Adobe Looks to Improve Lightroom's Abysmal Performance With Version 2015.12

Adobe Looks to Improve Lightroom's Abysmal Performance With Version 2015.12

Recently, Adobe sent out a survey to users inquiring about their most common performance gripes in relation to Lightroom's notoriously sluggish behavior, even on high spec computers. Today, Adobe has released a new update to Lightroom that is meant to address some of these performance concerns. We quickly installed it to see if any of Adobe's claims are true.

What Sort of Performance Was Targeted?

Lightroom has a huge variety of performance related issues that many users are always quick to point out. If you are hoping for all of them to be fixed with one magical update a week after Adobe finally even admitted that there were issues through its survey, you are in for a disappointment. This particular update targets improvements related to GPU use when working with images. This means that, no, we won't be seeing any improved speed when switching modules, importing images, exporting images, or when rendering previews. Personally, I pray Adobe is hard at work on additional fixes to address these things. Most of all I'd love to see a vast increase in preview rendering as I am exhausted by constantly seeing the "loading" message when trying to cull and make selections (even if I pre-render my previews).

But, enough about what Adobe didn't fix and let's focus on what we did get. The GPU related fixes are designed to target panning, zooming, and using local adjustment brushes, which I put through the paces on my high spec iMac to see how each performed in comparison to the older version of Lightroom.

Panning/Zooming

I'm happy to report that after significant testing with a variety of images and file types that I am experiencing a noticeable improvement in performance when panning and zooming. Unfortunately, the most severe bottleneck does remain, the slow load time for rendering the previews, as I am still finding myself waiting on a blurry "loading" screen when I first zoom in. Once the loading completes, the zoom and panning performance is considerably faster than I have ever experienced before in Lightroom. Testing with a 36.6-megapixel raw image file I'm able to zoom and pan without any lag or choppiness which was never the case a week ago.

Adjustment Brushes

While I do feel the adjustment brush has experienced a notable increase in speed, I personally still find it somewhat sluggish when compared to using brushes in Photoshop. When "scribbling" with the adjustment brush the adjustment being drawn to the screen feels like it is a hint delayed, which is certainly much better than before but also not good enough yet. The spot removal brush seems to be a big winner from this update as I was able to add 30 or 40 spot adjustments without seeing a significant loss in performance. In the previous version of Lightroom, I had considered this tool useless for correcting more than a couple blemishes as each additional spot seemed to drag performance down considerably. Like the adjustment brush though, the spot removal brush still leaves considerable room for additional improvement.

A "swarm" of Spot Removals and my computer hasn't started to smoke yet.

What Else is in This Update?

In addition to the claimed performance fixes, Adobe also addressed several known Lightroom bugs that only affected a small percent of the user base. You can find the full list of bugs fixed over on the Adobe website. The update also includes a camera raw update adding support for the Canon 6D Mark II, Canon Rebel SL2, Nikon D7500, and Leica TL2. The update also includes a variety of updated lens profiles along with several new color matching profiles for a variety of cameras.

Final Thoughts

Does this update solve the Lightroom performance woes? Unfortunately not. Does the update improve the situation? Absolutely. For years Adobe has largely ignored the most common performance grips in regard to Lightroom which has driven many of us to alternate image management tools. It is refreshing to see Adobe finally accepting that the performance issues are real and is making a real effort to fix them. Perhaps, for many, this update is "too little, too late," but it is certainly a step in the right direction with the hope that it is the first of many performance fixes that we will see in the coming months. If you have had a chance to try the new version of Lightroom let me know what your experience was like in the comments below.

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29 Comments

Could Adobe have engineered speed changes in just a week? I do agree with you though on all points. Speed is the issue.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I doubt these specific changes were in reaction to the survey. Seems likely they were already in the pipeline well before the survey came out and that additional performance boosts are in R&D now in response to survey data.

Ariel Martini's picture

"Today, Adobe has released a new update to Lightroom that is meant to address some of these performance concerns" - shouldn't you rewrite this, then?

Scot Hampton's picture

I don't think the update was meant to address any of the performance issues...from the Lightroom Blog: " Lightroom CC 2015.12 / 6.12 does not include performance improvements based on your survey responses. We appreciate your candid feedback on Lightroom performance, and are working on several projects to address your concerns."

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2017/07/lightroom-cc-2015-12-now...

Ryan Cooper's picture

It wasn't designed to address issues reported in the survey. (As I'd expect, the release candidate for this likely was ready before the survey even went out). These performance updates were likely the first pass before they considered surveying.

Scot Hampton's picture

I feel like the headline is misleading, because they weren't looking to make any performance improvements with 2015.12, at least according to the blog; it says only bug fixes and camera support were added. I don't see any reference in the update to improving performance on panning/zooming, or adjustment brushes. Is there somewhere else where they said they were improving performance of those particular tools?

I'll believe it when I see it

Few things anger me to the point of punching my screen. Adobe Lightroom performance is one of them. So glad to see them finally start down the path. Admitting that there's a problem is the first step.

They've been trying to fix performance issues for years. In reality it only got slower.

My fear is that they try to patch it up here and there and make a dog's breakfast.

I think what is needed is a re-write from the ground up.

In the meantime I stopped my CC subscription.

.... and the headline is clickbait.

Please don't turn Fstoppers into PetaPixel.

Dallas Dahms's picture

Way too late for that.

It's Petapixel (mostly). Slightly shorter, slightly delayed version.

