My Biggest Hope for Lightroom 3

I posted the following to Terry White’s Tech Blog about Lightroom 3:

I am downloading the beta now in Bangkok, Thailand. My internet connection is very slow but I’ll get there.

My biggest question is about database capacity and performance. I’m approaching 50,000 images in LR 2 now and my catalog is about 1GB not counting the previews cache. That’s about one year’s work.

I want to be able to use one LR catalog for every photo I take for the rest of my life. If I have a powerful machine and sufficient disk, is this a reasonable expectation that LR will be able to support many hundreds of thousands of images?

The way I work I often need to go back to pictures I took years ago so splitting into multiple catalogs (e.g. 1 per year) would be very inconvenient.

Clearly database technology can handle that kind of task – e.g. MySQL – but I am not so sure about SQLite.

Thanks! I am looking forward to trying the new features.

I did not get an immediate response, although Terry is good about responding to other questions.

Adobe has been vague about performance and capacity in everything I have seen. The LR 3 beta is no exception. They say:

Lightroom has been stripped down to the “engine block” in order to rebuild a performance architecture that meets the needs of photographers with growing image collections and increasing megapixels.

But what does that mean? Did they change the SQLite database engine? What are their performance and scalability objectives for LR3?

Adobe has this appearance of openness with their blogs but I feel they don’t share much beyond the standard marketing-approved talking points.

As always I see both sides. I was nervous about talking publicly about performance and scalability when I worked for HP. There are so many variables and it’s easy for one’s words to come back to haunt you (and the company). But that is a long time ago and we should be better at it now.

Are my scalability expectations reasonable or not? I cannot believe I am unique.


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5 Responses to “My Biggest Hope for Lightroom 3”

  1. BKKPhotographer Says:


  2. BKKPhotographer Says:

    Terry did not reply. I tried posting a comment to Jeff Friedl’s blog here

    He’ll understand!

  3. BKKPhotographer Says:

    Jeff gave a thoughtful reply to my query about the Lightroom catalog. As I expected he has more pictures than I do in his LR2 catalog: over 74,000. He said he has not seen any problems yet.

    He agreed with me that he’d like to have one LR catalog for all his photos. I’m not crazy!

  4. BKKPhotographer Says:

    The subject came up on the Lightroom Forums at Adobe at so of course I chimed in my 2 satang worth.

  5. ThumbsPlus 8 Available at Last « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] would address my requirement that I want one database for every picture I have ever taken or will take in my life. Thus if Lightroom breaks down on me I […]

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