Wednesday, August 04, 2010

What's Up Wednesday: Lightroom 3 Running Slow For You Too?

Good Morning Everybody,

Dancing In The Breeze-1442-DZ_Galinski W10 OK, so what was yesterday's biggest surprise around here? I received a call from one of my clients telling me she was contacted by Access Hollywood. I'm thinking, "What is all this about?" It turns out that her daughter wore the same Vera Wang gown Chelsea Clinton wore at her wedding [link] and tells me Access Hollywood just might be calling me for a photograph – WOW! The best part is my client wore it first! By the way, I posted a photograph of my client right here wearing the Vera Wang gown. Check it out - kind of a fun day yesterday ;~)

OK gang, I've got to keep this short and sweet today, because the bags are almost packed and we are heading to Chicago in just a few hours. I’m catching up with my buddy, Will Crocket the genius behind Friday Photo School, and Don, the behind the scenes "brains of the operation".

We hook up tonight for dinner and then it's rehearsal tomorrow. Since these programs are "LIVE", the timing is super important to pull it off with out a hitch.

But for now, let's get right on with today's post.

Lightroom 3 Running Slow For You Too?

OK, I'm on a quest - I want to know if anyone else is have the same issues I'm having with Lightroom 3. First of all, let me say - I'm a BIG fan of LR3. But, that still doesn't mean I'm not concerned about how LR3 seems to be performing for me lately.

The BIG Slowdown

Turtle About two weeks ago, I caught a tweet from fellow blogging buddy, Gavin Seim, about his issue with a slow running LR3. I never gave it much thought till,I was working on a job this past weekend. As I was editing in LR3, I started to notice a frustrating ongoing slowdown in my workflow.

I was working in the Develop module and as I moved to the next image, the "image loading" delay was taking 6 seconds. UGH! - what was that about? Wait, it was worse than that. If I made any adjustments in the color channel, it took about 3 seconds before it registered on the screen - talk about molasses speed workflow!

Man, needing a minimum of 10-12 additional seconds to process my typical 3000 image wedding job adds up to 30,000 more seconds, or Over EIGHT HOURS!!!! to my post production. There is something wrong in River City big time.

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Yes, Others Were Having The Same Experience

I never experienced the problem in LR2, so I did a quick Google search of "Lightroom 3 running slow" and all sorts of similar posts popped up [link]. It seems I wasn't the only one seeing the problem.

LR3 Slow I originally thought the problem was network related, so moved to my desktop computer where the images resided on the local drive. The results were the same - really frustrating.

We had just installed a brand new Windows 7, 64 bit machine into our system network. It's not a rocket box but at least reasonable paced machine. We use it mostly as our print server. Anyway, the production process speeded up considerably on that machine but still wasn't where it needed to be for a fluid, efficient post-production process.

Let's Go Under The LR3 Hood

What was up? I increased the LR3 cache, optimized the LR3 database, all to no avail. I did do a quick Ctl-Alt-Del and was surprised to see that the LR3 processes were running at about 750k memory usage! - Darn high. This catalogue was small at about 1,200 images so the problem wasn’t some giant sized catalogue.

Time To Call The Lightroom 3 Gurus

Matt Kloskowski It was pretty frustrating so I put in a call to Matt Kloskowski, NAPP's Lightroom guru and author of the super popular blog, Lightroom Killer Tips [link]. Matt was very gracious to call me back. He told me he was having no problems running a 34,000 image catalogue on his 2 year old Mac Book Pro. Don't you hate it when your having all the problems and the other guy isn't ;~)

He gave me a few more places to look for trouble. We create a new catalogue for each new job in my studio. Matt warned me that having my catalogues on a remote USB drive will result in a severe performance hit on Lightroom. Well, that is how we have our processes set up at my studio. All data and catalogue file reside in the client parent folder on an attached 2T drive.

I decided to move the LR3 job catalog to my local drive. That helped somewhat but I was still having the "slider drag" issue. I tried about three more options, including re-optimizing the catalogue file for the 3rd time, but all to know avail.

