MacOS Catalina import is very slow

New Here ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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Hi,

I'm pretty new to LrC and photography in general. One area of concern is how slow it is for me to import photos. Here's what I'm using:

  • Importing RAW + JPG from my Sony A6100
  • Using a Sandisk Ultra SD card rated at 80 MB/s
  • Tested using a Uni USB C SD card reader (about $12.00 on Amazon) and a Vava USB C 8-in-1 hub
  • Running on a 2020 13" MacBook Pro running Catalina, with 10th gen i5, 16GB of memory
  • Saving to a Crucial X8 1TB portable SSD plugged into one of my 4 thunderbolt ports.

In Lightroom, I have "build previews" set to "embedded & sidecar" and "build smart previews" is unchecked. No develop or meta data applied during import.

As a test, I imported 24 images with the stopwatch app running on my phone. the 24 images took nearly 22 minutes to import.
I can see several possible bottlenecks here, ranging from the SD card, the reader, cable for the reader, or import settings.

Any thoughts on where to start? Or is this really how long I should expect this process to take?

Thanks!

TOPICS
Import and export, Mac, Performance

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LEGEND ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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Well, I'm sure it should be faster than 22 minutes, and as far as I know, Import settings are not the problem. It will speed up somewhat if you turn off "build smart previews". However, the primary speed loss is is almost always hardware related. One thing you did not mention in your list of bottlenecks is a bad or malfunctioning USB port.

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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I've tried different Thunderbolt3/USB C ports on my MacBook, and different card readers, without any change. Here's the Black Magic disk benchmark results run against the SDHC card I've been using (using the same card reader and USB port I used on my last LRC import) and also benchmark results for my external SSD I use for the import destination:

SDHC results

DiskSpeedTest - SDHC card.png

SSD resultsDiskSpeedTest - X8.png

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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That's not normal at all. My imports on a 2019 MBP (faster processor and more memory but that shouldn't matter much) are as fast as the hardware can take which is about 400-500 Megabyte/second on a XQD card reader, so typically seconds. The hardware you describe should be able to hit close to the 80 MB/second of the card, so 25 images should get imported in under a minute (don't know how large A6100 images are typically so that's just a guess). WHen I import from sd cards that's typicallky what it takes for that many images. 22 minutes is way too long. If you use embedded and sidecar for previews especially it will just import, copy the embedded jpegs and be done. So I would test first how fast it is to just copy the images in finder to the same location to see if hardware is an issue. Then if that is fast, try the import with a fresh, empty catalog.

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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I just tested that by copying 26 JPG and 26 ARW files from my list import test. I copied from the SD card reader to the external SSD. I'd guess the process took less than 30 seconds total. Total file size was a bit over 866MB.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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That sounds normal and about what I expect. I am a bit worried about the very low write score on the SD card in your speed test above but it shouldn't matter for this. Have you tried importing in a fresh, empty catalog?

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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Okay - I'm getting some where. Importing from the SD card to a fresh catalog didn't yield any improvments. But, If I first copied photos from the SD card to a new folder on my external SSD, then imported from that folder to another folder on that external SSD, it was VERY fast.

I went back to my original catalog and imported from the external SSD, some positive results.

So, it seems that the problem is importing directly from my SD card. I have 2 SD cards, but they are both the exact same card model (Sandisk Ultra 80 MB/s 64GB cards).

It is strange that copying files from these cards works fine, I only have problem importing.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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That does point to some issues with the card or card reader but that somehow only are triggered if importing in Lightroom, not when you copy in finder. Not sure what the reason could be. 

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LEGEND ,
Nov 14, 2020 Nov 14, 2020

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Please post your System Information as Lightroom Classic (LrC) reports it. In LrC click on Help, then System Info, then Copy. Paste that information into a reply. Please present all information from first line down to and including Plug-in Info. Info after Plug-in info can be cut as that is just so much dead space to us non-Techs.

 

exampleexample

 

Plug-ins might give a clue, or not.

 

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New Here ,
Dec 05, 2020 Dec 05, 2020

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I tried again, this time using a new card reader, the official Apple USB C SD card reader. same results. here's my system info from LRc:

 

Lightroom Classic version: 10.0 [ 202010011851-ef6045e0 ]
License: Creative Cloud
Language setting: en-US
Operating system: Mac OS 10
Version: 10.15.7 [19H15]
Application architecture: x64
Logical processor count: 8
Processor speed: 2.0 GHz
SqLite Version: 3.30.1
Built-in memory: 16,384.0 MB
Real memory available to Lightroom: 16,384.0 MB
Real memory used by Lightroom: 1,147.2 MB (7.0%)
Virtual memory used by Lightroom: 6,635.7 MB
Memory cache size: 3,272.5MB
Internal Camera Raw version: 13.0 [ 610 ]
Maximum thread count used by Camera Raw: 5
Camera Raw SIMD optimization: SSE2,AVX,AVX2
Camera Raw virtual memory: 350MB / 8191MB (4%)
Camera Raw real memory: 352MB / 16384MB (2%)
Displays: 1) 2560x1440

Graphics Processor Info:
Metal: Intel(R) Iris(TM) Plus Graphics

 

Application folder: /Applications/Adobe Lightroom Classic
Library Path: /Volumes/Crucial X8/speed test/speedTest/speedTest.lrcat
Settings Folder: /Users/genxtechblog/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom

Installed Plugins:
1) AdobeStock
2) Aperture/iPhoto Importer Plug-in
3) Facebook
4) Flickr
5) Nikon Tether Plugin

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