightroom.
That’s right, here are the specs of my brand new MacBook Pro:
- Processor: 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
- Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- Graphics: 15-inch (2880 x 1800) NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB
- Software: OS X 10.9.4 (13E28)
- Storage: 1TB Flash Storage (ie., SSD)
I keep my catalog files, caching, smart previews and 1:1 previews all on the internal SSD drive of my MacBook Pro. The photographs I am working on (at any given moment) are on the internal SSD drive. Photographs that are no longer being edited (archived) are stored on an external Thunderbolt 2 RAID drive.
There is no reason for a RAW file to take over 10 seconds to load. Or for a JPG image to take more than 2 seconds to load. This happens with all plugin modules disabled as well, so it’s not that. It’s also not Lightroom Mobile Sync. I have also been through support and completely rebuilt my catalog two times due to a random error I was receiving after upgrading to Lightroom 5.6.
I mentioned already that others you’re married to also have similar issues. I thought I would share some of the replies I received to my rant on Facebook. Here goes:
It still lags on my new Mac Pro too. 8core 32gb ram and 1tb SSD
Just EATS RAM. I have 20gb and after an hour of editing I’m running less than a gb available. It’s all inactive!
Same here Scott. 2.7ghz, 16GB Ram here. As soon as I open LR it immediately grabs over a gig of ram according to activity monitor. And it is quickly up from there until my system grinds to a halt. Completely insane. I understand why PS is so slow and such a ram hog. It includes a lot of legacy code. But LR? There is no reason for it to run so badly.
I never had any issues until I started importing everything into LR now I run into all sorts of problems. I think what I will start doing soon is import into Bridge and do final edits in LR.
There are days that I wish I could meet Lightroom at the bicycle racks after school just so I could punch it in its laggy memory eating stomach. Today is one such day.
I also experience the issue in the develop panel as mentioned in the Adobe forums, but for the most part my frustration comes with simply browsing through newly imported photographs with 1:1 previews already created. That means no edits, no lens correction, spot removals or anything whatsoever. In fact, look at what onOne Software is doing with their new Fast Browse feature. That’s the simple act of culling through photographs with no edits. Amazing.
Before wrapping up this letter I want to share something heart breaking. I teach Adobe Lightroom to photographers privately and in a classroom setting. When Lightroom lags, as it does daily, while I am teaching in either setting it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look good for me or for you.
So Adobe, my friend, my photo workflow love, I beg of you. I’m on my knees asking with open arms and a huge grin… Please find a way to speed up Lightroom in the next version. For one, add scratch disk and performance control like what Photoshop has. I am not a developer so I can’t really offer any other suggestions than that. But I hope that you will take my letter seriously and look into it. Because this is a serious issue that you and I have, and you have with other photographers.
Your loyal friend,