26 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2014 2:22 PM by dilbertaz

    best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog

    dtbain Level 1

      Dear All

       

      Please can I pick your brains about how best to arrange things so that my wife and I can edit the same stock of photos (not necessarily simultaneously, which I take it could cause problems).

       

      We will soon have bought (unless advised otherwise!) two Apple MBPs (since we tend after long days at work to edit on the sofa!).

       

      I take the options are roughly:  external drives, sticks, cloud, network.  In detail …

       

      1. A.  We keep the pics and catalog on an external hard drive which whoever’s editing plugs into their computer.  Downside: it’s a bit irritating when editing or showing pics to someone to have to keep an eye to ensure the USB cable doesn’t get knocked out; it’s somehow nicer to be self-contained.

       

      1. B.  Same as A, but using a 512GB or 1TB memory stick instead.  Downside:  the sticks are still pretty big, so same downside as A, to an extent, and also (is this right?) I’ve been told that memory sticks are relatively unreliable.

       

      1. C.  We keep the pics and catalog in the cloud and wirelessly edit them there. Downside:  perhaps impossible, or at any rate too slow?

       

      1. D.  Same as C, but using some sort of on-site server or drive (I’m a bit out of my depth here), perhaps like Apple’s Time Capsule.  Downside:  perhaps impossible, or at any rate too slow?

       

      Are there other options?  For example: is there an option where the pics reside on my MBP’s internal SSD but, in some very easy way I can get them onto an external drive if my wife wants to edit or take them somewhere?  (If there is, I should ensure I buy a MBP with a big enough SSD; otherwise, I needn’t worry about that so much.)

       

      Perhaps there’s an option involving smart previews, which I am just beginning to get my mind around?

       

      Any asdvice you have would be MOST welcome.

       

      Thank you.

       

        David

        • 1. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
          dj_paige Level 9

          With regards to A, I have never heard of this particular downside, and while I suppose it can happen, is this really a major concern? To me this is the best option.

           

          With regards to C, I know some poeple are using Dropbox for their catalog, which has a real downside, that you have to be sure that each computer has finished its synchronization with Dropbox before using the catalog; if you don't wait until the synchronization is finished you will have problems and perhaps a corrupted catalog. You might want to search these forums for more advice and more details on putting the catalog file on Dropbox.

           

          With regards to D, putting the catalog file on a networked drive is not possible with Lightroom; you might want to consider software that was designed for networked access, such as Daminion.

          For example: is there an option where the pics reside on my MBP’s internal SSD

          Putting photos on an SSD is unnecessary, it results in such a tiny speed improvement in Lightroom that it wouldn't be noticeable. Put them on an external HD and leave them there.

          • 2. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
            dilbertaz

            For the images themselves I would generate smart previews these allow you to edit photos without the originals present and depending on your machines and screen sizes it can actually be faster to edit in this manner.  You may need the originals when you export depending on the export and required size of the images on export.   As for the catalog this is more challenging but at least much smaller to deal with.  I have stored my catalogs on dropbox and shared them amongst a couple machines but as dj_paige mentioned you have to be careful to not stomp on each other.  I ran into some corruption issues at times if I wasn't careful.  As for external flash drive there are many low profile options such as this one; http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Cruzer-Low-Profile-Drive--SDCZ33-016G-B35/dp/B005FYNSZA/ref= sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1405008470&sr=8-5&keywords=flash+drive which would allow you to store your catalog(s) and smart previews and share between users easily.

            • 3. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
              dj_paige Level 9

              As I understand the original question, the catalog file and photos would always be available to both users, regardless of whether option A, B, C or D is chosen, thus smart previews aren't necessary. Yes, smart previews still provide some speed benefits in this case, but that seems irrelevant to the problem being discussed.

              • 4. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                dtbain Level 1

                One problem (for me!) is that I am not clear enough where the smart previews and catalog can be stored.

