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513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Sat, Jun 4, 2011 12:13 AM

27

Lightroom: Delete Images on Card after Import

I would love to get an option to let LR automatically delete images from the card after they have been successfully imported. Images on the card that have not been imported, are let alone, of course.

It would serve two purposes for me:
1. It would save me deleting the images manually.
2. It would dramatically improve the experience of importing images from one card into different catalogs.

An incremental import of subsets of images on one card into a single catalog (but e.g., different folders) is well supported by the "New Photos" filter in the import dialog. However, when I switch catalogs while downloading images from a card -- because some subset of images on the card needs to go into a different catalog -- the "New Photos" filter no longer works. As a result, I have to remember and wade through a lot of images I already imported into a different catalog.

I realise that deleting images from the card is a sensitive issue. It must not happen prior to having verified that the image indeed has been copied (or converted) to a new location. Picasa supports this double checking.

As a safety net, Lightroom could offer a "restore deleted images" feature that would resurrect deleted files from cards. Users will find such a feature tremendously useful for other occasions as well.

I'd be happy with the following compromises as well:

* The option to delete images after import is available only if one activates a second backup location.

* Images are not deleted but the tracking of which images have already been imported is extended to work across catalogs. A record of what images still need to be imported could be associated with a currently inserted card.

Responses

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

Hi TK,

It never ceases to amaze me the different needs people have around importing. I created a related thread to support import actions, so people can take advantage of Lightroom's import infrastructure, but have hooks for special needs/desires. Deleting imported images could easily be one of those import actions.

In the mean time, you may want to consider an import plugin which does what you want. Please send me a private message if you want details.

Champion

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5.8K Messages

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102.5K Points

9 years ago

I could see a use for this, but with one huge proviso - I'd want byte-for-byte verification to go with it. Just confirming that a file had copied wouldn't confirm that corruption hadn't been introduced in the transfer.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Fair point, Victoria.

Note however, that most users wouldn't do this either, before they delete the images on the card manually.

Champion

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5.8K Messages

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102.5K Points

True, but can you imagine how many people would be quick to shout "Adobe deleted my images and they were corrupted"

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Sure, I fully see the issue. However, people have to accept responsibility. If they choose "Convert to DNG and delete the original RAW file" as an option during import, they could also shout "Adobe deleted my RAW originals and my DNGs are corrupted". Same issue, AFAIC.

Maybe, the issue becomes less of a problem, if the deletion doesn't happen automatically, but has to be triggered by the user through an "Delete all images on card from Previous Import".

I don't think this kind of hand holding should be necessary but I'd prefer this manual trigger over having to delete images manually.

43 Messages

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834 Points

Deleting files from SD card after import works quite fine with Bride and its "Photo Dowloader". BUT: The Photo Downloader is - sorry - a piece of crap, no filter options for doing an efficient import selection - e.g. sort and stack by capture date and time - nothing. Scrolling behaviour is MOST terrible: this probably Windows specific fine, but it is HORRIBLE on Mac. Adobe still didn't learn, how to use the 1000x more performant macOS APIs. But it still can get worse: auto generation of folders doing import by Photo Downloader, supports only a format YYYYMMDD (can not be user changed), where Lightroom uses YYYY-MM-DD, time to check compliance at Adobe: left hand in software department does not know what the right one does :( Such ugly things could easily be avoided. Yahoo, it still can get worse (ok this is Photoshop related, but I don't care): For sport photos editing super important Radial and Zoom filter has still no  Preview and - related to how it looks like - is still a code from 1989 or so... If you check Ps forums in internet, this is complained for at least 10 years. Back to Lr: Drag and drop from files directly into a Lightroom library folder does not work. Lr just imports into folder selected under "To:" in the importer tool. If you forget to select the folder you want to import manually, you'll get a messy import to a random folder. That's really HORRIBLE Look and Feel. But that's Adobe, to big to listen to customers. :( Same as Sony: this are the both companies with the worst customer awareness ever, directly followed by Apple. Please have a nice day... And: Honi soit qui mal y pense: please apologize some of the ugly words used, was written at an emotional moment. But this does not change mentioned content. ;) 

