How to make PL5 fast and responsive

PL5 and hopefully PL6 need to be fast and responsive. It is very frustrating to work or even just browse photos in PL5 after using LR. Not sure what makes this app so slow. I understand that PL adds corrections which is great and one of the reasons I use PL but seriously, keep those corrections as part of the preview, don’t render every photo when clicking or double-clicking for development.

I think one of Photolabs advantages is that I never need to ingest images like one has to in Lightroom. That takes time too :slight_smile: Photolab is very much more straight forward than Lightroom or Capture One - BUT, it always automatically by default starts to render previews of all images there are in the folder you open.

There are ways to get around that people have worked out. The best advice is to not save all your images in one folder. You should never save more than a few houndreds in one folder if speed is of great concern. It´s not a bad idea to limit a session to just one folder (if you don´t happen take tousands of pictures in every single one of these sessions).

Some other people using third party photo archives and metadata management tools use these to open just a limited set of images at the time that they want to work with in Photolab. Doing so it´s pretty easy to get rid of these preview rendering wait states.

In Lightroom they have another approach to this and there they by default makes previews of much lower quality than Photolab does BUT then Lightroom instead need to scale every image in the Developer module before you can work on it. So they also have to live with the compromise between quality and speed but handle it differently. The difference is mainly WHEN the rendering is taking place not THAT it´s taking place and it happens in batch like in Photolab or image by image like in the Developer module in Lightroom.

The people using a third party Image Library lives with previews in that tool that are smaller and optimised for speed when searching och scrolling for images to work with and when developing they can limit the preview scaling in Photolab to just the images in the batch they want to work with when importing these images to Photolab.

If you change the settings in Lightroom to always render high quality 1:1 previews, even Lightroom will take it´s time to render those previews.

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Thanks @Stenis
I only work on small batches. Every little click to do something takes a second to react. It is distracting. Maybe PL needs to scale previews down. that’s why they are called ‘previews’.

Well, in this thread about presets Preset panel stay in place you asked for ‘full’ preview.
Serious question – what is more important to you?

One of the major reasons for me to leave Lightroom 10 years ago and never looking back, was just the lack of decent preview quality with my Sony ARW in Lightroom.

I think the excellent preview quality where I really can see the effects of my actions is one of Photolabs real selling points.

… and if people dont like the wait states and don’t want to have another external application to handle their images they can always use the Eplorer in Windows or a Finder in Mac.

I was surprised to see yesterday, that even just browsing a folder that only contains JPG files with no corrections applied at all is slow, changing from one image to another always takes a second, there is the loading symbol and then the image appears. So it does not seem to be only all the corrections that are slow, I do not know what the software is doing everytime it is switching from one image to another, maybe some problem in the database?

Speed and agility. There is absolutely no need to wait for things to happen in 2022. The Preview effect panel is a different request. It is just a very old and bad UX. Having to open a window, click, close and open again is a PITA!

This is exactly what I am talking about. I have no idea why previews are not instant. This is the whole point of rendering folders when importing. I also don’t think it has to do with the hardware or OS. my older Macs with Intel MPB and the new Apple M1 Pro behave more or less the same. Maybe PL6 will focus on usability more than features.

The UI has allways been really slow. I also would expect PL to give me instant UI response with todays (and yesterdays) hardware. Things get really sluggish, when you have threads rendering photos in the backgrounds - and no it is not the system. With increasing system speed over all the years, rendering got constantly faster. But with active render threads, PL ist basically unusable and the UI slow als hell to the point even the PL menu animations stuttering (that you can’t turn off).

And yes, I let of cause CPU cores free (like 8 or more) for non rendering purposes and the drive bandwidth has also some GB/s bandwith and I/O ops left.

Regards, Lars

Thanks @Lars
I will try to address usability during the PL6 Beta. If things don’t improve I think it will be my last version.

