8 Replies Latest reply on Jul 1, 2015 1:26 PM by JukkaP

    Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"

    JukkaP

      Hello all,

      I want to ask your experiences on this issue, regardless of your LR version:

      Having copied the contents of many memory cards full of CR2 raw files (say, 2000-3000 photos) to a folder on a HDD, I want to import ONE of those raw photos to Lightroom by dragging the file onto LR icon in the Mac dock. LR idling on the background, the import dialog opens with "Add" action with only the single file selected among many many others.

       

      The catch: after starting the import, it takes a long time (close to a minute, if not more) to the single photo to appear in the catalog.

       

      With a quick 2.7Ghz Quad-core i7 Macbook Pro Retina with SSD and a fresh, empty catalog, I just cannot comprehend how a simple import operation like this can take virtually forever. In my mind, it should take a fraction of a second. Instead, it feels like Lightroom is scanning through all the not-imported files, and then manages to add the one photo into the catalog.

      I'm still using Lightroom 4.4.1, and I might upgrade soon only if this behavior has improved significantly.

       

      Thanks for your input!

        • 1. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
          dj_paige Level 9

          What happens if you put one photo in a folder by itself and then import via this method? Is it faster? If so, then it's the size of your original folder that is the culprit. If not, then there are other issues.

           

          Instead, it feels like Lightroom is scanning through all the not-imported files, and then manages to add the one photo into the catalog.

          Lightroom uses operating system calls to interact with your folders and files, so it's not Lightroom that is doing this, it is your operating system.

           

          . In my mind, it should take a fraction of a second.

          Well that's a bit too extreme in the other direction. 3-6 seconds would probably be normal.

          • 2. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
            JukkaP Level 1

            dj_paige wrote:

             

            What happens if you put one photo in a folder by itself and then import via this method? Is it faster? If so, then it's the size of your original folder that is the culprit.

             

            With a single photo folder, the import operation is lightning quick. Obviously, a large number of photos in a folder the Add-import slows down to a crawl. I don't think it shouldn't, since why Lightroom should be affected by the number of files not being considered.

            • 3. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
              dj_paige Level 9

              As I said, Lightroom uses operating system calls to perform tasks on your folders and photos, so it is not Lightroom at fault here; and this is a well known drawback to putting thousands of files into a single folder.

               

              Why have you adopted this unusual workflow anyway? Obviously, things could go a lot faster if you imported your photos differently. Almost every Lightroom advice I have seen (as well as my own advice) is to import all photos from a folder into LR at once.

              • 4. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
                JukkaP Level 1

                dj_paige wrote:

                 

                As I said, Lightroom uses operating system calls to perform tasks on your folders and photos, so it is not Lightroom at fault here; and this is a well known drawback to putting thousands of files into a single folder.

                 

                Even if Lightroom uses OS calls for file functions, I don't quite understand why a large folder should make any difference when operating with a single file. If I open one JPEG file with Photoshop from a folder containing the same number of RAW and JPEG files, accessing that JPEG file does not take any longer than opening it from an otherwise empty folder.

                 

                Why have you adopted this unusual workflow anyway? Obviously, things could go a lot faster if you imported your photos differently. Almost every Lightroom advice I have seen (as well as my own advice) is to import all photos from a folder into LR at once.

                As some other threads have pointed out, even if using USB 3.0 devices to import photos, Lightroom appears to be slow in copying files from a card. For that reason, I'm using Photomechanic for ingesting several cards at once, as it also  allows to browse through photos very quickly in Lightroom terms. I just select the photos I want to develop in Lightroom, and therefore import only a small subset of photos instead of all of them. When the number of photos grow larger during a day's shoot, Lightroom import practically becomes the slowest component in the workflow, waiting for the few photos to appear in Lightroom. 

                • 5. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
                  dj_paige Level 9

                  Even if Lightroom uses OS calls for file functions, I don't quite understand why a large folder should make any difference when operating with a single file. If I open one JPEG file with Photoshop from a folder containing the same number of RAW and JPEG files, accessing that JPEG file does not take any longer than opening it from an otherwise empty folder.

                  Lightroom is not Photoshop. They do different things. It is pointless to compare the two.

                   

                  As some other threads have pointed out, even if using USB 3.0 devices to import photos, Lightroom appears to be slow in copying files from a card. For that reason, I'm using Photomechanic for ingesting several cards at once, as it also  allows to browse through photos very quickly in Lightroom terms. I just select the photos I want to develop in Lightroom, and therefore import only a small subset of photos instead of all of them. When the number of photos grow larger during a day's shoot, Lightroom import practically becomes the slowest component in the workflow, waiting for the few photos to appear in Lightroom. 