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

9 years ago

I'm completely against removing this important safeguard. No doubt we'll get a few jumping up and down demanding Adobe give them the silver cutlery to get on and play harakari, and I imagine some will find better reasons than fragmenting control of their workflow across multiple catalogues. The verification would have to pass nuclear industry standards, for what they are worth, before I'd even think it was a half-baked idea.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Ya gotta delete 'em at some point. After they've been imported and the backup validated seems like a pretty good time to delete them, to me. One man's important safeguard is another man's impediment...

Champion

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5.8K Messages

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102.5K Points

He's only asking for an option John - nothing to force you to use it.

People have been asking for a long time for this one, and usually I'd agree that automatically deleting off the card is a bad idea, but people are working round it in far more risky ways.

IF there were reasonable verification safeguards in place, and it came with a suitable "I understand the risks" warning when you turned on the checkbox, then it's probably a safer workflow than the workarounds that people are currently using.

I do agree that multiple catalogs are often a bad idea though, and probably not a great reason for implementing this feature.

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

@Victoria Nowt to do with whether I would have to use it, I simply don't consider it should be available as an option. Verification safeguards would have to be foolproof, not merely reasonable. Too bad if a few people are taking silly workarounds - LR devt time shouldn't go into helping people jump in front of trains.

Let Rob help 'em?

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Ya know John, it really bugs me when you argue against things that other people want, that don't affect you, for their own good. Nobody wants you as their guardian, and people don't like having their needs (or their solutions) called "silly". Why don't you mind your own business?

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Noise, noise, noise...

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

TK, I went ahead and voted for this FR/Idea for your sake and those of others with similar needs/desires, even though I don't care about it one way or the other for my own sake...

I'm willing to let you cross the train track as long as there's no train coming, and your shoes are tied, and you promise to be very careful...

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

9 years ago

John, Jim, can you please tell me how such an option increases the risk for a user to lose images?

What is the normal procedure after images have been imported into Lightroom?

Are you telling me that you are assuming that all users currently run a byte for byte comparison before they manually delete the images from the card?

I argue that currently the chances of losing images is *higher* because you might manually delete some images on the card which haven't been imported yet. An automated deletion process should *reduce* the risk, not increase it.

What is the safe procedure that would be undermined if that option became available?
The only advantage for the current situation is that Adobe / you could say "Lightroom didn't delete your images, you did". But I don't see the increased safety.

If you are saying users are too dumb/tired to be allowed to tick that option, you should really deny users to remove / delete images in Lightroom by any means. Deleting an image from within Lightroom can lead to its permanent loss. Are you for removing this feature as well?

946 Messages

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13.8K Points

"What is the normal procedure after images have been imported into Lightroom? "

Generally, I wait for previews to be rendered, and then I look at the thumbs. If the thumbs could be adequately rendered from the original data, then it's highly likely that the original data is okay.

I'd be okay with adding this feature under two conditions:

1) Some sort of strong hash technique is used to check the data automatically.
2) The method of deleting the data off the cards is to open the imported images in grid mode (possibly using the previously-imported temporary collection), waiting until a render of some sort has been done from the original data, and then opening up something similar to the delete confirmation box while the images are still on the screen - a box with appropriate warnings including the suggestion to have a look at the displayed thumbs. The box must not restrict the user's ability to scroll through the grid.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Thanks, Lee Jay. I'd be fine with what you propose.

130 Messages

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2.1K Points

9 years ago

Do you seriously not see the potential for a user to import from card, have the card cleaned, then have a problem on the computer which loses those imports? Or does something stupid to cause the loss of the imports? Plenty of examples over at lightroomforums.net of users having these kinds of issues, and their only recovery is to go back to the card and re-import. Oops!

