Photoshop can do this but it's really really slow — it takes almost an hour to do 100 pictures on my machine. More annoying is the fact that I can't just start two instances of Photoshop and do two separate folders in parallel (to use both cores on this box), because Photoshop complains when one tries to open multiple instances.

There's got to be a faster way of doing this... is there one?

  • 2
    Dangerously close to a duplicate of photo.stackexchange.com/questions/10029/…; the only difference being the "fast" requirement. Apr 15 '11 at 19:46
  • @Craig Walker: ironically, since that one just is asking for versions to upload to Facebook, the quite fast solution of extracting the jpeg preview might be sufficient, but probably woudn't be here....
    – mattdm
    Apr 15 '11 at 20:14
  • @Craig + @mattdm: Actually what it says in there is what I'm using -- but waiting hours to get a single SD card of pictures in JPEG is kind of annoying. Apr 15 '11 at 21:09
  • Just checking.... Are you running this on the SD card? That might contribute to slowness.
    – mattdm
    Apr 15 '11 at 21:38
  • @mattdm: No. The process is CPU limited (I verified this in Process Explorer). The images themselves are sitting on an OCZ Vertex 2 which can feed some 200MB/s+ -- if secondary storage was the limiting factor then it would convert all hundred or so images in under two seconds. Apr 15 '11 at 22:37

Adobe Lightroom is significantly better for large operations like that. And you can fire up more than one action at a time.

In addition to batch operations like that, it's built to be more streamlined into a work process for multiple photos. If you're doing color corrections, contrast enhancement, and other operations that effect the whole photo - you'll love Lightroom compared to Photoshop. If you mainly do localized touch ups - Photoshop is much better at that.

  • Damnit -- don't have that one. Will have to go hunting at the CWRU software center! Apr 15 '11 at 19:34
  • I would second using Lightroom. Since it is multi-threaded, you can queue up a bunch of export batches, and it will process them very efficiently. Since you have an SSD, the speed should be superb, and if you have it properly configured at the hardware/bios level, Lightroom might even be able to perform multiple concurrent streaming operations to it.
    – jrista
    Apr 16 '11 at 0:11

Unless you have multiple physical hard drives involved, you probably do not want to use multiple instances. I'd guess a significant part of the time involved is disk I/O, and multiple instances are likely to slow that down with extra head seeking.

For speed, Bibble Pro is hard to beat.

  • Hm. Doubt it. NEFs are ~10 MByte, easily cached big chunks of a predictable accessed directory, results may be of the same size, easily cached on writing. Unless his RAM has to be swapped, no danger of disk thrashing.
    – Leonidas
    Apr 15 '11 at 20:15
  • @Leonidas: You may easily have a point -- given who slow Ps apparently is at it, you probably wouldn't overload the disk. I'm more accustomed to Bibble, which I'm pretty sure would. To put it in perspective though, I just did a quick test converting 156 raws to JPEG, which took about 3 minutes... Apr 15 '11 at 20:30
  • The bottleneck on this box is CPU time, not disk access. (It's on an SSD in any case) Apr 15 '11 at 20:59
  • Basically eating big files sequentially and writing them the same way is one of the best-case-scenarios for a HDD because it is so nicely predictable. Even ten year old PATA-connected HDDs easily make their max 30 MByte/s that way, not counting that your OS today often defers writing. I'd guess that - virus-scanner turned off - your CPU is nicely loaded with Bibble too.
    – Leonidas
    Apr 16 '11 at 1:00
  • IF the bottle neck is the CPU, then a RAW converter like Bibble will speed things up very significantly. Bibble is a lot faster than Adobe Camera RAW, so if speed is your primary concern then you should give Bibble a go. Apr 18 '11 at 18:14

If you're enterprising, I would look at using DCRaw. It's for linux, but it is possible to build a binary for windows.

It's command line only, but should be a noticeable improvement on speed.

  • The OP is after speed, DCRaw is not going to be any faster than ACR. Apr 18 '11 at 18:17

This won't be sped up significantly, regardless which program you use. You might speed up by using multiple cores (you tried: parallel execution, if supported by the program) and a lot of ram (your os does: caching the files).

The whole point of converting your RAW on your computer is to fiddle a bit more with the parameters than available in your camera chip - which is specialized for converting fast and good. So converting will take a bit more time of your general cpus time. The human fiddling alone should take some time ;)

36secs/picture is actually not bad compared to the performance of RawTherapee on my (Turion X2 L335) - CameraRaw is actually a bit faster on it too (edit: but somehow I like the RawTherapee-interface more).

Edit: Just for the statistics - in RawTherapee twiddling my standard knobs (white balance, more sharpening, adding denoising and curves) for a bad indoors-picture from my D90 nearly doubles processing time (from 30 to 54 seconds). The Amaze-demosaicing of the program alone eats 15 seconds.

  • Hmm...to put this in perspective, I'm getting almost exactly 1 second per picture with Bibble. My box is nothing to get very excited about either -- an Athlon 64 X2 @ 2.6 GHz with very ordinary hard disks (no SSDs, 10K drives, or anything like that). Apr 15 '11 at 22:52
  • @Jerry: As I wrote: it will depend on your parameters too. Just ran a quick test with three conversions of the same picture in a row: corrected-standard-corrected (corrections: colour, denoising, more sharpening, curves applied, saturation/brightness adjusted) with RawTherapee. About 15 secs are due to the Amaze-demosaicing (could have changed that) but then standard with total 30 seconds and corrected with 54 seconds still differ a lot.
    – Leonidas
    Apr 16 '11 at 0:41
  • On a Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Bibble with Perfectly Clear, Noise Ninja and the film simulator Andy takes 15 seconds. Without any of these extra tools running and merely performing standard white balance, sharpening, exposure/levels/curves takes about 2 - 3 seconds. Apr 18 '11 at 18:21

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