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Adobe Wants To Fix Lightroom & Wants Your Input | But Do We Need A Fix Or A New Build?

By Kishore Sawh on July 12th 2017

Lightroom is, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the ubiquitous post post processing software of today. While Photoshop may be the household name, within the normal photographic circles it is Lightroom that’ll adorn desktops. But Lightroom hasn’t kept up with the times and has been terribly slow for years. People are, to put it nicely, fed up, and have been for ages, and all the while Adobe hasn’t budged to make a real difference. That seems like it could be changing, and you can play a role in it.

If you are still a heavy LR user and haven’t migrated to other faster systems like Capture One, you may be keen to hear that Adobe seems to not be just quietly addressing the problem but communicating that they hear the complains (years later) and would like public input about it.

Now, Adobe has made efforts in the past to make life with LR better, and that includes adding GPU acceleration. For some people this was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t a big enough step, and frankly, it wasn’t entirely in the right direction. It was a bandaid when what was really needed was an operation. Lightroom in its current state is a recourse hog and greatly affected by your build, screen resolution, and even how long you’ve had the application open.

Check out Pye’s open letter to Adobe about Lightroom here


As an insult to injury on that front GPU front, some systems running AMD Graphics cards wouldn’t work properly and LR would constantly crash if GPU acceleration was turned on, so it was advised to turn it off if you had one of those cards, and that meant lowering LR’s performance. That, thankfully, has been changed as of this week when AMD, working with Adobe, released an update for their driver that states it fixes the problem. (Find update here)

Furthermore, Tom Hogarty of Adobe Lightroom posted on the LR blog essentially addressing this discontent and performance issues and that the company wants your feedback on performance. Well, I hope they’ve got a lot of time, and a lot of notepads because that was basically calling on the entire photographic population.

“I would like to address concerns recently voiced by our community of customers around Lightroom performance, as improving performance is our current top priority. We have a history, starting with our first public beta, of working with our customers to address workflow and feature needs, and we’d like to take that same approach regarding your performance concerns. We already understand many of the current pain points around GPU, import performance, certain editing tasks and review workflows and are investing heavily in improving those areas. Over the past year we’ve added numerous enhancements to address your performance concerns but we understand we will have a lot of work to do to meet your expectations. If you have feedback or would like to work with the Lightroom team on your most pressing issues, please fill out this survey.”

The problem with this post by Hogarty, is that is tries to push the idea that Adobe has worked really hard to listen to customers and improve LR (which is hard to believe), and then seems to infer that they’ll just do tweaking to improve. The problem with this is that many of us feel what LR actually needs it a whole new build from the ground up with better coding.


The good news is that they’ve made the call to arms and if you would like to see LR improve this is your chance to be heard and help the cause. You can fill out this survey and let them know what you think, and, if there are enough of us, perhaps we can sway the company to become what they should have been years ago – and we know they have the money and resources to do it. It’s not like the Adobe Photography Creative Cloud plan hasn’t been lining their pockets…

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Zach Locks

    I completely agree.  LR performance could be optimized to be way better with new coding.  We all have computers with multiple cores (sometimes more than 4), yet LR doesn’t take full advantage of them.  

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  2. James Baird

    You’ve lost your pride!   Too damn many committee s.

    Adobe is the best, set down and write it.

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  3. Paul Seiler

    Survey: completed.

    My performance mentions:

    1. Culling doesn’t compare to PhotoMechanic

    2. Brushes/Graduated/Radial Filters loading slowly or not at all across multiple computers.

    3. RAW processing not as good as CaptureOne

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  4. Michael Coen

    Add tether support for Sony. 

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  5. Cody Edger

    LR does everything I need and the interface is pretty straight forward, but when working with Fuji files it’s stupid slow compared to working with Canon/Nikon files.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      This, right here, is a big part of the problem. Lightroom has a lot of good about it, but it’s been poorly executed or maintained. They haven’t kept pace with the tide of progress. Canon files look good in LR, but you drop any files into COP and they’ll sing. 

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  6. Josh Leavitt

    I would prefer a new build. Overhauled features like fast tethered image rendering, complete control of curves adjustment, and incorporating Capture One quality color grading are desperately needed.

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  7. Dave Lyons

    Sell it to the folks at Affinity! ;) I’ve used adobe products for over 15 years and the ideas are good but the build quality has constantly been horrific. My crash logs during that time has always been about 98% abobe products. Like m$ of yesteryear, they are trying to be everything to everyone and so everything comes out half-assed. Time to get trim the fat and get back to the core products.

    I’ve stuck with LR just for the tagging and cataloging but capture one just smokes it and just found out I can cancel cc and LR will still catalog and tag just fine.

    My livelihood was built around Coldfusion (ended up an adobe product) and they screwed that up too, luckily an open source version came in and started fixing all the issues and that was basically just one guy. 

    Luckily, it seems like more competition is quickly entering the arena.

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  8. Motti Bembaron

    New build!

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  9. Rick Osentoski

    Switched to Capture One can’t imagine Adobe could match the performance and feature set to make me switch back even though I have it as part of Photoshop CC

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Many in the same situation Rick. I love COP. Thing is, LR has a lot of good, and the potential has been there but they just never poured the money and time for R&D into it. 

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  10. Jonathan Brady

    I’d like to cast my vote for new build

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