Lightroom performance – part 2

So I’ve been complaining for some time about the speed of Adobe’s Lightroom photo processing software.

I finally got around to doing some comparisons of import times, using files from different cameras.  My initial thought was that the auto-correction used by micro 4/3 lenses was slowing things down on my recently acquired E-M5, along with larger files.  To test that theory, I took 100 RAW files from a number of different cameras and lenses, and measured how long it took to import them and generate 1:1 previews.

Camera Size Format Lens Correction Running time (s)
Nikon D70 6.1 MP NEF No 172
Nikon D700 12.1 MP NEF No 318
Olympus E-410 10.1 MP ORF No 392
Olympus E-620 12.3 MP ORF No 446
Olympus E-PM1 12.3 MP ORF Yes 493
Olympus E-M5 16.2 MP ORF No 580
Olympus E-M5 16.2 MP ORF Yes 600

As is clear in the table, it turns out that lens correction actually doesn’t have a huge impact – enabling it (or using a lens that enables it automatically) causes less than a 5% performance hitch.  On the flip side, increasing the number of pixels seems to linearly increase runtime.

What is also obvious is that the Olympus ORF’s file format takes a good bit more time and energy to process than Nikon’s NEF files.  Processing 10MP ORFs takes roughly 25% more time than processing 12MP NEFs!  I suppose I’ll have to add that to my already lengthy list of ‘things Olympus could afford to borrow from competitors’.

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