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Hands On With Lightroom 7.2 | Adobe Promises Big Speed Improvements – Seems True

By Kishore Sawh on January 30th 2018

2017 was, in case you missed it, a break out year for many ‘other’ post processing softwares like Affinity and ON1, and a bumper crop year for the likes of Capture One. Why? While the field is diversifying and Capture One was gaining momentum anyway, the obvious answer is it’s the result of the continually abysmal performance of Adobe’s Lightroom.

Adobe has been plagued with complaints from normal users and the press about Lightroom’s poor build and performance for years, and eventually Adobe even admitted it. However, admission is no substitute for action, and little tweaks here and there were made to adjust the performance. Now though, there’s a new Lightroom version in the works, version 7.2, and with it Adobe has promised major improvements, and I’ve had a bit of time to for preliminary testing.

Here’s what’s been promised:

In this upcoming Lightroom Classic 7.2 release, we made significant strides with Intel on addressing key performance issues. We have optimized CPU and memory usage so that performance will scale better across multiple cores on computers with at least 12 GB of RAM. Customers should experience improved speed, compared to Lightroom Classic CC 7.1 in the following areas:

  • Faster import and preview generation
  • Faster walking of images in the Loupe View
  • Faster rendering of adjustments in Develop
  • Faster batch merge operations of HDR/Panos
  • Faster export
  • Lightroom will not slow down over the course of a long editing session, particularly on Windows machines.

click to enlarge

While we’re really pleased with these performance improvements, we’re far from done. We have more performance optimizations and improvements planned and customers will see those in future releases.

That last point is an important one, because this was always the thorn in the side of a heavy Lightroom user, the predictable reduction of output due to a predictable slowing down over the period of a long session. Wedding photographers will be nodding in unison here…

Also interesting to note that Adobe makes a point of stating the Windows machines outperform the Macs running the same software, which really should come as no surprise. However, it warrants considering however that given the massive security problem discovered with Intel products this year, that the patches required will decrease performance of ANY computer running Intel chips.

Preliminary Lightroom 7.2 Testing

For a series of very basic tests I’ve used a 2015 MacBook Pro 13inch with:

  • 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5
  • 16 GB 1867 MHz DDR3
  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1536 MB

Whilst not the most powerful, this is still a machine I run Capture One and Affinity on while traveling without a hiccup, and still adequate for measuring disparity.

For each version a new catalogue was made and cache cleared, with no other programs running. Using 105 Sony A7R3 and Nikon D850 raw files, times for: import and standard preview generation, exporting for JPEG at 100%, and then at 85% were done.

Overall there was near-as-makes-no-difference a 21% speed increase importing and building standard previews for 105 raw files; 22% speed increase exporting 25 files for JPEG at 100%, and a surprising 35% increase in exporting for JPEG at 85%.

To avoid confusion, the numbers in grey are how many more seconds it took 7.1 to complete the same operation as 7.2 in blue.

That said, the test was run numerous times and not without some significant variation. Once, and with the same controls, export of the 100% files actually took 7% longer with 7.2. We understand this isn’t likely the finished version that will be sent out, but curious nonetheless.

Those functions aside, there seemed to be better fluidity image-to-image with and without 1:1 smart previews generated. Adjustments also seem to be a little more instant as does preset previewing, and after a few hours (2) there didn’t seem to be any obviously noticeable reduction in performance.

However, and it’s a big one, this is using a new catalogue with only 105 files. Any true Lightroom heavy-user will know that with continual use and a growing catalogue Lightroom performance has always dipped, and sometimes to the point of a stutter. Without testing this with large catalogues and over a good amount of time it’s difficult to solidly conclude that Adobe has, in fact, vanquished the performance issues it states. It’s looking good so far though…

We’ll be testing this out more on numerous computers and report more.

[RELATED: Lightroom’s Dark Knight |The Alt/Opt Key Transforms Lightroom In Ways You Likely Don’t Know [Part 1]]

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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. Creastan Jack

    Hey , Great work not surprisingly. I refreshed today yet at the same time no focal point profile for the new Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Art focal point despite the fact that it is not really new at this stage having been discharged last September I think. Do you know anything about this as Adobe’s “Technical support”/chatbots just say it will arrive in a future refresh. I would think such a leader focal point from a maker like Sigma would be sufficiently prominent to warrant a profile before now. There is a posting for a 24-70mm 2.8 DG OS HSM with the letters A017 annexed yet it is just a Canon profile. I don’t know, is this a similar focal point?

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  2. John K

    Has anyone tested 7.1 or 7.2 vs 6.14?

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  3. Iain Anderson

    “Also interesting to note that Adobe makes a point of stating the Windows machines outperform the Macs running the same software, which really should come as no surprise. “

    That’s not what the data says? None of those machines are equally specced, but the speeds fall in line with how many CPU cores there are available, at least for JPEG exports. It’s also worth noting that if you’re on a Mac, you can use the built-in Automator app to make a service to create lower-res JPEGs about 8x faster than Lightroom can. Details here, search for “Automator”:

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  4. Alex Petrenko

    With every LR  update I use C1 more. I’ve already created “transitional” workspace which mimics LR.

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  5. Alex. Gubariu

    Nice that under the “Preliminary Lightroom 7.2 Testing” paragraph title , there is a image with Capture One. Lightroom is way behind Capture One, even if they added the new (auto)mask function based on color and luminosity.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      We’ve been teaching Lightroom for years, but in that time being a Lightroom ‘power user’ of sorts, I’ve been using C1 as a go-to. I agree with you, and that image is just to show the laptop being used – a filler, really. 

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  6. Jonathan Brady

    Safe to assume that with the following specs that I should see an improvement? (I know diddly squat about computers)

    CPU: Intel(R) Core™ Processor i7-6700K 4.00GHZ 8MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1151 (Skylake) – according to their website, this is a 4 core, 8 thread processor.

    MEMORY: 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4/3000MHz Dual Channel Memory  

    VIDEO: GeForce(R) GTX 1060 3GB GDDR5

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    • Kishore Sawh

      You should. But it’s less about listing specs and thinking LR will do well with them, and rather, with the same specs would the new version do any better. For now it seems so, but we need to really run it with time

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  7. Jonathon Newton

    Was really impressed with the LR update in 7.0 with the adjustments to speed and loading and so I can only hope the new update furthers the speed and it still trickles down to the mid-tier gpu’s/cpu’s. 

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    • michael williamson

      have any test lightroom 7.2 how is the teathering

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    • Kishore Sawh

      michael williamson – I have not tested the tethering, but I mean… I detest tethering in LR anyway, and if you’ve been using C1 for a few years – or even a few minutes – there’s no going back for tethering. I may do it for kicks but I don’t think there’s been an upgrade in that department, at least not for functionality. 

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    • Kishore Sawh

      michael williamson update for you Michael – I spoke to someone within Adobe’s LR arm and confirmed no changes to tethering has been made at this point. 

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