As for the 'normal procedure after images have been imported into Lightroom', I would respectfully suggest there's no such thing. Plenty of different workflows in use: some good, some not so good, and some plain awful. Personally I do NOT reformat my cards until after I have imported (taking a second copy backup on import to an external drive), then got the imports and updated catalog into my normal backup process, which includes getting a copy off-site. Plenty of different approaches, for sure, but deleting the images from the card during import just seems like asking for trouble.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Jim, what is that problem that causes users to lose the import? It would have to delete files on a harddisk. If something like this happens all bets are off. no? Such a problem could affect files on a card as well.

Do you have a concrete link to a lightroomforums.net thread were images on the card where the only way of recovering lost images?

When users do something stupid do cause the loss of their imports, they'll be able to do that later as well, when they don't have the card as a backup anymore.

We might agree that my proposal would improve some of the plain awful workflows that exist.

We might agree that anyone who currently has a better workflow is smart enough not to touch the option and/or understand the warning dialog.

Note also, that you can let Lightroom not only import images but have it create a backup before it deletes the images from the card. If anything happened to the imported images, one would have the backup as a fallback option. No need for the images to be still on the card.

Champion

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5.8K Messages

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102.5K Points

> When users do something stupid do cause the loss of their imports, they'll be able to do that later as well, when they don't have the card as a backup anymore.

It's not necessarily the users that are the issue. One of the most frequent causes of file corruption is a faulty card reader or cable. If the photos are imported, and then you realise there's corruption, often the photos are still on the card and can be pulled off safely using another card reader.

There are certainly arguments both ways, and it's up to Adobe to make the final decision having heard the pleas from both sides.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

This is the first counter-argument I've heard that seems compelling to me.

If a faulty reader could result in a bad read of good data, then the backup validation would succeed and good files would be destructively deleted.

For this to be a problem however, the faulty reader would have to read in the same faulty data twice in a row, and in such a fashion that the faulty data still passes Lightroom's own data integrity scrutiny that occurs upon import.

I can see that in the manual case, one might have a chance to look at the thumbs before deleting. But doesn't Lightroom detect these bad files shortly after importing - when generating the previews?

Perhaps a solution that would be more foolproof would be to wait until the previews have been created to delete the files, instead of doing it immediately after import & backup validation.

And of course as was already mentioned, if Lightroom is able to generate a successful preview, and backup validation succeeds, but the user would be able to detect something wrong that the software couldn't and so files were deleted by software that wouldn't have been by user, there is still card recovery software...

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Victoria, I realise that user mistakes are not the only source for import problems; I was just replying to one of the points Jim made.

I'd be fine with a manual triggering of the deletion of images on the card after one had a look at the previews (the rendered ones, not the previews contained in files).

In principle, however, the problem isn't as big as it appears. After the images on the card have been deleted, they are not gone. It is very easy to bring them back again, provided the card is not written on. A "recover card" feature integrated into LR would be most convenient, but there are also free software solutions available that could be used to restore a card, should it become necessary. We are really talking about exceptional situations, aren't we?

130 Messages

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2.1K Points

9 years ago

Between import and first backup cycle the newly imported files are vulnerable: software corruptions, catastrophic hardware failures, or plain and simple user error. Take your pick, we've seen them all. Because of that vulnerability I maintain that it makes no sense at all to give an unsuspecting user the ability to take away his/her ultimate fall-back. That is my opinion, you can disagree all you want but it isn't going to change that.

Do I have concrete links to a lightroomforums.net thread....not easily to hand, but there are threads over there that I have participated in where the card was the only recourse...you are more than welcome to come over and trawl through my posts looking for them. Or you could just take my word.

Thank you for your final 'note', though I did actually state in my earlier post that I use that facility every time I import. Yes it offers some protection, but still not sufficient in my view to justify wiping the card during import.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Jim, thanks for your input.

I disagree that the user you are talking about would be "unsuspecting". The user would have had to confirm a warning dialogue (either when choosing the option once, or -- if it has to be -- before they remove the images).

The ultimate fall-back would not really be taken away as it is very easy to recover deleted images from a card, provided the card has not been written to in the meantime.