                 

                For example, I suppose the images could all be on an external drive, and my wife and I "copy" onto our respective machines only smart previews of the ones we want to edit over the next week, say.  But could this work?  And if so where would the catalog live?  Does it need to be accessible to the machine that is editing the smart previews at all times?  If so, I guess dropbox is one way of ensuring that while the external drive is disconnected, but I worry a bit about corruption, as you say, dilbertaz, and also about it slowing things down?

                 

                Similarly, I suppose the images could all be on my machine and my wife "copy" onto hers smart previews when she needs to edit a bunch.  But, again, where would the catalog have to live for that to work.  Would it have to be on or accessible to her machine when she was editing?

                 

                Sorry for my slowness!

                 

                And thanks so much

                 

                Advice still welcome!

                 

                d

                • 5. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                  dj_paige Level 9

                  Smart previews are completely unnecessary here. They can be optionally used for speed benefit. Since you are beginning this process, extra complication is not a wise idea, in my opinion, leave the smart previews for a later point in time.

                   

                  Your catalog file and all photos need to be on an external HD, if that's the way you choose to go. Lightroom will place the smart previews (which again are unnecessary here, but can be used optionally) in the right place, you do not need to move them yourself or manage them in any way outside of Lightroom.

                  • 6. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                    areohbee Level 5

                    The solution of putting catalog on an external drive is indeed the path of least resistance, in my opinion.

                     

                    That said, if you want to eliminate the cable, a thumb-drive will work just fine.

                     

                    You don't need to have the previews on there if the thumb-drive won't fit it, just put a link (on the thumb-drive) to previews on local drive.

                     

                    Put the photo files on a network drive and you have a pretty decent setup - just pass the baton (thumb-drive) to whatever system is to be active.

                     

                    Note: if you're not keeping previews (or photos) with catalog, even an old 2 or 4 GB camera card may have enough space - reader required of course.

                     

                    I realize many people are irked by having to use a thumb-drive, but the problem is 99% psychological and 1% practical, in my opinion - you must not lose or forget the thumb drive, and don't dunk it in your coffee...

                     

                    PS - Smart previews are good if you will be *away* from the system or connection or drive having the real photos, otherwise you might as well just use the real photos, assuming adequate performance..

                     

                    Rob

                    • 7. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                      SeanMcCormack Adobe Community Professional

                      I'd agree with Rob here- just go with the external drive. It's the system I've used successfully for 2-3 years now in a slightly different manner, working between home and the studio.

                      I've tested with Dropbox and the worse that's happened is I've ended up with 'Conflicted Catalogs'. No corruption fortunately, but it is a situation where corruption is far more likely than usual.

                      Sean

                      • 8. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                        dtbain Level 1

                        Thanks, Rob et al.  Very helpful, though I fear I have a steep learning curve here ...

                         

                        Sounds like thumb drive is perhaps the way to go (and as though you don't fear they're less reliable than other external drives, as someone I spoke to did for some reason).

                         

                        But could you just explain a little more the idea of putting a link to previews on a local drive?  By local drive, you mean ssd internal to either my or my wife's MBP yes?

                         

                        And, embarassingly, I am also very wet behind the ears when it comes to network drives.  Is this something like Apple's Time Capsule?  Is the idea just that it could back up the thumb drive or that the images would live on it or .... ?

                         

                        Apologies for my slowness.  If there's an idiot's guide somewhere on just this kind of stuff, please do push me in the right direction.

                         

                        Thanks so much again

                         

                        d

                        PS.  Any particular thumb drive?  Looking on Amazon, the Kingston 256GB looks promising (see below).  And I take it that with a delock cable (which I am assuming is a cable enabling one to "de-lock" the thumb drive from the port as it were), a thumb drive like that would be small enough that I could just lay it along the joint of screen and keyboard on the MBP and it could stay out of harm's way (while I am editing!)?

                         

                        Kingston Technology 256GB USB 3.0 DTHX Flash Drive: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

                        Delock USB 3.0 Type A Cable 0.15 m Black: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

                        • 9. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                          areohbee Level 5

                          Well, if you have 256GB thumb drive then there will probably be enough room for previews too (unless your catalog is very big).

