Adobe Faces Harsh Backlash After Removal of Features and Stability Issues Plague Lightroom 2015.2/6.2

Adobe Faces Harsh Backlash After Removal of Features and Stability Issues Plague Lightroom 2015.2/6.2

Many photographers recently upgraded to the newest version of Lightroom, only to have their work come grinding to a halt as the program became completely nonfunctional. Others found their standard workflow disrupted by the removal of longtime features. Either way, many are very displeased with the latest update and have taken to the Internet quite vocally to make their concerns known.

Adobe released the latest update to Lightroom on October 5. Within 24 hours, the Internet was aswirl with angry users. The backlash seemed to center around two issues: changes to the "Import" section and the program crashing.

Import Changes

  1. Ejecting cards: Gone is the feature that ejects a card automatically after Lightroom completes an import. I know that I personally loved this feature, as it saved me from absentmindedly removing a memory card after importing photos without ejecting it first and risking corruption of the files. I have a hard time seeing why a feature that really has no bearing on major functionality in the program and is only an added convenience would be removed. A glance over online forums indicated that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.
  2. Moving images: Also gone is the option to change the file location of images upon import. In previous versions, importing photos from the hard drive gave you the option to also move them to a destination of your choice. You might ask why you would be importing images from the hard drive and not the memory card. It turns out that Lightroom is very slow at importing photos from a memory card. It's much faster to copy them to the hard drive, then import them. For many of us who come back from a shoot with thousands of photos (wedding photographers, for example), the time savings are substantial, as I can attest to. With this option gone, one has to manually move the photos, then import them. This may seem like a pittance of effort, but for those of us who have been using Lightroom for years, it can be very easy to completely forget that extra step, very quickly leading to a fragmented catalog. In the worst case scenario, if you're like me and you keep your photos on an external hard drive that is backed up to the cloud, but only parts of your main hard drive are backed up, these photos might be inadvertently skipped in the backup process, leaving them at risk.


The bigger frustration, however, is that a large portion of users are plagued by sudden stability issues, many to the point of the program becoming unusable after merely 30 seconds in some cases. We here at Fstoppers had issues while working with the new version for our recently released review of the Canon 5DS R, Nikon D810, and Sony a7R II, prompting us to switch to another computer with the previous version installed. Of course, many photographers don't have that luxury, leaving them high and dry while waiting on Adobe to issue a fix.

Adobe Responds

Adobe released a slightly bizarre response on their blog today, acknowledging the stability issues and addressing the interface changes. They offered a fix, which has had mixed results. If you're having issues, try this: 

  1. Go to Lightroom > Preferences.
  2. Click on the General tab
  3. Uncheck “Show ‘Add Photos’ Screen”
  4. Restart Lightroom

With regards to the interface changes, Adobe had this to say: 

I think it’s important to provide some context to why we made changes to Import. Over the years we’ve done extensive studies of customers interested in Lightroom ... Customers were universally unable to decipher the Import dialog without getting frustrated ... The previous Import experience literally made people push back from their computers in frustration. 

Judging by the comments on Adobe's blog, many are wondering what customers Adobe has been speaking with. Have you upgraded to the new version of Lightroom? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments!

[via Adobe and Improve Photography]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Who exactly "pushed back from their computer in frustration" because of the import function and how exactly does removing the automatic eject function stop this frustration?

Also, does anyone have an INFORMED opinion on the legality of removing features from rental software under contract?

what about removing features from the standalone version that people have already paid for in full?!

Not so much an opinion, but copy/paste straight from their Terms of Use

"1.7 Modification. We may modify, update, or discontinue the Services, Software (including any of their portions or features) at any time without liability to you or anyone else. However, we will make reasonable effort to notify you before we make the change. We will also allow you a reasonable time to download your content. If we discontinue a Service in its entirety, then we will provide you with a pro rata refund for any unused fees for that Service that you may have prepaid."



