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Lightroom’s Import is 600% Slower Than Competition



Adobe has already apologized for fumbling its latest Lightroom update, which was riddled with bugs and missing features. Now there’s a new story that’s putting a stain on Adobe’s image: a new test has found that the latest Lightroom is about 600% slower than its competitors.

Jim Harmer of Improve Photography writes that Lightroom now has “dramatically poorer performance” when compared to alternatives out there such as Capture One, Photo Mechanic, and Apple’s new Photos app.

“My question is if I should be looking at alternatives to Lightroom to improve the culling process, which has progressively gotten slower with each version of Lightroom over the last 18 months,” Harmer writes.

To test Lightroom’s performance, Harmer took 97 RAW photos shot with a Fuji X-T1 and imported the photos (on his hard drive) into each program. Here’s a chart showing how long each program took (the longer the bar, the slower the performance):


Apple Photos was by far the fastest: the full import took just 9 seconds. Photo Mechanic wasn’t far behind, clocking in at 12 seconds. Capture One was slower, taking 27 seconds to bring in the photos and 114 seconds to build full previews. Finally, Lightroom took 190 seconds just to bring in the photos, and a whopping 685 seconds to build full previews.

Here’s a 5-minute video in which Harmer talks about the test and its results:

“The speed of Lightroom has just come down to a crashing halt just slowly, progressively, over the two years,” Harmer says. “I’m taking a really hard look at alternatives to Lightroom now.”

So, if you’ve found the time it takes to manage your photos in Lightroom unbearable, even with a high-performance machine, it’s not just you. It looks like Lightroom is starting to lag behind its competitors in photo management performance.