The job that was giving me trouble was the commercial shoot I discussed in my "Shooting Tethered" last week. I decided to file up my Mac Book Pro and see how Lightroom responded on that machine. It worked perfectly on the MAC machine. Drat, I am such a PC person, too!

More LR3 Catalogue Testing

OK, time to open a few more jobs and see what kind of performance issues I’m having, if any.

I fired up the LR3 catalogue from our Cincy Photowalk. It was a smaller catalogue containing about 400 images and all worked just fine - about 2 seconds to load images and instant response on the slider controls. This catalogue also resides on the remote drive I spoke about earlier.

I opened another 4,500 image catalogue, again residing on that same remote drive. All worked fine with that catalogue too - 2-3 second load times and no lag time when using the color sliders.

Could It Be Bug In The Job Catalogue?

Computer Problems I reopened the problematic job on my local computer and all the original issues persisted. Remember, I said that same job worked well on my Mac Book Pro, but I re-imported those images into LR3 on my regular production computer. Could there have been a hang up in the import process or some unknown data corruption in the post production process? It seems this is the only job catalogue I'm having the trouble with.

One Last Try

Only one way to find out – re-import the job and start over. That's exactly what I did. What happened? That seemed to help but the results are still inconclusive. I'm still not thrilled with the speed of the production process yet. It might just be time for computer upgrades around my studio - here we go again ;~)

Problems LR Black I'm curious if any of our DPT readers are experiencing the same sort of problems. I've added a POLL to the right column of the DPT blog asking three simple questions. Is Lightroom 3 running faster, slower, about the same, as LR2? Please cast you vote.

If the problem is widespread, hopefully we can rely on the resources of our readers and others for a solution. Please post any comments, tips, tricks, and possible solutions to the COMMENTS section following this post.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. The bags are almost packed and we are hitting the road shortly. I'll be hailing from the great state of Illinois tomorrow. Be sure to tune in for another money making, profit building episode of Business Day Thursday.

See ya' in the Windy City, David


  1. I have the same problems with LR3. For example when using the spot healing tool, registering the change can take a few seconds in some occasions. And this is even on a small catalog with only a few hundred images. It is frustrating. Jiri

  2. Hi David, I've been using LR for a while now, including the beta's and I've only recently experienced an extreme problem with my catalogue (running 30,000 images+) and it directly related to the number of images I had imported from a recent wedding and the fact that I rendered full sized previews.

    See, I like to render full size so I can instantly zoom right in and see the eyes, and this works great for a portrait, but a 3,000 image wedding really tied up my 6GB of RAM... so much so it went over into my OS drive eating up 20GB of space!!

    I ended up purging the full size preview cache and that greatly helped the problem. After culling my keepers & rejects I went back and rendered a much more reasonable 1,000 images - still a lot - but manageable.

    I'll also mention that I'm working on a local machine only. Also, and this is one of the best decisions I've made, I have my OS drive (Windows 7 64bit)as an 80GB SSD with the Lightroom 3 catalogue right there!

    What a difference! The program loads fast and everything is responsive. Large exports of images or web-galleries are blazing fast (probably also helped by a core i7 chip). If anyone is on the fence about a SSD drive I say do it! you can't compare it at equal storage costs to Hard disk space. My library is still kept on a Hard Disk, of course, but the library, which handles the renders and edits is all on the SSD and it's great.

    Hope some people find this handy, and don't forget to be careful with those 1:1 image previews. They can be HUGE!

  3. It seems to help if you don't turn on lens correction until the end of the workflow.

  4. Same issue here. It even affects the sliders in that they lag far behind my actual adjustments.

    I run catalogs with 100K or more images and didn't have this trouble in LR2.

