Updated 3:04 p.m. PDT with further Adobe remarks. I misunderstood the company's position: Lightroom's export behavior reflects engineering priorities.
Earlier this month, I encountered an Adobe Photoshop Lightroom analysis by consultant Lloyd Chambers that expressed surprise with a facet of the image editing and cataloging software: it didn't export photos as fast as possible.
Chambers found that if a photographer wants to produce JPEG or TIF images from the originals in the program, the fastest way is to divide the batch into thirds and export each third separately. Using a modern Mac Pro system, exporting a test set of photos took 351 seconds as one batch and 189 seconds divided into three batches running at the same time.
"The big disappointment is the sluggish performance importing and exporting files, which are tasks that are key to efficient workflow--tasks one has to do over and over. Most of the 'juice' of a Mac Pro goes untapped," Chambers concluded. "You have to load it up with more than one job to force more of the available CPU cores to be used. Lightroom should do this automatically!"
The study caught the attention of others, including Scott Kelby, head of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. I was intrigued, too, because although many programming chores are difficult to spread across multiple processor cores, exporting photos is trivially easy since it breaks conveniently into independent bite-sized pieces. So I thought I'd see what Adobe had to say for itself. … Read more