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Context

I'm annoyed at how slow Lightroom CC is, even with a catalog of about three thousand images or so. I've tried third party tools to just import and view/delete images from a day's shooting and I found them to be faster and more importantly less laggy then viewing it in Lightroom directly.

Question

Is there any third party tool to edit/view the Lightroom catalog and tag images? I'd prefer to use Lightroom for editing images non-destructively but it would be nice to edit the metadata without having to deal with the lag of editing lots of tags at once. The specs of my computer are listed below. I've ran Lightroom on a Surface Pro 1 with similar specs and other tools seem to get a huge speed boost. Lightroom did not...

Specs

CPU:AMD Athlon X2 6000+ RAM:4GB HD:Samsung 850 EVO GPU:Nvidia GTX 760

Ram didn't seem to be the largest problem as I only use 2GB at most when tagging/deleting...

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    From my very quick reading, the Athlon X2 is a processor from 2007 or so. Don't expect processor intensive software like Lightroom to run well on 10 year old hardware! – Philip Kendall Feb 17 '16 at 19:41
  • Not wrong but the difference between something smaller v something bigger is more apparent. Considering how Lightroom doesn't get as large of a speedup, I find it a bit odd. – unsignedzero Feb 17 '16 at 21:43
  • @unsignedzero I tried LR CC and can confirm that it performs worse than 5 for me. – null Feb 17 '16 at 22:31
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    Have you tried turning off GPU acceleration in Lightroom CC? That seems to be the general recommendation for performance problems compared with LR 5. Edit > Preferences, uncheck Use Graphics Processor option. ref: PetaPixel; Photoshop Forum; Alik Griffin <-- lots of other perf. suggestions. – scottbb Feb 18 '16 at 1:01
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    There are no third-party tools to edit LR catalogs except SQLite editors that provide you a low-level access to its underline database structure. The only way to interact with LR is via XMP metadata. Lightroom can see changes in files that was made by a third party tool, and visa verse. You can read this article about how LR and Daminion can work together (I work at Daminion): digital-photography-school.com/… – Murat - Daminion Software Feb 18 '16 at 16:14
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The Lightroom catalog is a SQLite database, and it is possible to write programs that can access it that can cooperate with Lightroom. That said, most developers that I have seen choose to do this in a supported way through the plugin route and the API Adobe provides. There are plugins which can modify metadata, for example:

Lightroom Transporter

I suspect however that is not quite what you want; I suspect you want something for manual individual image updates, fast.

The best I have seen is a pre-import tool. I use Photo Mechanic from Camerabits, which is probably the best known ingestion/browsing/metadata tool going. It works best to ingest, cull, crop, and describe photos, then you can drag and drop them directly into Lightroom which invokes the Import and carries over all the metadata added.

Photo Mechanic is all about speed, it is widely used by photo journalists on deadline, to get images in fast and tag fully, then push out to whoever needs it. I found it cuts my sports shoot post processing by at least 30% and maybe 50%, because I then use Lightroom only for what Lightroom does well - final develop, and publishing.

In theory you can use it after the fact and exchange metadata through the XMP files both use, e.g. import to lightroom, write metadata to XMP, then browse with Photo Mechanic which updates XMP if you change metadata, then read the metadata in Lightroom. But I would expect this could lead to getting confused easily, and overwriting changes from one in the other. I think it is better to use it up front where the leverage is (culling), then use Lightroom from then on. After all metadata in Lightroom is fast to update in the Library module.

I am not aware of any programs that can actually edit the image that is cross compatible with lightroom (i.e. go back and forth between non-destructive editing in lightroom and in program X); I suppose one could be reverse engineered but I have never seen any attempts at that.

  • Great recommendation. Photo Mechanic can offload the piece that is the most cumbersome to do in LR, culling. Since I've switched my workflow speed has dramatically increased. – dpollitt Feb 23 '16 at 16:54
  • I've been using Photo Mechanic so I know that feeling. However, I want to tag in it, so when I actually view in Lightroom, I can "carry" everything I've set and use to to edit images. – unsignedzero Feb 24 '16 at 18:04
  • You can tag in Photo Mechanic. In Color Classes under Preferences, General you can down the lightning bolt and select Lightroom for compatible colors, and the star ratings (Alt + number) should come over as well. Was there a specific kind of tagging you are not finding to work? – Linwood Feb 24 '16 at 22:06
  • @Linwood I haven't tested the tagging there but I want something that can directly edit Lightroom's metadata. (e.g. if I edit/tag in PM, it will also appear in LR.) I know you can edit and save tags on the image itself. However, is there a way for it to auto complete like Lightroom, given images with other existing tags or a tag hierarchy?) – unsignedzero Mar 1 '16 at 21:35
  • While possible to edit directly I know of none that do. Photo Mechanic will write a XMP file, and if you write XMP from Lightroom before (to ensure it is current, unless you have it set to always write) then read XMP after editing in PM, it should in theory take the new tagging from PM directly into LR even if it was added after LR imported. Whether anything will get confused in doing so... should not, but be careful. But as to a different tool to directly edit metadata in LR that is not a plugin, I am aware of none. It would be easy to write, but I know of none who have. – Linwood Mar 1 '16 at 21:56

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