                           

                          So if you can afford it, it is actually a better solution than having a link to previews on a different drive (so previews of edited files don't get rebuilt when switching systems, and no other issues..).

                           

                          I recently bought a SanDisk 64GB drive for $30 - works like a charm (but I don't know enough to recommend specific brands or models).

                           

                          Your catalog should be backed up on each system where you use it, so reliability of thumb drive is really not much of an issue. OK, after a few years you may need to get a new one, but for $30 a pop it's not much of a problem. Just be careful plugging it in and taking it out (and don't bump it while it's in, or sit on it when it's out..).

                           

                          PS - the easiest way to move previews from thumb-drive to local drive is using Preview Exporter's "Move Previews.." function. Just remember: if you are using the catalog on 2 different systems, the target of the preview link needs to be the same on each system (not the same drive, but the same drive name).

                           

                          Maybe somebody else can point you to the idiot's guide.. - good luck!

                           

                          If you have a network set up which supports drives, configuring a network drive does not involve much more than just plugging in a drive. But if your network doesn't support drives or you don't have a network setup, then you're back to a real (non-thumb, probably rotating, maybe SSD depending on catalog/photo size and budget) drive.

                           

                          But the concept of network drive is for common photo file access (regardless of how you back stuff up).

                          I mean, no matter how you do it, to use Lightroom (share catalog) on 2 different systems, you need access to:

                          * the same catalog (or synchronized copy).

                          * the same or different previews.

                          * the same photo files (they can be different copies, but if somebody imports a new photo, it needs to be accessible by the other party/system).

                           

                          So one setup possibility is:

                          * thumb drive (so you access the same catalog - no need to synchronize and no risk of simultaneous access..).

                          * relocated lib-previews so they don't have to be common (on thumb drive) but can be on local drive for performance reasons (better performance if lib-previews not on network drive, or at least that used to be true).

                          * network drive for common photo access (since photos are only accessed for development, exporting, and creating/re-creating previews (lib and/or smart)..).

                           

                          As Sean was saying, there are possible variations of setup depending on your situation etc., but the basic principles remain the same...

                           

                          Note: if you share catalog drive between two different systems, you probably want to check the "Store Presets With Catalog" option in Lr preferences.

                           

                          Cheers,

                          Rob

                          • 10. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                            dj_paige Level 9

                            The original question wanted photos and catalog file on the external HD or thumb drive. In that case, if a 256GB thumb drive is big enough to hold catalog file, previews and photos, and room for growth, then I agree its a good idea. In that case, the idea of previews on a hard disk means there would have to be previews on both computers' hard disk. So, I still like the idea of an external HD, as this probably gives you more space for growth. Not being familiar with UK pricing, I will state that here in USA, you can get a 1TB external HD for a lot less than the cost of a 256GB thumb drive. So I don't see the benefit of using a thumb drive compared to the external HD.

                            • 11. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                              dtbain Level 1

                              Thanks a lot, Rob and dj_paige.

                               

                              Re the irksomeness of having an external drive, I should explain that after a long day at desks we like to edit photos and check email etc. on the sofa!  It's on the sofa that having leads to an external hard drive is irksome.  But not the end of the world.

                               

                              Re your proposals, I think I am getting it now!

                               

                              There are three things to locate:  the catalog, the images, and the previews.

                               

                              On all the best options we should access (non-simultaneously) the same catalog.  This cannot be done on a networked drive, dj tells me above.  It can be done on dropbox, but sub-optimally.  Hence perhaps the best solution is to have at least it on a thumb drive.

                               

                              That leave three options by the sounds of it:

                               

                              1.  Keep the images alongside the catalog on a pretty big thumb drive.

                               

                              2.  Keep the images (unlike the catalog) on a networked drive and edit either (a) them or (b) smart previews of them (stored, I guess, on the computer of whoever is editing them, either my wife's or mine).

