Tuesday, May 05, 2015

LR CC Seriously where is the speed?

My Trial of Lightroom CC has not lasted very long. I must preface this with I am only running the trial version on a Windows 7 machine, it is 64bit with service pack 1  and 8GB RAM and has a reasonably standard graphics card (an ATI Radeon HD 5450). Maybe its the fact that I have a conventional “spinning disk” hard drive not a SSD, solid sate drive.  Seriously I can’t see any massive performance improvements. Possibly I’ve gotten used to the snappier browsers in After Shot Pro and Perfect Photo Suite. So to be fair I set up a test against LR 4.4 on my studio computer which is an older laptop still running Windows Vista 32bit operating system, and 4 GB RAM. The test involved loading just 22 photos (in both Jpeg & RAW so 44 images imported but lightroom only displays the RAW files) from the same SD card, same card reader and processing the same two images(shown below). I had new blank catalogues in both cases and I’m not using face recognition, HDR or panorama merge. SADLY the very old studio laptop and LR4.4 are giving me better performance!

 

Lr CC

Lr 4.4

Load 22 photo from SD card

0:36

0:33

Edit 1 ( Crepe Myrtle)

1:22

1:17

Edit 2 (Moon)

1:42

1:30

Time is in Minutes:Seconds

I’m not using smart previews and I’m only doing some very simple post processing. There might be faster refresh on some action to start with but I have the feeling once I do more that three or four steps the performance dies. I was a little bit surprised at the difference in edit times, but I did start the timer from selecting the photo in the Library module and there does seem to be a distinct lag getting to the development module in Lr CC. I realise these test may not be rigorous but they are typical of things I might do and taking 10% extra time to do it does not appeal.

_IGP8889-2, Tonal adjust, Darken Sky, HSL Luminance, slight Vibrance & Clarity _IGP9015-2 Crop, Tonal Adjust, Vibrance, Detail and Noise Adjust

What was really disturbing was the performance dive on the rest of my system. These Lr CC sessions were accompanied by much disk whirring and I recognized it was virtual memory thrashing on a grand scale. lightyroom failChanging a web page took minutes, opening this blog post in window’s live writer took 10 minutes. Chrome kept crashing, and then would not reappear (I suspect it was trying to display outside my screen). Word and Excel became unusable. Whenever I saw lightroom’s “not responding" message the whole system would freeze for an extended period. I suspected that somehow lightroom was grabbing all memory and CPU resource but even task manager was bought to its knees. Don’t even get me started on the number of lightroom crashes. Something is clearly wrong here,  can I be the only one? and clearly I’m not!

Ok with that major disappointment out of the way, what about the great new features? Many of those where on the list of desirable items I posted previously, was it really 2 years ago. The really important capability missing from this release is still the ability create catalogues on network volumes, either for personal or collaborative use. Lightroom is still a one computer one user mistress, expecting to share a library of images through the creative cloud is little more than the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The two photo merging features interested me most as I routinely do both tasks, using other softer dedicated applications. I take a lot of bracketed exposures and create HDR images IMGP8949-HDR-2 click on this image and see the smoothe halo around the stem and water dropletoften so I was keen to try out The HDR option. Unfortunately it very tame, not many controls and the preview window is probably a bit small. I missed the fact that the de-ghosting over smoothed the background (see image on the right) because the preview window didn’t show that detail and you can’t zoom in. Whilst I had my camera on a tripod for this shot the wind was blowing so there as ghosting in the basic merge. However this HDR does a reasonable job for the majority of bracketed photos. It does take control, there are very few switched and no sliders but it doesn’t do the lurid tone mapping for which HDR has got such a bad name. Instead it takes the images to be merges and builds a 16bit colour space version with a much broader tonal range than any of the individual photos and this can be then processed like any RAW photo. Definitely you should be able to get an image close to what your eye sees.

I also take a lot of multi image panoramas, and Photo Merge/Pano was something else to try out. It did a good job when I only stitched 2-3 images. It refused to stitch some sets. Then I started to test with a few large sets like the 17 vertical shot of about a beach (shown below). Basically it has left out a lot of images and mismatched in a few places. it also took a long time to actually generate. Once again there are very few controls and no sliders. Ok Interesting but there are much more mature panorama stitchers around.

_IGP8226-Pano-2 The 17 image panorama that hasn't worked

Both these photo merge options create DNG files so you basically have full size RAW files that you can edit further. They can be BIG files

The Face Recognition is “another also ran” feature, for me it struggled to get more than about 70% of the face correct. It is also very slow and I soon turned it off.

Lightroom Mobile, might be ok if you want to preview your photos, say on an IPad. However on an android phone it left me struggling to find anything nice to say about it.

LR CC Import DialogueI am a great fan of using Albums (aka collections in Lightroom) to organize photos. So the inclusion of an Add to Collection tickable Item in the file handling dialogue during import is a very nice feature. Pity is I have lost confidence in lightroom keeping track of my collections.

The other nice feature is the ability to mask gradation and radial filters, so for instance you can follow and mask the filter from applying  to a strong silhouette in the foreground or strong tree lie of mountains in the background. It almost gives the feel of being able to work with layers, instead it just works selectively paint out part of  these two overlay filters.

However my desire to investigate further is killed by yet another crash.

If this was called Lightrooom CC beta I might have given her a fairer trial. Hopefully the reliability and speed issues might be easily fixed. However Adobe please rethink this release.  Its appalling!. BIG #FAIL

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