Photoshop Lightroom 1.2 available

Last week Adobe has released the second minor update to it’s popular Lightroom software, upgrading from version 1.1 to 1.2 (download). It did not take them as long as I predicted here, so someone somewhere in San Jose was busy fixing bugs. :-)

At first glance, the installation looked simple and flawless, just as usual for software from Adobe. Just download the update file and install it “over” your existing Lightroom 1.1 installation. The file contains three languages: US-English, German, and French. During the update I was asked for the language of the current installation. Well, they should be able to figure that out on their own, but heck, maybe they want to give the users a choice? I could not be more wrong. In fact, I selected “English”, but Lightroom started in German. Huh? What was that? I had an English installation since version 1.0, I wanted an English installation, and I selected US-English during the update. But still they displayed the whole user interface in German. Guys, a German installation has no value to me (zero, zilch, nada, keinen, de rien, nüüt). I used to work with a “Quick Collection”, yes, but I hate to see words like “Schnellkollektion” or “Erkennungstafel”! No, no, no - I now had the impression this update is possibly not good.

But the official Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Support Forum with the ever helpful user crowd comes to rescue. In my case, photographer Sean McCormack from Ireland pointed me to this article on the Lightroom Journal. Yes, creating a folder “disabled languages” and manually moving the unwanted languages to these folders worked for me. Great stuff. Wow! Except, when you think about it, you’d probably get your doubts. Photoshop is around since about 1990. They should have figured out by now that there are users who prefer an English software on a non-English operating system. 17 years later noone should have to go into the file system and shuffle around language files to manually enforce a certain GUI language. Anyway, thanks Sean for the tip, and keep up the good work with your Lightroom Blog.

Let’s see whether they fixed any of the major bugs I (and others) have been experiencing:

1. Photos fail to export [not fixed!]
To see whether this severe bug has been fixed, I took a larger gallery (141 photos) and created three simultaneous export processes working on 16.7 MP images from my Canon 1ds mark II. The processes went through flawlessly, the exported photos look fine. Fixed.

A few words about the performance: During the export mentioned above, both processors were running at 100% load constantly (something that was not the case before), and the swap file stayed just below 1 GB most of the time. Interesting: the first two export processes now seemed to have a higher priority. Their status bars proceeded at the same speed, while the third process got slowed down. It picked up speed once the first two processes were done, but it did not fully utilize both processors at 100%. Apparently, the first two processes now get more CPU power assigned. So the development team has really looked into the performance matter. As a result, the overall performance has also improved. The 423 photos took 3,960 seconds to process. The RAW files were 423 x 16.7 MP = 7064 MP, i.e. 0.56 sec/MP. An improvement of roughly 20% (read about the previous test).

Update 25/09/2007: Apparently, I was just lucky with the test I explained above. Yesterday, while exporting three streams of photos of the same photo set, Lightroom went through the whole exporting process without error message, only to show an error message at the end (!) that 56 photos could not be exported. Fortunately, I exported each set to a different directory, and I could see which photos were missing from the file count. Still, I think this bug has not been fixed. Too bad.

2. Database corrupted? [not fixed!]
Just as Lightroom 1.1, Lightroom 1.2 also detects a corrupted database. And still is apparently unable to fix it, despite working OK after pressing the “skip” button. At least they now show a button “Tech Note” below the error message, that brings you to this page of the Adobe Knowledge Base.

3. Undo [not fixed!]
The nasty “undo” bug is still present in Lightroom 1.2. Every now and then the software will not only undo the last step, but the last steps. Not good.

4. The Tab Key in Development [not fixed!]
The Tab key still does not hop between fields just as every other stupid Windows application on this planet does. Duh!

5. Grabbing the focus [fixed]
Seems to be fixed. Lightroom now exports photos in the background without grabbing the focus again and again.

Verdict: My first impression was not good,and even upon second glance it looks like a rushed maintenance update more than anything else. This was also confirmed by the update log (usually found in the help files). The text still refers to version 1.1 while the software clearly identifies itself as “Lightroom 1.2″. And no odd “readme.txt” file to be found anywhere. Ho-hum. Now, the help file offers a link to “LiveDocs”, an online version of the help file. Yeah, right. Still refers to version 1.1. Vacation time in San Jose? (No, someone was working and has been publishing the changes in this article.)

The change of the language was a major issue to me, but I could manually change that. The fact that at least major bugs have not been fixed also does not exactly qualify as cool. Things have improved in the backend of the software, especially in the CPU management department, so I still recommend to install this update, with all the usual precautions (backup, backup, backup)!

3 Responses to “Photoshop Lightroom 1.2 available”

  1. Sean says:

    Thanks Mark, there’s slightly more going on with the 1.2 update than appears. While it is just a maintenance update, a lot of rewriting of the code was done, to make it more efficient. Re corrupt Catalogs: Dan Tull is taking and fixing corrupt catalogs on the User to User forums. These Cataolgs are being used to help find ways of auto fixing the corruptions.

  2. admin says:

    Sean: thanks for the comment. Dan has indeed contacted me directly already and offered (once more) to look at the corrupt catalog and to try to fix it. This is what I call an extremely positive customer service experience – I think this rocks! I was hoping for Adobe to find an automated way to fix my database issues, so I had not considered Dan’s offer until now. The next two weeks will be quite busy here in Munich (Oktoberfest!). After that I will look closer at catalog issues again. / Mark

  3. Sean says:

    I can imagine. I’ve had a quick look at the new post about it. Perhaps I should consider visiting some time!