                               

                              3.  Keep the images (unlike the catalog) on my MBP's internal ssd, and network my computer to my wife's so she can access either (a) them there (when I am around) or (b) smart previews of them.


                              Hence questions:


                              a.  I take it 1 would deliver pretty good performance.  I sometimes worry that it might seem mad to get an MBP with a fast internal ssd if I then don't use that ssd for images!  But I guess the internal ssd will still deliver good speed simply in terms of housekeeping, I take it, even if the machine has to go to a stick for the images.  Right?


                              b.  By contrast, I take it that 2 and 3 really would be quite sluggish on the original images option, i.e. if someone were editing original images located on a network drive (whether that's a third drive or my internal drive, with my wife editing them wirelessly).  Yes?


                              c.  But would 2 and 3 work not only better, but pretty well, if the person editing were editing only smart previews?


                              d.  Even if so, IF I can get a thumb drive which is bigger for the images, there doesn't seem much point going for 2 or 3, and some point in not doing so, i.e. editing smart previews has its limitations, and on option 3 my wife wouldn't be able to edit when I was travelling (unless we'd taken steps in advance to make smart previews of all the relevant pics)?  Or perhaps this last point is wrong?  Does LR make smart previews, locally, of ALL pictures in the catalog?


                              However all of that goes, final question on something related but different:


                              e.  What's the best way of backing up the images?  I currently back up the catalog BOTH to dropox and to (yet more) external drives that I then take off-site, to the latter of which I also backup the images.  I guess that's the best way?  Apple's Timecapsule sounds good but wouldn't get anything off-site.  And I take it uploading thousands of raw images to the cloud would be either impossible or costly in terms of time or money?


                              Sorry for the long message -- but any further thoughts prompted by this thinking aloud most welcome!


                              All best, and thanks,


                              d

                              • 12. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                dj_paige Level 9

                                2.  Keep the images (unlike the catalog) on a networked drive and edit either (a) them or (b) smart previews of them (stored, I guess, on the computer of whoever is editing them, either my wife's or mine).

                                Even though I have mentioned this a few times, you do NOT need smart previews if the images are available. It's an extra step, completely optional, done only for speed purposes, and to be honest, if your catalog is on a thumb drive, that may be the speed limitation, not the speed of loading photos. In addition, smart previews are stored with the catalog ... I do not think you can put them on a different drive.

                                3.  Keep the images (unlike the catalog) on my MBP's internal ssd, and network my computer to my wife's so she can access either (a) them there (when I am around) or (b) smart previews of them.

                                Using the SSD for images is not going to produce speed benefits, other than trivial benefits that you probably can't even notice.

                                 

                                a.  I take it 1 would deliver pretty good performance.  I sometimes worry that it might seem mad to get an MBP with a fast internal ssd if I then don't use that ssd for images!  But I guess the internal ssd will still deliver good speed simply in terms of housekeeping, I take it, even if the machine has to go to a stick for the images.  Right?

                                I remain skeptical that a catalog on a thumb drive would produce "pretty good performance", but I admit that I have not tried. I fail to see what benefit you think you are getting from the SSD, "good speed simply in terms of housekeeping" is a phrase that I am not understanding. Yes, there are benefits to putting operating system and software on an SSD, but that's not what you are talking about, is it?

                                 

                                b.  By contrast, I take it that 2 and 3 really would be quite sluggish on the original images option, i.e. if someone were editing original images located on a network drive (whether that's a third drive or my internal drive, with my wife editing them wirelessly).  Yes?

                                No. Here's a major misundertanding on your part. The speed of the drive where the images are stored has little effect on the performance speed of Lightroom. Ian Lyons did a study, read it for yourself. A network drive would not cause performance issues in Lightroom, unless the network was failing to perform. Wireless? Well that's a different story, who knows, you haven't specified what type of wireless or the speed of the wireless

                                 

                                c.  But would 2 and 3 work not only better, but pretty well, if the person editing were editing only smart previews?

                                Possibly, but I reject the premise that 2 and 3 are sluggish because of the location of the photos, it may be sluggish because your catalog is on a thumb drive.