  5. LR3 is very slow for me too, especially the spot removal tool and viewing/picking images right after I import. A lot of LR3 users are complaining on the Adobe Lightroom forums...but it seems inconsistent. Some still chime in and say they are having no problems with speed. But all in all, many people there have reported issues and most are running LR3 on very powerful machines. I hope the next version fixes this problem because it is pretty frustrating.

  6. Same problem with me.

  7. Same issues. I just upgraded my OS to Windows 7 64 bit upgraded to LR3 and only have about 500 images moved over. I do have my images and catalogs on an external drive so I thought that was the reason it was so slow. I copied the catalog to my OS drive and it seemed to speed up a little, but still slower than LR2.

    Every time I move to a new image in the filmstrip I've got to wait for "loading", and I've got them imported at 1:1. Sliders are slow, spot healing really bogs it down and I've had the screen flash to white, freeze and then finish the healing about 10-15 seconds later (it's also crashed my system once).

    I though it was just me. Glad to know I'm not the only one who is having these issues.

    Thanks for posting David.

    Adobe, help! While I do love LR3, this slowness issue is driving me nuts.

  8. I have been having this problem with LR3 as well. My machine: Windows 7 64bit, AMD 4 core, 8 gig RAM, SSD boot drive with LR catalog, and images stored locally on dedicated SATA drive.

    When working with catalogs with more than a couple hundred images, just switching between images in Library mode is incredibly slow. Did all the std things (increase LR cache, optimized catalog, reboot, close everything else, etc) to no avail.

    I now open up Task Manager and switch to the Performance tab and monitor the "Physical Memory Usage History" graph. As I go through the images in Library mode, the system will literally max out on the memory used after about 10 minutes. Once that happens, I close down LR3, watch memory go back down, then restart LR3 and repeat the process. I would be curious if anyone else sees this happen as well.

  9. I'm having the same issues. It takes 4-7 seconds to go to the next image and I have created 1:1 previews. LR3 catalog with 800 images takes 1.5GBs of RAM from my WIN7 64b 6GB PC. I just ordered more RAM to bring it to 10GB.

    I have the CPU/RAM widget from Windows 7 on. You can see that 97% of RAM is in use while LR3 is up. it goes under 40% while not in use. This might be affecting PC versions only?

  10. yup! happens to me to specifically with local adjustments, they get slower and slower until i have to end the whole process and restart. it's very frustrating, i'll have to try what the previous poster said about the full size thumbs.

    it seems somewhat better now in LR3 (i was using LR2 and it was almost unusable) though... i did totally re import the catalog so maybe like you say that may have fixed some sort of corruption issue. - i store on an external ... i wonder if a solid state drive would help? I'd love to hear from adobe on this.

  11. I've been running LR3 on my core i7 iMac with 12GB of ram and have noticed it is considerably slower than LR2. LR3 has been nothing but buggy and slow since it was released. I run LR on 3 different Macs with the same issues on each one.

    Sometimes I can't even get the previews to fully render without going into a 1:1 view.

  12. Yep. Me too. My catalog isn't that large ~6,000 images but it can get real slow, with loads of lag and sometimes it'll even freeze when I ask lR3 to do something simple - earlier today I wanted to clone a spot out and it blew up, grabbed close to a gig of RAM and then froze.

    Looking forward to a fix.

    Windows XP / 3Gb RAM / loads of hard disk space locally

  13. I'm running LR3 on a Quad Core i7 iMac, and I'm experiencing similar lag problems. I'm seriously considering switching to Aperture because LR3 is running so much slower than LR2 would run on my 3 year old black MacBook.

  14. Same problem here. Ran LR2 without a problem. LR3 incredibly slow and gets slower throughout the production process on the same PC running Windows 7 64 bit. CPU usage is about 98-100% and Ram 85-95% when LR3 running. Export process is horribly slow, much slower than LR2. Catalogs is on my local HD and images on external USB HD. Large wedding now taking me at least 8 hours longer to go through. When it's time to export, might as well start it and go for a loooooooong walk. Even with LR3 minimized, other programs (Outlook, IE) will run slow, if at all. Frustrating.

