Lightroom sometimes changes orientation inadvertently

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  • Updated 6 years ago
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I've had this happen a few times since Lr3.4RC (or at least I don't recall it happening with previous versions) - I thought it was me, but this time all I did was click a thumbnail and it switched from portrait to landscape orientation.
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Rob Cole

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Posted 7 years ago

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Dan Tull, Employee

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This is a bug (since 1.0, actually, though for many folks it's rare) and this reminds me to pull it out of deferral. It requires a data model change, so it keeps getting forgotten until too late in the cycle. Basically, in order to deal with external edits correctly, LR re-reads certain metadata (including orientation) if it detects a modification date change. So if the mod time changes by more than a certain amount and the orientation hasn't been saved back into metadata, it'll re-read and revert.

There are a number of ways the mod time can get accidentally tweaked that can trigger this behavior.
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TK

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Rob, if it affects all the images on my external drive, even if it occurs only once every two years, it would be a major problem. So "infrequent" doesn't really count, AFAIC.
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TK

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To further clarify: I didn't have the option of rejecting the loss of the orientation information. LR didn't just flag a conflict and offer me the choice what to do (read the metadata from the file or overwrite it with the catalogue information), it simply went ahead and re-oriented all my portrait orientations into landscape orientation. My camera doesn't record the orientation so all images are "landscape" per default and I guess that's what LR used. I don't know what would have happened if the camera would have recorded the portrait orientation.
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Photographe

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My backup camera doesn't record the orientation information, and I believe this has happened to me as well, but not at the same scale as you.
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Rob Cole

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TK - no argument. For me so far, just isolated images here or there (and only when looking at them, or maybe even only after explicitly selecting them), but I'm all for having it fixed.
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Michael Gehrisch

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I have "similar" problem; Lightroom (every version I can recall) frequently changes the orientation on portait orientation images to landscape and then returns them to portrait. I can see that LR is applying some kind of settings since I see the colors on each thumbnail change as it does so. This greatly slows down performance, since LR then applies all these changes in the background and it typically affects my entire LR catalog of 65,000 images. I have changed OS, hardware, disks, and LR versions over time. The only thing that ever helps for a while is to leave the PC running for a day and let LR go through all the images. But of course the problem comes back after a year or so.
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TK

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I think I've been bitten by this big time (-> "Photo Orientation Lost in Lightroom").

For reasons unbeknown to me all the images on an external drive were suddenly deemed to be "externally modified" (I never touch the images with anything else but LR). Needless to say it was a big hassle to redo all orientations.
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Dan Tull, Employee

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Is your external drive formatted as FAT32? There's some strange date related behaviors where the apparent filesystem metadata shifts based on time zone and daylight savings time changes. I got bit by that recently with rsync, which re-synced a bunch of files because their times were an hour different than the previous sync.

My own external drive is FAT32 because I share it between Linux, Mac, and Windows systems and I've had occasional cases exactly as you describe here.
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TK

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Dan, thanks for your question. My external drive uses the FAT32 format, indeed. It came that way and it didn't occur to me that I should reformat it with NTSF.

It could very well be that the issue I had was daylight saving time change related.

Anything I should do to prevent the loss of orientations to happen again? Reformat the drive? Trust that the LR bug will be fixed before the next DST change?
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Photographe

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I wonder if this could be the cause of metadata collissions. I often get a message that a photo metadata doesn't match the catalogue even though I hadn't touched the photo outside of LR.
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Dan Tull, Employee

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I doubt this is a fix that'd go into 3.x, but if I'm remembering the filesystem details right, an NTFS volume would not hit that specific issue.

Hmm. The metadata logic should figure out that the file didn't really change (the timestamp will just trigger some churn to do the comparison when it isn't really necessary).
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Bernhard Erdmann

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I have portrait oriented NEF files produced by a Nikon D700 and once (2 years ago) edited with Nikon ViewNX (ver 1.3, 1.4, 1.5).

Portrait orientation was set by the camera. Editing was basic exposure and white balance correction as well as some IPTC/XMP data was added.

When I import these files into LR 3.4.1, they are display correctly in portrait mode. In LR I set white balance to tungsten and create a new sidecar file (ViewNX did not create one).

Now I drop this file in LR (just from the catalog) and re-import it. Et voilĂ , now the image is display landscape oriented.

It even happens (being displayed in wrong orientation) when I make a file copy of the NEF/XMP file pair (when it is still present in the LR catalogue) to another folder and import a second time from this folder (unchecked "drop duplicates" in the import dialogue).
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Rob Cole

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Yeah, I dunno whether NX software changed, or Lightroom, or both, but there is something catty-whompus about orientation handling. Just saving a portrait oriented NEF in an NX program (ViewNX or Capture NX2), even without changing anything, causes orientation to switch to Landscape in Lightroom. I think somebody figured out the details (in another similar thread), but I have not.
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TK

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Is the same bug also causing the loss of photo orientations I reported earlier?
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TK

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LR 3.5 has lost the orientation data for a subset of my photos again. This bug causes a lot of unnecessary work.
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Dan Tull, Employee

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FWIW, there is a fix for this internally for the next major version. Which is good because this bug has been annoying me for a couple of revs now.
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Rob Cole

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Good to hear Dan. Does the internal fix also take care of the problem with externally saved raw files (NEFs) causing portrait oriented photos to revert to Landscape?
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Dan Tull, Employee

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I think, but haven't confirmed, that that's a separate bug. I don't know whether it is LR or one of the other involved programs that's at fault, though.
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Rob Cole

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Dan,

Should I log another bug for this problem?

The problem is:

1. Lightroom has stored and applied a correction factor based on initial in-camera exif-metadata in NEF.
2. Lightroom then over corrects when re-reading metadata of NEF a second time, after seeing the file/metadata has changed.

Hopefully Adobe will fix this problem, regardless of whose fault it is (at least as an option, in case Nikon software changes something...). Lightroom users want it to work - they/we care less about who is to blame, and more about who takes responsibility for fixing it.

Bottom line: its annoying as heck to edit a raw in NX2 and have it flip in Lightroom.

In my opinion, it shouldn't be illegal or passive-aggressively discouraged for a Lightroom user to edit a raw with NX2...

Rob
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Dan Tull, Employee

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Yes, I'd write that up as a distinct issue.
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TK

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Thanks a lot for announcing the fix, Dan!
Much appreciated!
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TK

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Dan, I'm assuming "next major version" means the fix won't be available before LR 4.0?

I am being bitten by this bug again (LR 3.6).

I had saved the metadata to DNG files (sometimes more than once), but to no avail.

Some (but apparently not all) of my images in portrait orientation just flipped back to landscape orientation.

This is very, very frustrating.