                                 

                                d.  Even if so, IF I can get a thumb drive which is bigger for the images, there doesn't seem much point going for 2 or 3, and some point in not doing so, i.e. editing smart previews has its limitations, and on option 3 my wife wouldn't be able to edit when I was travelling (unless we'd taken steps in advance to make smart previews of all the relevant pics)?  Or perhaps this last point is wrong?  Does LR make smart previews, locally, of ALL pictures in the catalog?

                                Number 2 is a very reasonable solution, even without smart previews, it is fine if you are accessing photos on a network drive. The speed limitation is the speed of accessing the catalog on the thumb drive.

                                 

                                e.  What's the best way of backing up the images?  I currently back up the catalog BOTH to dropox and to (yet more) external drives that I then take off-site, to the latter of which I also backup the images.  I guess that's the best way?  Apple's Timecapsule sounds good but wouldn't get anything off-site.  And I take it uploading thousands of raw images to the cloud would be either impossible or costly in terms of time or money?

                                All backup strategies are best when they are automatic (i.e. don't rely on the human user to remember to do it) and backups must go on a different physical disk than the originals. Many people backup to the cloud, see for example, the commercial service called Carbonite. In your backup strategy for Lightroom, you need to make regular, automated bakcups of the images and also of the catalog file.

                                • 13. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                  dtbain Level 1

                                  Thanks DJ Paige, each time -- thanks to your patience -- I get a bit closer to getting my head around all of this!

                                   

                                  It sounds like your view is that very little impact will be had on the speed of editing/developing (which is what I care about most, not importing) by the following:  whether the images are located on (a) my MBP's internal ssd or (b) a networked drive (I was thinking of an external hard drive off an Apple Airport) or (c) a shared drive, e.g. my wife's computer accessing pictures on my computer's internal ssd.

                                   

                                  I had thought (on the basis of no evidence!) that the networked/shared options would (like the cloud, I take it) slow things down not so much because of the speed of the relevant drives, but because I was assuming that my computer wirelessly accessing a networked drive (again, I guess I am thinking of a drive coming off an Apple Airport), or one computer accessing another computer's ssd wirelessly, would be considerably slower than its accessing its own internal ssd or hdd.  But perhaps I am wrong about that?  Or perhaps the point is that LR doesn't make extensive use of the original images so even if wireless slow things down it doesn't have much impact overall.  Or perhaps your point was only that the drive doesn't slow things down but the wireless connection might.  In any case, if the networked drive (external drive coming off Airport) accessed wirelessly option would not be sluggish (except as a result of the catalog being on a thumb drive) then great, since I quite like that option.  Is that the case?

                                   

                                  It worries me that you think (I hadn't realised this) that the thing that WILL have a significant effect on performance is having the catalog on a thumb drive.  I take it, though, from your first reply that there is no better option regarding the catalog IF my wife and I are going to have access to the same catalog.  Is that right?  So that's a hit we're just going to have to take?  Are thumb drives (or the connections to them) slower (all else equal) than larger external hard drives?  I had assumed not, since I had assumed that thumb drives really just *are* external hard drives that are small enough to plug directly into the USB?

                                   

                                  I take it it's not worth asking whether thumb drives are slower than wireless access to network drives, since I *can't* put the catalog on a network drive according to your first reply (which seems odd, I wonder why).

                                   

                                  I guess apple have Thunderbolt drives (I need to find out about all this, I am just entering the mac world) which perhaps would be a speedier place to have one's catalog.

                                   

                                  As for ssd's and housekeeping, all I meant was that, all else equal, a computer with an ssd runs faster than one with a traditional drive, and that I would continue to get some of that benefit with a MBP (whose internal drive is ssd) even when using Lightroom with the catalog and images on either thumb or network drives.  Perhaps not?

                                   

                                  I must read the Lyons study now; am sure that will help a bit.