I take your word regarding users having had to resort to the card again. Yet, we are talking about quite rare situations here, right? If my card reader played up once, I'd replace it immediately.

BTW, I was aware that you personally use the second backup option. My use of "you" was mean in a general sense, as in "one".

Once Lightroom has checked previews can be generated from the files, has compared them to images on the card (hash code or byte-for-byte comparison), made a backup, and imported them, I'd be fine with the immediate deletion of the images on the card (knowing that I could get back to them anyhow). If someone still thinks this would be a too haphazard approach, they need not tick the option in the preferences.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

If Lightroom can generate a successful preview of the imported images and backup validates, they should be safe to delete, and in the rare case that the user would have been able to discover a problem before deleting that the software couldn't before deleting, there's always card recovery software.

So it really should boil down to personal preference, in my opinion.

Delete manually if it makes you feel safer, or otherwise works out better for you, or have software delete if it is a pre-requisite to optimizing your workflow, and you are willing to take what are really very small chances.

Summary:
=======
It may actually be safer to let the software decide when to delete, rather than the user. But both options should be supported, in my opinion.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

TK said: "As a safety net, Lightroom could offer a "restore deleted images" feature that would resurrect deleted files from cards. Users will find such a feature tremendously useful for other occasions as well. "

Might even be worthy of a separate FR/Idea, although since I already have a 3rd party utility for it, I shan't bring it up. I'll just say they do work extremely well. They can simply recover recently deleted photos, or even recover files from many shoots ago, *after* dozens of reformats - amazing really...

1 Message

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172 Points

9 years ago

I'm not sure I can add much to this lengthy debate here and elsewhere, but from my perspective:-

  • I have never (that I am aware of) lost an image from a faulty import or disk crash immediately after import.

  • I have, however, accidentally deleted images I thought were imported but weren't.

  • whatever the pros and cons of doing it one way or another, I cannot understand why Adobe insists on treating users of a piece of professional software like they need to be hand held like this. Allow the option (with warnings if really necessary) and let people do their thing and take the consequences.



For people who do want to delete after import, there is a reasonably straightforward way to do this (at least on LR3.4/MacOS).

  1. set up and save an import preset the way you want it, but importing from e.g. files on your main disk so you can select 'move'

  2. when you want to import from a memory card, select the DCIM folder in the card under 'files', not in 'devices'.

  3. the import preset will probably show (edited) after it - reselect the original preset

  4. none of the copy to dng/copy/move/add buttons show as selected, and you still can't click on 'move', but underneath it should say 'move photos to new location... etc'

  5. click on 'import'



There may be other permutations of this principle which will work, but that's what worked for me.

Hopefully Adobe won't flag this as a bug and 'fix' it.

242 Messages

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9.1K Points

9 years ago

I've always heard the mantra that rather than deleting the card on the computer, you should format it in the camera instead for various safety-related reasons. That's what I do, after I've verified that the images have been copied to two locations on hard drives.

That said, most other import programs have the function you're asking for. I think Nikon Transfer has it. I don't think the omission from Lightroom is a safeguard; it is simply that Adobe probably has a different workflow in mind than the one you propose (and this time they agree with me; maybe it's just a bug that will be "fixed" soon).

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Yeah, I think people are a little "over eager" to cite "safeguard" sometimes, but I really don't know, in this case.

I sometimes delete photos from card via computer and sometimes re-format in camera, depending on stuff - never had a problem with the former. But TK's workflow is what's at stake for him here. He may still re-format afterward in camera sometimes, or all the time, I really don't know, but optimizing ones workflow, even if unconventional, in my opinion, is a good reason to do stuff.

If he were the only one on the planet that wanted this, or it took a lot of work to implement, then I'd agree with John Beardsworth: "tough luck", but neither of those things is true.

Final thought: Sometimes vendors create mantras to avoid having to explain the real deal, realizing that smart people know when *not* to follow the pied piper...

Does the fact that many other software's have this option indicate that Adobe is more concerned with our safety than the others? - my guess: they were just too busy doing other things...

