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Gear & Apps

Speed Up Lightroom | Important LR Performance News Flew Under Radar Amidst The Lightroom & Apple TV Fuss

By Kishore Sawh on July 27th 2016

Like so many sneaky pieces of legislation, something important has gone in under radar in the recent Lightroom update. While everyone and their mother has been watching the puppet show that Adobe has put on that now sees Lightroom coming to Apple TV, they’ve failed to see the strings; Something much more relevant to actual photographers who use Lightroom has occurred in the latest Lightroom update.

Lightroom CC 2015.6.1 and Lightroom 6.6.1 are both available right now, and Adobe has stated the primary objective of this update is to provide additional raw support and address critical bugs from previous LR versions, and here’s the list:

Customer reported issues resolved

  • App-managed color management on Mac in Lightroom CC 2015.6 / 6.6 resulted in incorrect colors when printed
  • Uncompressed DNGs files converted from Fuji X-E2 RAF source images were unreadable
  • Errors that prevented customers from creating a panorama from two HDR DNG source images
  • An issue that resulted in high memory usage while in the Develop module
    Issue that prevented the Smugmug Publish Service from working properly
  • Prevent unnecessary resync of collections to Lightroom mobile after an update
  • Occasional app freeze on import
  • Fixes for native Full Screen mode on OS X
  • Drop down menu position issue with high resolution screen
  • Import destination folder is not disclosed/shown after every import
  • Import grid blank with iOS devices

While most of us typically scan these lists with little attention to detail, there are details we’d do well to notice, and two particularly key points here that seem to deserve a helluva lot more attention and appreciation than they’ve been given:

  • Occasional app freeze on import
  • **(This is the real kicker) An issue that resulted in high memory usage while in the Develop module


Yes, it was widespread that the last version of Lightroom was causing the extremely irritating problem for many users where the application would, quite literally, freeze upon import of any amount of images from any source. That’s been fixed apparently, but that’s small change in comparison to the other issue of memory swelling and rather rubbish performance within the develop module.

It’s hard to pinpoint precisely when and in what version of update it occurred, but Lightroom got progressively RAM hungry, and particularly in the develop module. This posed a problem not only for those running machines with 8GB or less and those who use Lightroom with a single catalogue, but all. I use separate catalogues for each shoot or month (depending if it’s for work or leisure), and even with extremely modest catalogues I’d see Lightroom devour RAM on both my MacBook Pro and iMac, varying 16GB and 32GB respectively.

[REWIND: Shadows vs. Blacks | What’s The Difference & When To Use Which?]

Sort of insidiously, the memory it hogged seemed to swell relative to the amount of memory available, and not in proportion to the size of the catalogue. Essentially, if you had it, it would eat it. But with this update, Lightroom has rather dramatically changed its tune, and gone from an out of key soprano, to a robust tenor – at least, in comparison.

So, while many of you will treat the incremental upgrades from Adobe with trepidation, this one may be worth the wait. This is the best I’ve seen Lightroom perform in recent memory, and that’s the consensus from a few of colleagues. That Adobe didn’t make more noise about this is surprising.

PS – You’ll still have to figure out though if you are running a system where you should have the GPU working with LR or not.  If you’re looking to learn more about processing in LR like a Pro, check out Lightroom Image Processing Mastery.

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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. Ben Young

    After this update Lr has become unstable for me.
    It crashes at least once everyday.

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  2. Paul Empson

    LR import is still a pain… even after the update… I drag & drop the folder I want to import in to LR & it still insists on checking every connected device.. before it Finally brings up the OK dialogue.. PIA.. old LR import work fine.

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  3. Karen Borter

    I absolutely noticed the memory issue in the Develop module. I will update tonight and glad you wrote more about the update because the scant information that I had seen on it, thus far, left me hollow inside and not willing to update just yet. When syncing settings last night over a number of photos, I noticed the lag. It was almost to the point where I thought the program had crashed, it was just catching up. I am running 16gigs of RAM in my machine as well, so plenty of memory.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Let us know how you get on with it Karen, it’s still pleasantly improved on my end. Cheers

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  4. Bob Davis

    Wow…it is faster….

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  5. Lee Hawkins

    When did this update come out???

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