And yet still no comment from them on why there's no Lightroom 2017 yet. There hasn't been any major updates or improvements to Lightroom in a long time. It's like the forgotten step child of the Creative Cloud, and they'll fall behind fast as Capture One continues to innovate while catching up.

Jonathan Barge's picture

Would it kill Adobe to actually include touch bar support? Surely they would have known about Apple's touch bar for at least a year now.

They implemented into Photoshop pretty quick and it is handy, but pointless when doing major work at a desk, however touch bar support in Lightroom just makes so much sense, imagine scrolling through images using the touch bar when on-set with clients. It'd be a huge help, it's like the touch bar was made for software like Lightroom but Adobe being Adobe are taking their sweet ass time taking advantage of it.

Stop updating Lightroom Mobile – because do many people even use it? and focus on the core software! I'm stick of seeing constant updates to the mobile version while the desktop software lags behind.

Google AppStore shows millions of downloads.

Jonathan Barge's picture

doesn't necessarily mean millions of users. I downloaded it too to experiment and play around with but it's just frustrating doing any kind of editing on a small screen. Deleted it about a week later.

Try to drink less coffee/tea/water and buy PhotoMechanics. You won't be afraid to cull your photos again.

Tom Lew's picture

Yeah for real... I've probably saved days/weeks/months of my life from not culling in anything other than photomechanic

I am assuming that these updates are only available to the subscription users? I bought a hard copy as I do not use LR regularly, more in waves. Am I left out to dry? If so, I will be done with LR and look elsewhere.

so underwhelmed by this update news. I need to face the fact that I have look at the alternatives to LR because it has become unusable. I've heard talk about Capture One. For me, working in front of a computer is not the most fun part of photography. With the current state of LR, it is becoming a nightmare :(

David Moore's picture

I only see real issues if I do spot healing or something like that in Lightroom. That kinda thing KILLS it, the rest of the time it is "ok" for me. Yeah it isn't photomechanic fast for culling but I'M not even that fast haha. I think I'm still the slow one in the whole process.

Leigh Miller's picture

Improvements?

Baloney.

Case and Point: Files from my Fuji X-T2 and GFX 50S render at nearly the exact speed. Going from module to module lags terribly. Import and Export is still glacially slow.

I'm using a very robust system which I refuse to upgrade any further because it makes little to no difference.

Adobe has specifically said that this update DOES NOT pertain to the recent performance survey, and none of the performance fixes or improvements are included in this update. Im confused as to why this article mentioned it does.?

straight from adobe's announcement: (https://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2017/07/lightroom-cc-2015-12-no...)
Will performance enhancements that I requested via the survey here be in this release?

Lightroom CC 2015.12 / 6.12 does not include performance improvements based on your survey responses. We appreciate your candid feedback on Lightroom performance, and are working on several projects to address your concerns.

Because Ryan tells no truths😒

Simon Patterson's picture

I never saw a reason to use LR. All I ever read about it is how crap it is.

LR 2015-12 does NOT include speed improvements:

Will performance enhancements that I requested via the survey here be in this release?

"Lightroom CC 2015.12 / 6.12 does not include performance improvements based on your survey responses. We appreciate your candid feedback on Lightroom performance, and are working on several projects to address your concerns."

What do you consider as a "high spec" iMac....??

Tim Tindle's picture

Adobe will likely never REALLY fix the performance issues. They have said before they are working on it! Bla Bla Bla.. These issues have been around for years and customers have flooded them with complaints and their response has always been to tie their users up tweaking Lightroom settings so performance improves from horrible to a little less horrible. Some actually go out and spend thousands on upgrading to a very high end workstations with 6,8,10+ processor cores, 64GB memory, NVME SSDs... to see the needle move very little.

I used to think maybe next release.... I stayed because of the tie to the overall Adobe Eco-system and because it is VERY painful to change platforms.

BUT NO MORE! Adobe will never fix Lightroom (Don't keep falling for it) and the negative effect these issues have on professional photographers business will not get better with age. We final have alternative products like Capture One Pro V10 which took me about a day to make the transition from an editing point of view. There are things I miss but mainly because I was use to Lightroom. Change is hard. But the REAL-TIME performance even on a modest PC is worth it. Like a big weight off your shoulders.

I will likely need to keep a copy of Lightroom 6 rather than reprocess a careers worth of photos. But all future work will be done without Adobe.

I am productive again!

Tim Tindle's picture

Adobe will likely never REALLY fix the performance issues. They have said before they are working on it! Bla Bla Bla.. These issues have been around for years and customers have flooded them with complaints and their response has always been to tie their users up tweaking Lightroom settings so performance improves from horrible to a little less horrible. Some actually go out and spend thousands on upgrading to a very high end workstations with 6,8,10+ processor cores, 64GB memory, NVME SSDs... to see the needle move very little.

I used to think maybe next release.... I stayed because of the tie to the overall Adobe Eco-system and because it is VERY painful to change platforms.

BUT NO MORE! Adobe will never fix Lightroom (Don't keep falling for it) and the negative effect these issues have on professional photographers business will not get better with age. We final have alternative products like Capture One Pro V10 which took me about a day to make the transition from an editing point of view. There are things I miss but mainly because I was use to Lightroom. Change is hard. But the REAL-TIME performance even on a modest PC is worth it. Like a big weight off your shoulders.

I will likely need to keep a copy of Lightroom 6 rather than reprocess a careers worth of photos. But all future work will be done without Adobe.

I am productive again!