Some Lightroom 4 Notes


April 16, 2012

2012 Process is Slow!

I have been testing Lightroom 4.1 a bit.  I like the new develop controls that can be used with the 2012 process version.  However, I was recently working in LR4 after a job.  After editing and adjusting my images, I began to process about 500 files. It was taking forever and I was on a tight deadline.  I would normally expect that many to process in an 20 minutes or so.  After about 20 minutes, it had only processed about  30%.  In a mad rush, I reverted the images to 2010 process and saved metadata to files (xmp).  Then I created a Lightroom 3 catalog and processed everything in LR3.  I did not realize that in the process of reverting to 2010, any image adjustments were lost.  It didn’t really matter as it was a casting and the exposures were all pretty close.  Sure enough, LR3 cranked out the files in about 1/2 hour.

I have since done some informal testing on 2 machines.  The test was to process 255 Canon 5D mark II raw files to 8×10 300dpi level 7 jpegs, sRGB color space.  Times are taken from file save times, not a stopwatch, so they are only accurate to the nearest minute and do not account for time to start the process, or the time to process the first file.  So they are not really 100% accurate but provide a relative assessment of what I’ve come to expect when processing 2010 vs 2012 process files. My Desk top is a MacPro 2009 Intel Xeon 2.26GHZ 8 core with 32GB RAM.  My Laptop is a 2011 MacPro 2.3GHZ i7 quad core with 8GB RAM. Both are running OS 10.6.8. Here are the results:

LR3 on Desk Top, Process 2010- 12 minutes

LR4.1 on Desk Top, Process 2010- 12 minutes

LR4.1 on Desk Top, Process 2012- 19 minutes

LR4.1 on Lap Top, Process 2010- 11 minutes

LR4.1 on Lap Top, Process 2012- 17 minutes

It was interesting to see that my laptop is slightly faster than my desktop and that both the older and the newer machines slowed down about the same amount when processing the new Lightroom files.  It was also interesting to see that LR4 is no faster at processing PV2010 than LR3.  I take this as an indication that LR4 does not do any better at taking advantage of multiple cores, or multithreading processes.

One unfortunate result of the slow handling of PV2012 is that it makes tethering with the Canon 5d MarkIII directly into LR4.1 much slower than the 5d MarkII.

A Bug with the Canon 5DIII
Today I imported RAW images I shot on the Canon 5d3 with the camera set to Add Cropping Information set to 4:5 ratio.  Crop lines are displayed on the camera LCD but you see the full frame outside of the crop when review files.  Alarmingly, when I imported them to LR 4.1 RC, the images appeared cropped to 4:5.  I though ok, I’ll just go to the crop tool and I will see that a crop has been applied and I’ll remove it.  Unfortunately, there was no file beyond the crop lines, it could not be removed as far as I could tell.  I called Canon and they told me to try Digital Photo Professional, a program that I never pay attention to.  Sure enough, the images were intact when viewed there.  There appears to be a bug when LR 4.1 RC encounters the crop tag on the raw file.  I have posted this on the Adobe Forums.
A Random Intermittent Bug
Intermittently I have images selected in the Library module and when I go to Develop module, I get the message “No Photo Selected” along with a blank screen. There are no longer any photos in the filmstrip. If I go back to grid my images are still selected and re-appear in the filmstrip. There is no way out of this except to quit and restart LR, many times until by chance it stops happening.
I am running OS X 10.6.8 on a Mac Pro
UPDATE 4/20/2012:
Slow Web Galleries*
*Adobe acknowledged the following web gallery issue on their Photoshop forum and announced today (4/26/12) that the problem has been solved with LR4.1 RC2, now available for download.  See Update 4/26/12 for a new speed test.
I just made a moderately sized web gallery in LR 4.1 with Canon 5DIII files.  It was incredibly slow.  I was not expecting it so I didn’t time it from start to finish. There were a total of 86 images in the gallery. The time difference from the first of the gallery’s large jpegs to the last is exactly 30 minutes!  Truth be told, in the story I was reporting above, “2012 Process is Slow!” I was actually making web gallery.
So I decided to run some comparison tests.
First I exported the same images as jpegs.  These jpegs were slightly larger than the web gallery jpegs.  They processed in 7 minutes.
I made a web gallery again from the same images.  The results were essentially the same (29 minutes).  There is something strangely slow in this new lightroom when it comes to making web galleries.
In LR3, web galleries were much faster.  I cannot compare directly as the 5d3 cannot be read by LR3.  So I opened a Canon 5d2 job in LR4 and made a gallery from 86 images. Process 2010 took and process 2012 took 34 minutes (longer than 5d3 files!).  The same web gallery in LR3, process 2010, took 8 minutes!!!
So here’s a web gallery recap:
LR3.6        Canon 5d2   Process 2010   Export small jpegs 86 files- 7 minutes
LR3.6        Canon 5d2   Process 2010   Web Gallery from 86 files- 8 minutes
LR4.1RC   Canon 5d2   Process 2010   Web Gallery from 86 files- 28 minutes
LR4.1RC   Canon 5d2   Process 2012   Web Gallery from 86 files- 34 minutes
LR4.1RC   Canon 5d3   Process 2012   Web Gallery from 86 files- 29 minutes
LR4.1RC   Canon 5d3   Process 2012   Export small jpegs 86 files- 7 minutes
So regardless of my cameras, regardless of process version, LR 4.1RC is almost 4 times slower to export web galleries than LR3.6!!!  Exporting the same jpegs in LR4.1RC and LR 3.6 takes only 7 minutes, so it’s not the Camera Raw engine, it’s something specific to web galleries.  And also of interest, LR4.1RC took 5 minutes longer to export the gallery from 5d2 files than 5d3 files!  Is there something in the 5d3 files that is more optimized for new software?
Update 4/26/12
Adobe claims to have fixed the slow web gallery issue with a new release candidate, LR 4.1 RC2.  So I downloaded it and repeated the above test.  Sure enough, it is faster:
LR 4.1 RC2  Canon 5d3  Process 2012  Web Gallery from 86 files- 10 minutes.