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

The mantra to always use the camera's format function doesn't make much sense. The card uses a standard file format (typically one of the FAT versions). PC/Mac operating systems can deal with these formats and won't corrupt the card when deleting files.

I have used the format function of my camera perhaps once or twice in the beginning. From then on, I always just deleted the files within the top folder and left the top folder untouched. Number of problems encountered with this approach: Zero.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Card bits can only be written so many times, so the in-camera formatting supposedly includes an algorithm for distributing writes, to avoid writing the front part of the card over and over again and the rear part approximately never, improving longevity.

(Seems I've heard video performance cited too, but I'm not sure about that and I don't understand it)

But based on my recent experience of being able to re-claim photos I'd taken a long time ago after multiple in-camera reformats, the rationale is suspect, in my mind. Sometimes old news is wrong news...

In any case, if there still is, even sometimes, a good reason to always reformat in-camera, I wish Adobe would just explain, maybe as part of the "Are You Sure" prompt that comes up when the user enables the delete after import option.

I mean, defragging wears out your hard drive, but a lot of people do it. Makes 'em a little faster and/or allows you to run 'em fuller, but you have to replace sooner - user's prerogative.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

Which card bits get written to is controlled by the card controller (not the camera). It uses a wear balancing algorithm. I'd be very surprised if the camera could actually get down to this level. I'm pretty sure the camera just does what an operating system does.

On the contrary, if one is unlucky the camera does a full-format, i.e., cleans bits that the operating system leaves alone with its "quick format" (or simple deletion of files). In this case the camera would wear out the card sooner than the operating system. Your camera does not seem to perform a full format and I don't know if any camera does, but what it does to the card can only be equivalent or worse what a computer does, I'm pretty sure.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

So then why do you suppose so many experts and camera manuals recommend to reformat in camera vs. delete? - The common "understanding" is that its for technical reasons, not just convenience.

513 Messages

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11.1K Points

9 years ago

Mark, you write "...he wants to import a subset of the images into one catalog, and a different subset into another. Many photographers solve this by using a different card for each shoot,...".

It is not always possible to solve this problem by using different cards. Say you have a day out with the family and take photos of family members and also macro shots of flowers for your photography group in an interleaved fashion. It is not practical to change the card every time you see a different photo opportunity.

242 Messages

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9.1K Points

9 years ago

Try importing the card in a single step into a master catalogue and then farm the pictures out to different catalogues. Would that be more work? It seems like it would be exactly the same amount of work but safer.

2 Messages

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114 Points

9 years ago

I've read many of these discussions on about 9 different threads over the years and understand other's points, but still am looking for a true MOVE (with delete) option in Lightroom.

Personally I prefer the convenience (and trust automated proceedures) in having LightRoom copy images to two separate drives (with verification) and then mark the source images as deleted (i.e., possible to restore with some hassle) over a manual human process. Provide warnings, sure, but don't prejudge my workflow!

Manually deleting images and formatting cards is laborious and error prone for me. (I could easily miss partial success, such as a full hard drive, whereas software wouldn't mistake this.)

Rob Cole, you mentioned a way to create this functionality at the start fo this thread. I'd love to hear more details.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

John - I sent you an email.

Be aware: 'RC Importer' does *not* validate imported file nor backup byte-for-byte nor even size-wise before deleting. It *does* check that the photo was successfully copied and imported by Lightroom *and* successfully copied to backup, before deleting. But a successful copy is determined soley by copy status as reported - does not double-check data.

But, so far in my plugin development career and as plugin user - number of times copy status was good but copy wasn't: zero. - not sayin' it isn't possible, just sayin' it hasn't happened yet...

For comparison purposes only: number of human errors inadvertently deleting files that shouldn't have been: more than zero ;-}

Rob

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

Just a reminder: If ImportActions are implemented, a simple action could be implemented to delete files post import (after thorough validation). Code for deletion would not even exist if user did not explicitly install/wire-up the action. No option, no code, no possibility to oppsidentally authorize deletion, except for people who want it. And, Adobe would not have to do anything more, nor take any responsibility...