  15. I'm running LR3 and find that it is a lot slower and laggier than LR2. However I find that I get a significant improvement if I plug a usb stick in and let windows use the "Windows ReadyBoost" feature to improve performance. As this performance tweak uses the USB drive to cache disk access it suggests that LR3 may be doing more disk based stuff than LR2.

  16. You may want to check your memory usage. In Windows 7 I have the "tachometer" widget running. Everytime I see things getting slow it's because of high memory usage. With a Core i7 and 6 GB of memory, anything under 20% memory usage and things fly. Anything over 60% and things progressively bog down the higher it goes. Keeping your machine reasonably clean (few junk files active) keeps the speed up.

  17. I was having experiencing slow response and occasional errors when exporting. I increased my cache size and both problems were solved.

  18. Very much slower than LR2 for me as well. I see consider lag time when exporting files, too.
    This is certainly not what I up(down?)graded for!!

  19. Hi David, I don't experience any lag while in develop mode. in fact it's faster a bit than LR 2. However, there's a big slowdown while exporting the files. 200++ raw files took me 1 hour to complete. I have to use LR2 back although I love the new improvement in LR3. FYI, I'm using a 32 bit PC.

  20. I'll report back when I get my extra RAM, I wanted to note that my PC is i7 running OS and LR3 catalog on 160GB SSD (actual photos on RAID I on same PC) If the RAM doesn't alleviate the problems it would then definitely be an LR3 issue. On a side note I shoot a 5D MKII at RAW so those previews are monster size.


  21. adobe employee Dan Tull ??

    Lightroom forums posted today:

    You have impeccable timing. A bug fix related to certain kinds of keyword text matching smart collections causing severe CPU usage and delays in processing of data requests (basically, anything in the UI that needs to wait for data from the catalog) just got confirmed fixed internally.


    P.S. Yes, we're going to get a build with the various fixes to which I've alluded to folks at some point in the (not so distant, but nonetheless indeterminate) future. Honest. It kills me that I'm not supposed to say more than that.

  22. LR3 started giving me problems when I switched cameras. I was running a D50 and shooting RAW files. Always seems to respond really quickly to any changes to those files. Now I've switched over to a D700 body and am using 14 bit lossless compressed raw files and the seem to slow down randomly. There are about 14 000 files in the cataloge.

  23. David, LR3 was slow but then I upgraded my computer and now it's real-time fast. iCore5 processor, 8 gigs RAM (though less may work well too but hey RAM's cheap enough)- LR3's "2010" calibration uses up a lot of RAM.- and a huge drive (mine's 1TB though less may be fine) as long as the drive is mostly empty. For some reason, LR lags if there isn't much space on the drive.

  24. I, too, am having problems with LR3. After I converted my catalog from LR2, I got a lot of my images with the symbol on there that says "there was an error while writing metadata to this file" or "sidecar file conflict". It also takes a long time to load files and I get the write screen. Sometimes there will be no files visible in the filmstrip. I thought it might be because I keep my files on external hd's. But I tried to access a directory on my C drive and still the same. Very frustrating.

  25. USB 3.0 is enough of an upgrade especially with your workflow as you described. Second, the i7 with a 64 bit OS (Win 7) will allow you to maximize your RAM memory. Ideally you should at least match the speed of the RAM memory chip with the PC bus speed.

    I prefer to keep a smaller drive for my programs and keep images on a separate high speed hard drive. That is, I do not put images and programs on the same HDD. Something in the 6Gb/s at 10k RPM works very well for the images.

  26. I know this does not help your issue with lightroom, but exactly what does lightroom do that the bridge/ACR combo cannot? Plus the integration with photoshop is even more seamless and the batch operations are quick and integrate with actions for a speedy workflow.

    I am using the bridge/ACR CS5 version and once the cache is built (no worry about building a catalog) and works on my network perfectly and its screaming fast. Way faster than CS4 actually. Top that off with the fact that you can relocate the cache on a network drive and have multiple users working on the same job at the same time.