                                   

                                  thanks again

                                   

                                  d

                                  • 14. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                    dj_paige Level 9

                                    The whole issue of wireless was mentioned at the start in option C, and then not mentioned again until your message 11. I have no idea if wireless will provide decent performance, as I have never tried it, and I cannot make any comment on it's capability or speed. I also haven't tried cloud solutions for photo storage with Lightroom.

                                     

                                    I am quite certain there are many people using a wired network drive for photo storage, and performance is not a problem. But it is not just my view, as I said Ian Lyons, a well-known Lightroom expert, did a study to show that the speed of the disk where the photos are stored has only a trivial impact on Lightroom performance.

                                     

                                    It worries me that you think (I hadn't realised this) that the thing that WILL have a significant effect on performance is having the catalog on a thumb drive.

                                    Perhaps you can do some research here, and find the data transfer speeds of thumb drives via USB3, compared to external HD via USB3 and see if, in theory anyway, they are comparable. I don't know. But I'm sure there are people using external HDs for their catalog and not complaining about performance speeds. And contrary to Rob above, I am not comfortable with leaving important and large files on a thumb drive and reading them and writing to them every time you use Lightroom. Perhaps more research is in order. Perhaps the quality of thumb drives has improved over the years and this isn't a concern ... or maybe it is still a concern.

                                     

                                    I take it, though, from your first reply that there is no better option regarding the catalog IF my wife and I are going to have access to the same catalog.  Is that right?

                                    I have consistently stated that I think the external HD solution is preferable from a hardware and performance and reliability point of view. As far as I can see, the only thing in favor of using a thumb drive is that in your opinion, it is more "ergonomic" when sitting on a couch.

                                     

                                    As for ssd's and housekeeping, all I meant was that, all else equal, a computer with an ssd runs faster than one with a traditional drive, and that I would continue to get some of that benefit with a MBP (whose internal drive is ssd) even when using Lightroom with the catalog and images on either thumb or network drives.

                                    Yes you would definitely get benefit from an SSD, by putting operating system and software on the SSD. If you were a single user (which I understand you are not) then putting the LR catalog file on the SSD also provides benefits. Putting the images on the SSD provides 0.05 seconds of improvement per image, according to one part of Ian Lyons's study

                                    • 15. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                      dtbain Level 1

                                      Thanks again!  Yes, sorry, I should have made clearer that I saw the network drive option as involving our being wirelessly connected to the network -- again the sofa is influencing workflow decisions!

                                       

                                      I guess I had assumed that, if I was going to have to plug in a cable to be connected to the network, then I might as well plug in a cable to be connected to an external HD as per your favoured option.  Sounds like you agree.

                                       

                                      This has been extremely helpful.  The main reason for me to fret about all of this now is simply that I am about to buy the first of probably two MBPs and I want to ensure I get a big enough internal ssd for my purposes.  I was inclined to go for 512GB, but could (at some considerable expense) go bigger if necessary.  Sounds like it's not necessary, since even setting aside the desire to co-edit a single catalog with my wife, you've made very well the point that storing the images on an external drive (provided the connection is not wireless) has little impact on speed.

                                       

                                      Thanks!

                                       

                                      d

                                      • 16. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                        SeanMcCormack Adobe Community Professional

                                        Wireless access would be ridiculously slow.

                                         

                                        USB3 external drives are both fast and light, I've not had any issue with my external attached when working on the bed, sofa etc. It can actually sit on the laptop beside the trackpad. Other times, it's been hanging down and never disconnected.

                                        • 17. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                          dtbain Level 1

                                          Thanks Sean, that's nice and clear.

                                           

                                          I was going to ask you about cloud solutions but I doubt there are any and I assume if wireless is very slow then the cloud would be too.

                                           

                                          So I think I'll go with consensus here, get an external drive, and not bounce around on the sofa too much.

                                           

                                          I take you think external drives are faster and more reliable than thumb drives for the purpose at hand?

                                           

                                          Thanks again, and all best

                                           

                                          d

                                          • 18. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                            SeanMcCormack Adobe Community Professional

                                            Absolutely. And come in much larger sizes. I'd highly recommend the G-tech drives for size and reliability.

