Should you upgrade to Lightroom 4.2? After today, I’m not so sure.

Update Oct/29/2012: I managed to solve the issues. How? Beats me.. read all about it here.

Update Oct/16/2012: Adobe has merged my problem report with another few that circle around the same topic. You can find the merged thread here. If you experience similar issues with Lightroom 4.2, please consider going there and marking the thread +1 to help raise awareness!

Lightroom LogoThe other day I updated Lightroom to version 4.2, which for me resulted in a massive slow-down on my mobile system. I didn’t have the time to test on my Mac Pro yet and I won’t until next week, as I’m traveling.

After the tone curve problems and other issues that Adobe introduced with Lightroom 4.0 and their subsequent (and over two months in the making) 4.1 update in May (I’ve written about it), … I can’t help but feel a bit like “here we go again”.

Everything had been great in the five months since 4.1 came out. Good performance on my mobile setup, tone curves working fine, new 2012 process doing good.

The new issues with version 4.2 don’t seem wide-spread, but when I typed Lightroom 4.2 into the Google search box, the first suggestion that came up was Lightroom 4.2 slow… maybe it’s just too new and we’ll have to wait for the reports to come in.

My two specific issues are these:

Issue 1: I love smart collections. One way I use them often is this: I set the smart collection to only show unflagged images, then when I press the x (reject-flag) key on pictures, they instantly disappear from the collection.

Not so instant anymore since version 4.2. I’ve had to wait anywhere between one and 20 (twenty!!) seconds until the flagged pictures went away. It used to be a great way to narrow down a selection together with a client, instead, today it made me look bad.

Issue 2: Import speed. I don’t use the fastest cards, but half an hour on a 4GB card full of RAW images is simply too much. It didn’t happen right away. But during the course of a few imports, LR’s import speed slowed down dramatically. And I’m not talking about preview rendering times, just the simple import.

When restarting LR, things seem to speed up a little, but not for long.

I’m quite frustrated with this experience. Please let me know in the comments if you’re seeing a performance increase or decrease since the update to Lightroom 4.2.

If you’ve got speed-related issues like I do, please consider to +1 the problem report that I filed with Adobe today to help Adobe see that it’s a real issue. (Update: after Adobe merged it with another thread, this is the new location).

Author: Chris Marquardt

Chris Marquardt is co-author of Absolut analog and The Film Photography Handbook. He hosts Tips from the Top Floor, the world's longest running photography show. Chris teaches photography all over the world on his photo tours. He is also a regular on the TWiT Network.

9 thoughts on “Should you upgrade to Lightroom 4.2? After today, I’m not so sure.”

  1. Just read this comment by a LR user who upgraded to 4.2: “When we show up to jobs, and waste a lot of time trying to make your software work, while Art Directors ask us why they cant see the images on the screen, that makes us look very bad. This is our jobs, this is our responsibility, and we critically need to be able to rely on the tools we use. At this point, I don’t trust this software, hate using it and am very disappointed in the company.”

    This was posted as a reply to another thread at

  2. It took my laptop (PC, not Mac) nearly 4 hours to import 1,400 images from a photowalk after the 4.2 upgrade. I wish I hadn’t!

  3. I didn’t upgrade to 4.2 yet (and have no plan on doing so) but my experience is that ever since 4.0 Lightroom performance is very slow and was much better on older versions.

  4. I upgraded to 4.2 on Windows 7 and noticed a significant slow down. It mainly happens when switching between photos in the develop module and when pasting develop settings from one photo to the other. It can take 15-20 seconds for the photo to accept the new settings and then another 10-15 seconds for the photo to update. This used to be nearly instantaneous in 4.1.

  5. Thanks for posting this. I just got Lightroom 4 and because of your issues did not update to 4.2 and instead updated to 4.1. The file to update to 4.1 is still available on Adobe’s site, so if 4.2 is so slow that it’s unusable you could uninstall and reinstall and go back to 4.1. Not ideal by any means but at least it’s an option.

  6. It took forever for me to import 200 raw files into Lightroom the other day and I was shocked! I actually though it was an issue with my Computer until I saw this post.

  7. 4.2 hogs my poor wee PC processor too much. Anything I do in 4.2 is now freezing up the machine for seconds at a time. I understand that my basic day-to-day machine isn’t amazing (Dual Core 2.4GHz with 16GB of RAM and dual SSD’s) but this type of processor blocking is crazy.

    Lightroom is now nearly unusable in the 4.2 build. Has anyone seen any way to back-step to the 4.1?

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