I installed it as soon as it became available on the CC and I have not had a single issue with it. I also HAVE not updated to Mac OS El Capitan which MAY have something to do with things as also On1 and Topaz Labs have had issues with this. So there may be more to it than just Adobe. As to the "Import" for people that have used LR for a long time or the beginning. "Import" makes sense, But for people that have not used Lightroom before and are used to "File Browsing" Importing seems quite odd to them...well as it actually is Odd even though we are used to it. So THAT is what I think Adobe was trying to fix here. Have the import dialog look more familiar to people used to File/Folder Browsing. even though it is still a quite different thing

Yep, had the same crashing problems directly after i updated. Happened 3 or 4 times, then i did a restart to the Mac and now it seems to be working fine. Just imported some new pictures, the interface was ok, surprised me but I just wanted the photos imported so I didnt really mess around with the new parts.

I began using LR less than three years ago, and despite having worked with PS for twenty years (or because of that!) I found LR very difficult to adapt to. After about a month of use I suddenly began to be comfortable with it and now all my assignments begin with LR. So I can understand why beginners can be confused by the program, and I expect this is what Adobe is referring to in its response comments. Now that I am so adept with LR I certainly do not look forward to the changes that have been implemented in this new version, and I will hold off for several weeks. What I WOULD love to see is a faster, more streamlined LR. Very frustrating to have to wait for previews to come up for me when I am editing. I've tried the recommendations from Adobe on how to speed this up but I found no improvement. Thanks so much for this article today as I now know to wait before updating LR. Perhaps Adobe will make some changes...

I haven't been able to update LR or PS via the CC for 2 updates now... install fails every time. I have followed everything suggested in Adobe's support documentation regarding the error I've been receiving with no success. I guess I'll just sit back and 'relax' now until they get this mess sorted out... :p

Any news on El Capitan and Nikon tethering? Totally non-functional on my end.
From such a large company, I expect more.
That said, I havent had any of the crashing issues.

Early adopters certainly bites the dust these days... Luckily I haven't upgraded neither the OS or the latest LR version.

Keeps crashing on my end. Totally messed up my day.

The complaining that customers may have done to Adobe must have been from amateur or inexperienced (but apparently loud and somewhat numbered) Lightroom users. The much larger portion of users, however, I am sure rarely complained about the Import dialog. And if they had, this new version certainly isn't something they would have dreamt up... I don't know what "pros" Adobe may or may not have consulted with...but this is disappointing indeed...

It sounds as if Adobe may have taken the approach to only address complaints. So if no Pros were complaining, then just make changes to accommodate those that were unhappy or confused. Granted, for the new/casual user the old import screen (and many others in LR) could be overwhelming. While I like their attempt to remove confusion, I fail to see how removing functionality (dumbing down the entire section) could ever be a good idea. Software design 101 should have taught them that users HATE drastic changes in any UI and they are passionate about previous functionality, even if it was flawed or that functionality was not an intentional design element. Perhaps they should expand their UAT pool to include a more diverse group of Pro users.

Upgrade was smooth. No issues but I do not like the deletion of the "eject card after import" feature.
As to the extensive "research" Adobe cites I can only imagine they are reacting to the "Tea Party Users" IOW those who throw a tantrum rather than make an effort to learn something.

you can install older versions of any adobe application using Creative Cloud app, just scroll down and click install button along the app name, and it will show all older versions you can install.

I didn't upgrade yet. I'm using LR6.1.1

But from what I've read, this "new" import interface is coming also to the stand-alone version of LR!!! I'm confused now! Didn't Adobe say that they won't release any new features to the stand-alone version of LR (that's why they aren't giving us the dehaze tool!), but I see they've have no problem removing features we already paid for in this "update"!

Yes, they messed up the Import in the stand-alone 6.1 as well. Must be a lot of computer-illiterates out that that complained. Now I have to do a 3-step import (Import, then move to 2 different folders I use, then synchronize the changes to update LR), so not happy camper here.

Lol this is so ridiculous. Yeah let's cater to the 2% of noobs who can't wrap their heads around stuff and screw over the majority of the userbase. How hard would it have been to just make the import dialogue MORE USER FRIENDLY and clear instead of removing the features people weren't clear on? My god the amount of stupid here is painful

I have used LR since LR 3 and started using Adobe CC earlier this year. Never had any problems with any of the standalone versions but CC has been nothing but problematic since I started using it six months ago. Working with customer support (more like third party forum advice) has been terrible and the "support staff" have been nothing but patronizing d-bags. Everything Adobe has said they would do they have went back on(support to PS6 comes to mind). If you Google "Adobe profits" there are numerous articles about how their margins have tanked by as much as 50% (both in the USA and internationally) since the release of ACC. The disregard for a user base that has been so dedicated to their photography products is complete BS.

