Is Your Adobe Lightroom Slow? Here’s The Reason! Easy Tips for Speeding Up Loading & Processing in Lightroom 3, 2.6 and Other Versions
Adobe’s Lightroom software is great for processing many photos quickly. However, there are a few reasons why Lightroom is slow for most users, even if they feel familiar with it. These problems are easily solved with just a few changes in the Lightroom preferences / settings / configuration.
Trying to render previews on the fly is the #1 reason Adobe Lightroom bogs down and feels frustratingly slow for almost all users, but the best part is it is easily fixed! Even with fast computers and plenty of RAM, high megapixel RAW files take quite a while to be processed so they can be displayed in full quality on screen. This is where previews come in–you can force Lightroom to render all the previews for any photos all at once so when you are working through multiple photos, the previews will already be processed and ready to display.
How to render previews for photos already in your collection:
- Select all photos you would like to preview
(Ctrl-A selects all photos in the current folder, OR click on the first photo, then Shift-Left Click on the last photo and all photos in the range will be selected)
- Go to the Library drop down menu at the top of the screen
- Select Previews, then “Render Standard Previews” or “Render 1:1 Previews”
- All selected photos will then have their previews rendered. This will take a medium to long while so go do something else in the meantime.
How to render previews when you import files:
- Lightroom 3: Click the import button, then on the right side of the screen you will see “File Handling” – this contains the option to have previews rendered automatically whenever you import.
- Lightroom 2: In the Import pop up dialog box, locate the Initial Previews setting and choose Standard or 1:1.
Should you choose 1:1 or Standard Preview rendering?
- 1:1 – select this when you will be quickly using the develop view for manually processing many photos at once. However, 1:1 previews take a VERY long time to initially render. Expect to be waiting for 30 minutes for a couple hundred photos to render (depending on megapixels, computer speed, etc).
- Standard – this should be your default choice. Once standard previews are rendered you will be able to quickly go through your photos in the Library view, which is great for culling out bad photos or if you only plan to edit /process a few. Initial render time is something like 1/10th of the time 1:1 previews would take.
I am not sure why Adobe has not yet worked in either different default settings or added in some prominent help text that explains this at least the first time you import photos. The only official information about this is in Adobe’s Lightroom performance problems TechNote. This is an extremely common problem and this is the reason Lightroom gets a bad name for being slow.
Change Standard Preview Resolution
Standard previews will generally be your ideal choice. To maximize the perfomance to quality of using them, you should select the proper resolution for your screen. Go to the Edit Menu > Catalog Settings > File Handling tab. Here you can change the Standard Preview resolution. Generally, a 19″ monitor should use 1024 pixels, a 22″ monitor 1440 pixels, 24″ monitor 1680 pixels, and any larger monitors should use the maximum 2048 pixels. (These are general rules, check into your specific monitor’s resolution, then subtract about 20% from the width resolution to find how big standard previews will be likely to be displayed.)
If performance is still an issue, try using the lowest 1024 setting regardless of your monitor size. This is still a good quality for using the Library grid view.
Disable Nvidia’s Nview Desktop Manager
Also mentioned on Adobe’s Lightroom performance problems TechNote. This can cause some driver/software issues and bog things down.
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