                                            • 19. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                              areohbee Level 5

                                              dtbain wrote:

                                               

                                              So I think I'll go with consensus here, get an external drive, and not bounce around on the sofa too much.

                                              If it were me, that is what I would do - simpler, maybe cheaper, more room to grow.., and although you have to be careful not to knock the external drive on the floor, you also have to be careful with a thumb drive which is sticking out of a port somewhere. But in *either* case, with a little thought, you can come up with a setup which is both convenient and "secure".

                                               

                                              The nice thing about all on one device is that it's a complete package - no dependence on network or links to previews..

                                              But the thumb drive may still be an attractive option if you are willing to distribute the pieces, and cable+drive combo is sufficiently offensive..

                                               

                                              dtbain wrote:

                                               

                                              I take you think external drives are faster and more reliable than thumb drives for the purpose at hand?

                                              I'm not so sure how much the difference in drive speed makes here - Lightroom tends to be bound by other things, I'm not always sure what . I dunno about reliability, but I would backup catalog regularly in either case, and keep xmp with photos..

                                               

                                              Anyway, the solid state memory on a thumb drive is faster than the rotating disk of a normal (high-capacity non-SSD) external drive, but the interface of the normal external drive is faster, since it has a fast ram-cache and so doesn't have to go back and forth with the OS so much for each little chunk. Which would make the biggest difference overall in your case? - I really don't know.

                                               

                                              But note too: there are some speed improvements by distributing the pieces - if thumb contains catalog only, then there is never any contention between accesses for image data, or previews, vs. catalog, like there will be sometimes if they are all on one drive. Again: the difference is fairly small, and which would win in your case? - dunno...

                                               

                                              Bottom line: I doubt you could tell much (if any) difference, performance-wise, between catalog on a stick (by itself), and catalog on a brick (with everything else), so I would base the decision on something else (like cost and logistics..).

                                               

                                              Rob

                                              • 20. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                areohbee Level 5

                                                Seán McCormack wrote:

                                                 

                                                Wireless access would be ridiculously slow.

                                                Yeah: if your wireless network is not new, or you're near the range limit: ridiculously slow.

                                                But if your wireless network is new technology, and you're well in range: ridiculously fast! - for all practical purposes: as fast as a local disk for photo file access. I mean, there is a tiny fraction of a second penalty (relative to local wired connection) getting things started, but then transfer speed is limited by the connected device (hard drive itself), NOT the wireless interface.

                                                 

                                                I'm not talking about verizon wireless, I'm talking about 802.11ac.


                                                Here is a good article on actual speeds to expect, instead of exaggerated claims..

                                                802.11ac vs 802.11n - What’s the difference? - Opinion - Trusted Reviews

                                                 

                                                Cheers,

                                                Rob

                                                • 21. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                  areohbee Level 5

                                                  dj_paige wrote:

                                                   

                                                  if your catalog is on a thumb drive, that may be the speed limitation

                                                  You'd be surprised. I just tried it, and could notice no performance degradation. I didn't do any rigorous benchmark testing, but of the things I tried - just as fast, as far as I could tell..

                                                   

                                                  Thumb drive interface is slightly slower but separation of devices makes for improved performance, and it's not (somewhat surprisingly) a critical bottle-neck for Lightroom, for most operations anyway.

                                                   

                                                  dj_paige wrote:

                                                   

                                                  smart previews are stored with the catalog ... I do not think you can put them on a different drive.

                                                  You most definitely can put them on a different drive - you just have to access through a link instead of directly on disk.

                                                   

                                                  Rob

                                                  • 22. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                    areohbee Level 5

                                                    dtbain wrote:

                                                     

                                                    I take it it's not worth asking whether thumb drives are slower than wireless access to network drives, since I *can't* put the catalog on a network drive according to your first reply (which seems odd, I wonder why).