    Not to knock lightroom, but I am so thrilled with CS5 and how quick my workflow is its just silly. And for the bulk of a wedding I seldom even need to touch photoshop and can do the whole shot in ACR.

    Just something to consider.

  27. Once they figure out what the problem is here, maybe they can do some work on PS Elements, and particularly Premiere Elements. The version 8 is absolutely atrocious, so much so I'm looking around for alternatives. What's up at Adobe?

  28. I cant comment on LR3 as Im still using 2.7. I would like to upgrade to 3 but Ive had so much trouble with 2.7 freezing and locking my computer up I refuse to pay for the upgrade ...... especially since there's no end to the complaints for 3.0 online. Ive tried everything Adobe has suggested to rectify the problem and am on a 7 month old clean machine with more of everything than required. What's up Adobe???

  29. David,

    After a recent short workshop with Jared Platt on LR3 he had some suggestions that might help. When you import, be sure you allow your computer to create 1:1 previews so image loading will be as quick as possible. With a big catalog this may take a while, so set up to import at the end of the day and let your computer run overnight setting up the previews.

    I also know, with Macs, if you keep a lot of folders on your desktop, particularly folders filled with images, you take a big performance hit. Every operation you perform stops to look at all those folders. If you must keep folders handy on your desktop, store them on your harddrive and use aliases (or shortcuts) to access them. Get them off the desktop and keep it clean.

    I'm using LR3 on a three year old Mac Pro and have not seen any performance slowdown.

    Good luck!

  30. Just been reading some of the Adobe Forum posts about this issue and it seems (seeeeeems) that many of these bugs have been squished by the new Lr3.2 release. I have yet to do a big stress test on it myself but if others have could they report in here please?

  31. David have you still got problems with this LR3 thing? Iam on the bench too with LR3. Its gotten to the point that its unusable. Of late I only have FILE/EDIT/WINDOW/HELP menus in the library module and today it took me 8 mins to delete 5 rejects. Iam using a 1TB external drive for my catalog on a WIN7 high performance laptop. What is the problem here. Its getting worse by the day. HELP!

  32. Any updates on this? I have this problem but it doesn't seem consistent, or maybe i'm starting to accept it as normal.

    Has it been fixed or is a fix coming?

  33. Yes, still very buggy when round tripping with Photoshop CS5. Complains about not being able to launch PS and sometimes opens DNG files rather than create TIFF copies. Very very frustrating. Why can't Adobe fix these bugs before release.

  34. Any news or an update to this? I have a brand SPANKING NEW iMac and LR3 is so slow it's unusable... editing 35 Canon 30D files (tiny by today's standards) took upwards of FIVE HOURS because it kept crashing and locking up and ... I'm about ready to scream.

  35. Hi Jennifer,
    I think I would head to the Apple store for advice. I've not head of many folks having the same problem recently.
    Sorry, couldn't be more help.

  36. I am having the same problem however it gets so slow my computer locks up and only unplugging the computers power cord fixes the problem until I try to use it again and then same situation.

  37. I 'upgraded' to LR3 3 months ago, Windows XP with 4GB RAM. Had the cited memory problems with LR2 and thought LR3 would have fixed them. Lots of lag problems with LR3; worse than with LR2. Sidecar files management is current problem, even after optimizing, LR3 fails to fix sidebar conflicts (won't write to or read from). I've turned off camera calibration feature to try to resolve.

    Many of my images are scans from negatives; 15-30 mpixel equivalent, so I expect some need for LR3 to work hard. Still.. hoped for better than LR2.6.

  38. Hey Gang, I am having the same issue! ugghhhh! When using any of the brush tools in LR 3 with overlay turned 'on', there is clearly a lag between the mouse stroke and the actual red mask that appears on the screen. I have searched for about two days for the solution and nothing has worked. i am using the imac 27", but this problem is not present when using lightroom on my macbook pro...