                  Obviously, you do not understand what Lightroom is doing at import. Lightroom is rendering your RAW photos and generating previews so it can work properly. Photomechanic doesn't do either of these things. It is pointless to compare the two.

                   

                  You do not have to wait for photos (plural) to appear in Lightroom when you are import. Once a photo (singular) appears, you can switch to Library or Develop and begin working on this photo.

                  • 6. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
                    JukkaP Level 1

                    dj_paige wrote:

                     

                     

                    Lightroom is not Photoshop. They do different things. It is pointless to compare the two.

                     

                    Both of them are reading a single file from the SSD, do a various amount of processing, but only one of them suffers from many files in one folder. What I'm worried about is that Lightroom appears to be pretty inefficient while using the operating system file access, albeit RAW file is 12 times the size of JPG. Reading a 24MB RAW shouldn't be any extraordinary task for a modern computer.

                     

                    Obviously, you do not understand what Lightroom is doing at import. Lightroom is rendering your RAW photos and generating previews so it can work properly. Photomechanic doesn't do either of these things. It is pointless to compare the two.

                     

                    You do not have to wait for photos (plural) to appear in Lightroom when you are import. Once a photo (singular) appears, you can switch to Library or Develop and begin working on this photo.

                     

                    I do realize the difference between JPG and RAW formats, and the necessity of generating previews in LR. I'm using Photomechanic precisely because it doesn't have to.

                     

                    I did a quick test with a stopwatch:

                    Test 1: A folder with 4000 RAW photos, importing a single photo from that folder into Lightroom took 27 seconds, starting Import as soon as the button is enabled. During that time, Lightroom grid for Previous import is empty, and states "Import files at their current location". Working on this photo is not possible.

                    Test 2: A folder with 1 RAW photo, importing that photo into Lightroom took 1 second. I think it is not pointless to compare these two cases. Don't you think these operations should take more or less the same time.

                     

                    I suspect that Lightroom may continue building thumbnail previews for ALL photos in the original folder, even if the actual import is already initiated for one photo only. Is this possible?

                    • 7. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
                      ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Are any of those other 4000 photos already imported into LR or is the one your dnding the first one?

                       

                      Does the same slowness occur if you drag-and-drop the single photo onto LR’s main Library Loupe view area with LR as the front application window?

                       

                      Does the same slowness happen if you wait until all 4000 previews are visible but only one with a checkmark next to it?  If things are fast, then, then perhaps the check-for-duplicates operation doesn’t abort when you click Import, and LR waits until that is finished before actually doing the Import operation.

                       

                      I would also ask if there is a routine, practical instance of the scenario you describe happening in your real-world workflow, or is this just something you noticed while experimenting.

                      • 8. Re: Survey: Painfully slow *single* photo import by "Add"
                        JukkaP Level 1

                        ssprengel wrote:

                         

                        Are any of those other 4000 photos already imported into LR or is the one your dnding the first one?

                         

                        Some photos, say 200, are already in the LR catalog. However, the contents of the catalog does not seem to have a major influence on the single-photo import speed.

                         

                         

                        Does the same slowness happen if you wait until all 4000 previews are visible but only one with a checkmark next to it?  If things are fast, then, then perhaps the check-for-duplicates operation doesn’t abort when you click Import, and LR waits until that is finished before actually doing the Import operation.

                        Yes, pretty much as slow. However, it is not possible to wait all thumbnail preview in the import selection grid to load up, but waiting for a good while before starting actual import does not seem to have much effect.

                         

                        Does the same slowness occur if you drag-and-drop the single photo onto LR’s main Library Loupe view area with LR as the front application window?

                         

                         

                        Actually, it seems that through File > Import photos and video > (grid with all selected) > unselect all > select one random photo in the middle of the grid > Import, the operation seems to be much quicker than with drag-and-drop! However, this approach is not very practical in the present workflow.

                         

                        I would also ask if there is a routine, practical instance of the scenario you describe happening in your real-world workflow, or is this just something you noticed while experimenting.

                         

                        Yes. During an event shoot, once in a while I return to my laptop and copy the new contents from several memory cards at once by using Photomechanic Ingest (LR just cannot copy/import multiple sources at once). Already during copying, I can skim through the raw files with a super quick rough previews. I select some best picks, and drag them over Lightroom dock icon to ingest them for developing. To my understanding this corresponds to drag-and-drop import from Finder. This is the bit that frustrates me the most. Still, this is a much faster approach than waiting LR to import files from cards one at a time. Anyway, I think there is no point importing all files into LR if I'm only going to do any editing with a small subset of the photos.