Lightroom Classic CC 7.0 and 7.0.1: Memory leaks and progressive slowness worse than prior version

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  • Updated 1 week ago
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I have been using LR since LR 3, and have noticed, like everyone else, that it only gets slower and more buggy with every release. I was suckered into trying CC Classic because news outlets said it was 15% faster in its general actions (moving between photos, selecting multiple photos in grid view, etc) and a friend of mine said it was much faster on his 6-core Mac Pro.

His machine is built for content editing, and he says LR runs slow on it. My machine is not perfect for content editing, but it is not slow, either.

My System:
I run a Core i7-6700K (not Overclocked, but a top of the line consumer offering) using DDR4-2666 Kingston HyperX RAM (which benches in the 99th percentile of all RAM) and an SSD for my temp drive and have tested it while using an external USB 3.0 HDD as well as using the same SSD for my file storage (not ideal setups but it doesn't matter). I also use an nVidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti which scores high in 2D operations (common in GUI interfaces) and very poorly in 3D operations (which are common in image manipulation workflows). This has been taken into consideration when making my assessments below.

General pattern:
The problem is not with any bottlenecks in the system (mentioned above). The problem is, to the best of my knowledge, Lightroom's memory leaks while using the program, on top of it already being poorly written code. This problem even occurs while doing something as simple as opening the program, selecting all photos in a folder and exporting them to a folder and doing nothing else with the computer while this processes.

I have monitored memory CPU usage while using LR for various tasks, and Lightroom has a major problem with using resources appropriately and its performance degrades quickly while using the program. Not only this, but LR appears to have memory leaks that do not show up in the memory resource view.

My Workflow:
In my workflow, I use the Attribute and Metadata filters to help me apply noise reduction based on ISO rating, lens correction based on lens; I have flagged and unflagged photos shown, but not rejected photos; and then I go through these 400 photos one by one to correct their exposures. I use the develop module, because the Loupe View's exposure controls are not precise and therefore are inappropriate for professional edits.

So, I edited 400 photos the other day. After 50 edits, at most, I find that the program has become nearly unresponsive, hanging for nearly 10 seconds while the next image loads, and must be restarted to continue my edits. I restarted at least 4 times for this particular set. Wise question: Is too much action history being retained and not expunged from the action queue? Is Lightroom organizing its action history and lists using inefficient list models, e.g. recursive lists instead of indexed lists? Has Adobe's LR team ever taken one minute to consider that their program is written incorrectly for the task at hand?

The reported RAM usage in Windows Task Manager at the time of slowing down is an unimpressive 11 GB out of 16 GB, with the rest of the RAM occupied by standby/cached information that Windows should release upon request to the active application (Lightroom).

While editing during one of these sessions (before restarting), I received an error dialog from another background application that crashed and reported it was due to low memory availability. I restarted both Lightroom and this background program, and, after a few minutes of using LR, I received a new generic crash message from the background program. After this I had to restart my computer to flush all of the RAM. The background application is always running and has never crashed before while using Lightroom 6.7 (the background app has been installed for 6 months). It is a very lightweight program, so I know that Lightroom CC Classic 7.0.1 was at fault. Take note that this slowness problem existed in LR 6.7 but it did not force other applications to crash.

Example 2:
I started an export of 300 photographs after editing a dozen of them in LR. I monitored CPU usage during this process and the LR app used, on average only 20% of my available CPU power, bouncing around within the range ~5% to ~50%. I noticed that processing was far too slow, so I restarted the application with the project still selected and immediately ran the export again. This time, the average CPU usage started out at ~90% and maintained that average for a few minutes, but then it slowly crept down closer and closer to an average of ~60%, showing a gradual degradation in LR's performance.

Adobe it's time to hire some real professional programmers. You make craploads of money. Your other programs are not nearly as horrendous as Lightroom is, these days. Just move some of your talent onto this project, dump the existing framework and invest in some legitimate change in LR's code base. Oh, and one more thing: get rid of Lightroom CC. It's a ridiculous concept unless you're offering the entire Lightroom CC Classic functionality in the cloud. Your original cloud idea was to offer instant batch processing of photos via a compute cluster, and I don't see how Lightroom CC can fulfill its intended function when you don't even allow batch editing in it.
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Posted 3 months ago

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Barry Young, Director of Engineering

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Official Response
I am sorry to hear about these slowdowns. We are actively investigating all performance degradations that were introduced with LrClassic 7.0.