                                                    You can put catalog on a network drive, if you want to - some people are doing it (you need to know the "tricks"). BUT:

                                                    * Neither Adobe (nor Adobe's proponents) recommends it (more specifically: they recommend against it), due to potential catalog corruption (I have no idea how much the potential is actually realized).

                                                    * It does NOT perform as well as a local (or thumb) drive, due to the frequent transfer of small amounts of data, which networks don't handle as well as local drives.

                                                    (in contrast, photo files are an infrequent transfer of large amounts of data, for which networks are well suited)

                                                     

                                                    So, it's generally better not to break the rules, unless there is a very compelling reason - and your situation does not really call for such rule breaking, in my opinion..

                                                     

                                                    ~R.

                                                    • 23. Re: Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                      dtbain Level 1

                                                      Thanks, Rob, very helpful.  Needless to say, probably, I am also no expert on wireless (802.11ac etc.) but would Apple's Airport (which I take it is essentially a router into which you plug drives and printers etc) be of the speed you're talking about?

                                                       

                                                      If so, that's quite a tempting option.

                                                       

                                                      Thanks

                                                       

                                                      d

                                                      • 24. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                        areohbee Level 5

                                                        dtbain wrote:

                                                         

                                                        Thanks, Rob, very helpful.

                                                        You're welcome d.

                                                         

                                                        dtbain wrote:

                                                         

                                                        would Apple's Airport (which I take it is essentially a router into which you plug drives and printers etc) be of the speed you're talking about?

                                                        I think the latest Apple Airport Extreme is using 802.11ac (the current fastest), but it'd be worth double-checking.

                                                         

                                                        dtbain wrote:

                                                         

                                                        If so, that's quite a tempting option.

                                                        Yeah: if you already have the network, or would need it for other things.., and the drive to plug in, it'd be worth trying, but buying just for Lr photos wouldn't make good sense..

                                                         

                                                        As I said, I'd probably just opt for the regular external drive (e.g. g-tech) - there is no more reliable and no faster and no simpler, but it's certainly not the only viable option if there are other compelling factors..

                                                         

                                                        Cheers,

                                                        Rob

                                                        • 25. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                          dtbain Level 1

                                                          Thanks all for taking the time to supply this really helpful advice.  I think I'll probably opt for the keeping the images and catalog on an external hard drive.

                                                           

                                                          I am about to buy the laptops to implement this plan, starting with a 15 inch Macbook Pro with Retina for me -- I'll then buy something similar for my wife, later, once we've got used to it and are sure it will do the trick.

                                                           

                                                          Regarding specs:  there are three key choices (assuming I go for 512GB ssd, which I'm inclined to) ...

                                                           

                                                          Processor:  quad i7 processors in speeds of 2, 2.3, or 2.6 GHz.

                                                           

                                                          RAM:  8GB or 16GB.

                                                           

                                                          Graphics card:  get one or not.

                                                           

                                                          I'm inclined to get the 16GB RAM and either 2.3 or 2.6 GHz processor, and a graphics card (for multiple displays if I ever do that).

                                                           

                                                          General question:  does that sound sensible?

                                                           

                                                          Specific question:  is there point in splurging on the 2.6Ghz over the 2.3GHz?  I know this is a bit like "How long is a piece of string?" but, for what it's worth, do you think I'll find the 2.3 (with 8GB RAM and graphics card) lightning fast and won't notice the extra speed of the 2.6, or do you think the 2.6 will make an appreciable difference?

                                                           

                                                          I don't know whether RAM or processor makes more of a difference?  Do you?

                                                           

                                                          Thanks as ever loads!

                                                           

                                                          all best

                                                           

                                                          David

                                                          • 26. Re: best way for multiple users to edit same pics and catalog
                                                            dilbertaz Level 1

                                                            The actual differences between a 2.3 to 2.6 GHz processor equates to an approximate 6% difference, the amount of memory and number of cores by far will make the biggest difference.  Even hard drive speed doesn't make a huge difference in Lightroom, as has been proven by someone who tested hard drive against SSD with catalog, images and previews on each of the drives.