I always import weddings as soon as I get home and before I go to bed, so I just wake up in the morning and they are there. That's a non-issue to me.

And since I import multiple cards at once, the auto-eject feature hasn't worked in several versions (doesn't work when you manually select sources like when choosing a hard drive as you mention).

Late 2008 MacBook did upgrade to El Capitian with no issues there. Also did see a performance increase. Yes, my Lightroom crashes after 2 mins of use. All the time. I had to call my sister to tell her not to update.

Bad decisions... Lightroom killed my workflow. Can't synchronize folders with subfolders... (I do jewelry focus stacking with HeliconRemote and I use Lightroom to manage files and export to DNG etc).
2nd mistake was updating to El Capitan which made my Photoshop unusable.
At least Adobe issued "work around" plugin:
I should know better than updating OS like that ;)

I installed it and it's crap. Scroll bars and sliders do not work making the program completely useless. I wish I had learned my lesson on adobe upgrades. Their pushed rather hastily. I had problems with the last upgrade as well and its not my computer. Now I cant even quit the program, have to force quit. Fix the bugs Adobe, fix the bugs. Anybody do a rollback?

The following remains "awaiting moderation" on the Adobe blogs page. Posts by others have been released and appear below this one so I am wondering if Adobe don't like what I have to say....

"I’m very very disappointed with Adobe for forcing the Lightroom team to push this update out when it clearly wasn’t ready. It’s very poor customer policy to foister a frankly hopeless release for the need for a splashy PR event, AdobeMAX.

As for the child-like import facility – I agree with some commenters here who see it as a way of dumbing down Lightroom to attract the Instagram crowd. Please, take care of your long term users. Give us the capability to have a powerful interface for importing images. It’s been there, getting more and more powerful ever since I started with Lightroom at Version 2. This version is hopeless. I want to do some clever stuff ON IMPORT. I can’t anymore.

Lightroom is my primary imaging software. I need it to perform flawlessly and the previous releases have delivered. The Dev team were allowed to develop, test, QA and then deliver software that worked. They have failed because Adobe forced them to deliver before they were ready. For shame, Adobe, for shame.

You get one more chance. I am rolling back to the old version. I am NOT looking forward to the Uninstall / Reinstall process for what that will mean for setting up my workflow, presets, ad-ons and config files.

If the new new version works when I upgrade again you might start earning the respect you’ve lost with this debacle. If it’s another poorly thought out market grab, shunning the advanced and pro photographer who rely on LR for their livelihood and joie de vivre, then sorry, but I’ll find something else and my subscription will lapse.

I am not alone."

Adobe did the same with After Effects and Premiere Pro by adding an illegible blue GUI text on a dark background. There had never been a complaint that I know of regarding the previous ochre/orange GUI. Again, I put this down to Adobe deserting loyal, professional users in an attempt to make their apps 'cool' rather than professional.

I no longer use them and have reverted back to the older usable version. The trouble is that, with changing codecs and technologies, I will be forced to use the ghastly applications one day.

Paul, you have stated, in terms far more civilized than I can muster, the basic issues here. For me, if Adobe doesn't fix this stupidity, Lightroom is terminal.

Crashed often when using the built-in Panorama function as well as when choosing the Export/Export to Previous function.

Had to roll back to the previous version so that it can be usable again.

Did Abode force the update on users, or did people just go and download the latest version to be the first kids on the block with the new toy, or have their software set to automatically update to accomplish the same? If it's the former, everyone has a legitimate gripe. If it's the latter, I laugh at you.

So far it's voluntary. I get a reminder of updates available but ignore them.

My biggest culprit is that there seems to be no paid support for pro users. If you're running a busy studio and have tight deadlines, where is the support for those that need it on the double? Not everyone has the luxury of time to open support tickets and spend days going back-and-forth. For a company of their size, this is a gross oversight. It's also one of the reasons I'm still using version 5.7. No way am I risking these glitches with the latest untested releases. The biggest pity is that they have a near monopoly in this marketplace. I really wish Apple had continued to support Aperture.

Their monopoly is still strong but not as strong as it used to be ... competitors are starting to crop up with interesting offerings. Nothing to really threaten their market dominance ... yet ... but still.