Have you thought about using a third-party image viewer to weed out the images not worth opening in PL. I use Faststone which displays all the images in a folder very quickly. You can compare up to four images on the screen at once which is useful if like me, you use burst mode on every shot. On a PC you can double click to open the image full-screen or right-click to open the image in any other software including PL, and it’s free. This doesn’t solve the PL problem you describe but in my experience, by the time you’ve weeded out all the images you don’t actually need, there are far fewer images to preview in PL


Well i just upgraded from the long time standard 24 MP to 33. That increased the export processing time from an average of 24 seconds to around 30. Sony A7r IV produces 60 MP-files and soon we might get 100 MP even in full frame cameras.

With heavier files some will need better hard ware and the ones that can’t afford it have to find smarter ways to work.

Exactly so. I take photos in RAW + JPG. I use the operating system to scan the jpegs in order to select which RAW image(s) to put into a project.

So I know all my photos in the project are to be processed and I can deal with them one by one without waiting for PL to preview the others.

Yes, I use various tools not just PL. I started my career in the mid 90s and used to scan film for a professional printer in NYC (big rotating glass tubes). So I am quite familiar with DAM and post-processing, software and processes.
I just fine PL to be a bit sluggish even with small photo batches.

Uh ohhhh! I just ordered a new MB Pro M1 Max to resolve the time it takes to process 4-500 images at a time. I shoot timelapse almost every day. I have a 2017 MB Pro which takes about 4 hours to process PL process each day. That does not include the time to then push to LR and then to render the LRT video.

Any help in this thread about my workflow would be very appreciated…

Processing time heavily depends on the noise reduction you choose. What is your noise reduction setting for the series of 500 images?

It’s related to hw. I have to say that I don’t notice any bothersome delays on my four-year-old mac, despite working with photos stored on an external USB drive. I only observe some lag when exporting, but considering the output quality, it is fully acceptable to me.

Let us know if it makes a huge difference. Are you processing Raw files? 4 hours seems like a massive amount of time. I haven’t done time-laps but did quite a lot of video work and even if I added flat jpegs to Premiere pro the editing and exporting (rendering) was a matter of seconds or minutes.
To be honest, If I worked on Time laps and 4K and above resolution, my workflow will be batch processing in LR (or Photoshop) and Premiere Pro sequencing and exporting.

For 400-500 images, 4 hours make an average of 28-36 seconds per image. This feels like @jaitoall uses DeepPrime as NR. My M1 MacBook Air takes about 7 seconds for a 22 Mpixel image…

Thanks (everyone) for your responses. Yes! I calculated about 25 secs per image for just the PL5 preset processing… I am using an old machine though…

• MacBook Pro, 2016, Intel i7, 2.7 GHz, 16 GB memory, Radeon Pro 455 2 GB Graphics card, Monterey
• My background is 20yrs as database design, program, maintain at admin level… so I know a thing or two
• I keep machine in pristine condition - run maintenance and security, hardware diagnostics everyday
• All the data are managed on an external LaCie hd as I do not have enough memory capacity to run local
• I am a total novice to digital photography. I am old school photographer.
Running Monterey could be slowing things down. External HD is SSD but the input output busses are not what the newer machines have… The small RAM is, of course, an extreme limitation. The PL software is AI which is blowing through anything I have ever seen in terms of microprocessor load - I thought db’s were heavy loads! Old architecture and graphics card may be real limitations.
These are my best guesses…
I have ordered the top of the line (super dedooper) M1Max… hoping that will get the total time down to a dull roar.
• I shoot timelapse every evening, images are RAW approximately 21 mb each, I usually shoot 400-500.
• Default PL5 preferences set to ‘no correction’, automatically synchronize metadata, and automatically export sidecars.
• Workflow - Photolab, LR, LRTimlapse5 (this workflow is due to the LRT needs. If you go from LR to PL the sidecar does not work with LRT. It needs the PL xmp - don’t understand why?? but documentation says it does.
• PL custom preset includes optics, DeepPrime, plus other stuff…

So there you have it! Any thoughts would be very much appreciated. As is the case, the more you learn about a science the more you realize you don’t know.