Dear Adobe, Please Fix Lightroom and Its Import Function

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I have been using Lightroom since version 1.0. It has been my favourite app to manage my RAW files, and I can’t imagine switching to anything else at the moment. However, there are parts of Lightroom that are so broken, that I cannot begin to imagine how anyone would put this out in the wild.

It took me fifteen (!!!) minutes to download 35 RAW files.

When travelling with my MacBook, I have a very specific workflow. I leave all the pictures on my memory cards (32 GB SanDisk SD-Extreme-something-or-other with UHS-I, which should be plenty fast) — I don’t delete a single shot. I do however import all the new shots every day onto my MacBook. This means that each cards holds a couple hundred RAW files before I get back from my trips. I use this method as a backup — I have all my photos on my MacBook, in iCloud (if I have a fast enough Wi-Fi connection), and on my cards. I keep them all separate when travelling too, just in case.

After a few days, usually when I get past 50 RAW files or so (16 MP files, nothing absurdly huge), the import dialog takes ages to display all the photos on the card, and to decide which ones are new. It took me fifteen (!!!) minutes to download 35 RAW files.

This is completely unacceptable. Jim Harmer put up a post about this a few months ago:

I ran a test by taking 97 RAW photos from my Fuji XT1 and importing them into all three computers.  In all cases, I transferred the photos from my SD card to my hard drive, and added but did not move or copy the photos on import.

Test results importing 97 photos into each program:

  • Lightroom- 190 seconds just to bring in the photos, 685 seconds to bring in all photos and build full previews
  • Capture One – 27 seconds to bring in photos, 114 seconds to bring in all photos and build full previews
  • Photo Mechanic – 12 seconds to bring in photos and allow for lightning fast full-screen browsing
  • Photos App – 9 seconds to bring in all photos and allow for lightning fast full-screen browsing
  • Dark Table – 14 seconds to bring in all photos and allow for lightning fast full-screen browsing

I’m on the brink of deleting Lightroom and going to find a better alternative. Please fix this app, so that people like me can continue to use it, and perhaps even start loving it again.

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