Photoshop : Afinity (Mac only)
Lightroom : Capture One
Premiere : Sony Vegas / HitFilm / Red Giant ...
After Effects : ??? ...

All we need is for Adobe to keep pissing off their customers.

I've been getting 'Wheas' (BSOD) from Lightroom for the last few days. Seems it's taxing my cpu a lot more than usual.. And my fans go ramping up to full trying to cool it any time I move a slider. And I've got a custom watercooled system! I like the new import feature though, well like is a strong word.. I don't dislike it.. yet..

About a month ago I lost one of my RAM modules because Lightroom took over 12 hours trying to stitch a panorama of 32 photos and it was using around 50% of the CPU (AMD 1100T) and over 6GB of RAM (out of 16GB). I guess the chip overheated and got burned, even though I have a good CPU fan and my room was cold 'cause the A/C was ON all the time.

That wheas BSOD error likely means your CPU is getting too much voltage. Did you overclock at some point or have turbo voltage set too high?

I'm lucky enough to have a clone of my previous version of OS X (Yosemite) and it also has 2015.1 CC LR. So I can wait. But it has been nothing short of junk ware. Crashes are seemingly random and often.

I'm not a lightroom user but there is an easy fox fir the import feature debacle ...

"Hey? You are about to import some pictures? Do you want to use the Basic Import features of the Advanced?"

X Don't ask me again.

You make both groups happy.

Adobe, if you add this, my consulting fee is 10,000$ :P

LR was crashing non-stop until I unchecked the "Show 'Add Photos' Screen" BUT, now PS is crashing! Here is the error i'm getting for this.... UGH!

Exception Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000000000000000

I upgraded as well. The crashing was bizare to say the least. In my case on Win10pro LR would just chuck a long after a few edits. Checking the resource manager didn't reveal anything was being taxed. Eventually I had to kill the LR task. Once that was terminated the entire OS was just as bad. Had to reboot. And before anyone says it's "Windows" the last two releases have worked without issue and crash.

BTW they just released an "update" for LR this morning. We'll see how the performance is there throughout the day. But the cheesy import function is till there folks and it is still slow to even pull up the screen.

At least turning off the "show add photos" in the preference screen brings it back to something more usable.

Upon updating through Adobe Creative Cloud, my Lightroom became unusable. It would start up, show me the splash screen, show me my photos, but the splash screen would stay up and Lightroom would stick in "Not Responding" mode. I had to go into Task Manager to kill it. I am using a 64-bit Lenovo computer with Windows 10. I had to uninstall and re-install Lightroom, sign out of Adobe Creative Cloud, and sign back in. Everything works now. As far as the removal of features, I didn't use the features indicated and I can totally see why they fixed the import. I teach Lightroom and the import feature is the hardest part for non-professionals to understand.

Worst update ever. had to roll back to 6.1.1

I updated to El Capitan ... using stand alone verision of light room ... no issues of any kind so far.
Thank you folks for indirectly saving me the grief of what is to be under the CC rental atmosphere... Im staying as far away from CC as I can for as long as I can so far LR has done 100% of what I have needed and I know that there are still feautres and flows that need to be explored.
Ditto for CS6

Any user who can not decipher the Import dialogue in Lightroom is likely as dumb as a box a rocks and may have been pithed when their high school science class was dissecting frogs. These are the same people that need a "not for use indoors" sticker on their lawnmowers.

The changes to the Import window are mind-numbingly bad. With Aperture gone, and the dumbing down of Lightroom in full swing, can anyone suggest alternative software?

I just hope that Adobe doesn't take Lightroom the direction Final Cut went and virtually kill it's functionality for the sake of a sleek UX with less options and a greater appeal to consumers.

I think the key is that they tested "customers interested in Lightroom", NOT current users. UX professionals know that there is an important difference between ease of learning and ease of use, and that some products require study and effort to master because they address inherently complex problems.

The logic that Adobe used would also apply if Nikon handed a DSLR to a person who had only ever used a phone camera. That person would initially be overwhelmed by all the features and settings. Nixon would therefore - in Adobe's bizarre world - remove all but one button from every camera. Problem solved!

They have released a bug fix which I've installed...will check with an import/export job a bit later...

all good here. I updated just before editing a wedding.

Guess I'll be waiting on updating from 2015.1

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