Adobe’s August 2019 updates brought a number of new features and improvements to Lightroom Classic CC, including Accelerated image-editing with GPU support, the ability to organize collections with color labels, support for new cameras and lenses, and other enhancements such as PNG export and batch merge for HDR and panoramas.
Hidden away in this information was the news that Adobe had improved the performance of the Library module and its performance, specifically while working with the Folder panel.
I might not be alone in taking Adobe’s claims of performance improvements with a pinch of salt. Over the years I’ve got used to Lightroom Classic growing slower and slower, not faster – to the point where I pretty much stopped using it as my main cataloguing tool a year ago.
The most serious issue for me was its slow startup time and the absolute age it took to render the full list of folders in my image library. My folder system is pretty complex. It’s several layers deep and has subfolders for camera RAW files, JPEGs and edits in different applications. It’s a lot of folders, but it’s what I use and Lightroom just couldn’t seem to cope.
So I wasn’t in a huge rush to check it again after the August 2019 update – but now I wish I’d done it sooner. Lightroom Classic CC can populate my Folders panel in seconds, not minutes, and I can now start browsing and editing files in a reasonable amount of time.
The GPU support seems to work too. Editing in the Develop module definitely feels a bit snappier, and Lightroom Classic CC’s Preferences panel correctly identifies the AMD Radeon Pro 560 graphics hardware in my iMac. I can’t prove any benefit that’s providing, but at least Lightroom knows what graphics processor I’ve got and appears to be using it.
I’m going to hold judgement on just how effective this update has been until I’ve used it a while longer, but my first impressions are that Adobe has indeed actually made Lightroom Classic CC faster for once – instead of just promising it.