A Lightroom Bug Affecting Sony Alpha Raw files, and a Possible Work Around

Well, Sort of

The other day I posted a possible work around for an annoying Lightroom bug that had been frustrating me. When working with Sony ARW files, when you move from one image to another in the develop module, it can sometimes take seconds (sometimes 10 or more) before moving the sliders have any effect. The not really a solution, solution, that I offered was to wait till the Auto button enabled before trying to edit. Well, after a bit more research, I think I’ve found the source of this issue.

This problem only started for me after Lightroom 2015.7. Ever since then the software has been barely useable with Sony ARW files. I’ve tried to find answers but I couldn’t come up with any. After noticing the Auto button thing, I was determined to get to the bottom of this, or at least let Adobe know that this was a problem. I was beginning to think that I was going mad, but then I started to find discussion threads from people having similar problems. They too were working off Sony cameras, but as they were only using Sony, it just came across as a general Lightroom problem, so the reasons that I couldn’t find it before, is that I was asking the wrong questions. In one such example the person kindly created a YouTube video showing the issue.

Having read through the various threads, it seems that the issue is related to using presets. It seems that if you apply a preset at any stage, the issues with the unresponsive sliders start int he develop module. This had never occurred to me, but I do always apply a preset on import. To test it out, I first tried resetting some images, and deleting the history. This only sort of worked. Then I tried importing fresh set of images, only this time, I didn’t apply any presets on import. This did indeed seem to fix the issue. The images were now as responsive as they should be. However, as soon as I applied a preset, the slider performance bug came back.

This is such a weirdly specific bug. If you apply the same adjustments manually, there doesn’t seem to be a issue, however as soon as you apply preset, no matter what it is, it seems to slow things down. I just want to point out again, that I’m only experiencing this problem with Sony ARW files. I can’t say that it’s only affecting Sony files, because I haven’t tried every available format, but for me it’s Sony specific.

So what’s the solution. Well, unfortunately, it seems to be that if you’re having this problem, the only work around is to not use presets at any stage in your workflow. This may be a bit of an issue for a lot of people. I for one, always use a preset on import to set the colour profile, and lens corrections and so on. The alternative, is to apply it to one image, and sacrifice that, and then copy and paste the adjustments to others.

I have written to Adobe about this already, but as they don’t seem to have any direct way to send them about bugs other than their forums, I can’t say for certain anyone will read, or care about this. But I’d like to keep pestering them about it, and I need more data. So if you have experienced this, please let me know if this at least narrows down the because of the problem. Also, please leave feedback on Adobes forums. It’s better than nothing. They need to address this, as it’s a ridiculous bug that’s gone unaddressed for at least two versions. It may only affect a number of users, but it’s making the application virtually unusable in certain circumstances.


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Originally published at blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com.