Posts Tagged ‘defect’

Lightroom Crash Worries Me

December 15, 2009

Perhaps this integrated approach to image management has its downside.

I was using my newly acquired skills with the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to try “dodging” an over-exposed portion of a picture.

From This ...

Without any warning the image portion went completely black and Lightroom hung. It was unresponsive to keyboard or mouse.

To This

I had to terminate the Lightroom process. I rebooted my machine (Windows XP, Lightroom 2.5). Everything seemed fine after I restarted but I backed up and optimized my catalog to be on the safe side. The incident wasted 10 to 15 minutes and increased my blood pressure.

I expect Lightroom ran out of memory: a memory leak. I’d been using it for some time without restarting. I read somewhere that the advanced editing tool use a lot of memory. I had not used them much before.

The problem started me thinking that maybe it is not a good idea to combine my photo management database and most of my photo editing in one application. If the editing component crashes it could easily corrupt the catalog database. For performance reasons database applications often delay writing their buffers to disk. The corruption may not show up for some time.

In the old days when I used Thumbs Plus I would edit a picture in Photoshop. Photoshop was a separate operating system process. So it was very unlikely that a Photoshop crash could affect the Thumbs plus (Microsoft Access) database.

Almost 30 years after the PC was introduced software is still unreliable and always will be. It’s written by humans and it’s fiendishly complex. I wonder if I am putting too much reliance on one piece of software (Lightroom) and it will come back to haunt me one day.

As the Thais say, I “think too much.”

Lightroom 2.5 BSOD

December 6, 2009

Yesterday I was quietly using Lightroom 2.5 on my Windows XP laptop. I shut it down as normal. But this time something caused the infamous Windows “Blue Screen of Death”. The screen blanked too quickly for me to see the reason. Windows restarted normally and I started Lightroom again.

My heart sank because it opened a catalog with no pictures in it. My first thought was that my catalog had evaporated. Then I realised that it had opened a default blank catalog and not the last one it had opened.

I opened my working catalog and all seemed fine but for the fact that my customised nameplate and panel end marks were set to the Lightroom defaults. Upon a closer examination I found that none of my plugins were registered either.

I added back my nameplate and panel end marks and started to reload my plugins. Then I saw that the once I purchased from Jeff Friedl (Picasa and Flickr Uploaders, Metadata Presets and so on) were all unregistered. I was wondering if I had saved the registration information – the receipt numbers from Paypal when I made my donations.)

Then it dawned on me – the problem was that Lightroom’s preferences file had evaporated. That’s a separate file called Lightroom 2 Preferences.agprefs in the directory C:\Documents and Settings\BKKPhotographer\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Preferences. Windows hides all the folders in the Application Data tree by default so I had to hunt for it.

I had a backup of the file in a ZIP archive stored by my Config Backup plugin ( I restored that file and everything was back to normal. It seems that Jeff Friedl stores plugin registration information in this file.

The problem is that I have no idea what went wrong. Cosmic rays? A transient disk failure? I’ve exited Lightroom without problems hundreds of times in the six months I have had this PC. What changed?

I could have searched around for some Windows dump file but I don’t think it would have been illuminating.

I doubt “Get a Mac” would be a solution: they have fallible hardware too. It could have been a lot worse. It was a reminder that even with up-to-date equipment and software you can lose everything with no warning. Much as I dislike it I must think like an IT Manager if I want to keep my work safe.

Lightroom 2.4 Scare

October 28, 2009

Lightroom Hang
Yesterday afternoon I was processing my photos from my trip to Immigration using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.4. I was using my normal multi-pass workflow which has worked well for me.

Delifrance Lunch


I was in Library Loupe mode about to enter a title and caption to this photo about my lunch at Delifrance.

Then Lightroom stopped working.

When I clicked on it the title bar changed from its normal black to blue (Adobe must do some Windows user interface funnies to get that black colour) but that’s all it would do.

Lightroom was not consuming much CPU and I was able to take this screen shot when I decided it was never going to talk to me again. It was not a particularly large shoot – only about 100 pictures. It has handled several times this number without a problem in the past.

I have plenty of disk space and 2GB of memory. I guess it ran out of some resource.

I terminated the process, restarted Lightroom and did a catalog database check, backup and optimize. Lightroom is back to normal now but I am worried the catalog is corrupted in some way. Desktop databases typically do not like it when you terminate their process before they have had a chance to post their buffers. This isn’t Oracle or DB/2!

I checked that the previous photo I had modified had its data as I expected it.

Are there any other tools I can use to check the catalog? I don’t want to be using a catalog that has problems and will fail more seriously.

Maybe unfairly I tend to blame MS Windows. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to follow Jeff Friedel, ditch the ball and chain and escape Windows.

Canon EOS-7D Problem

October 28, 2009

Canon just issued a service notice for the new EOS-7D. It says that under “certain conditions” (unspecified) in continuous shooting mode slight traces of the previous image may appear on a subsequent image. They apologised profusely and promised a firmware update to fix the problem.

Here is a link to the service notice (USA).

Camera firmware is getting so complex now that this kind of bug will appear more often from all manufacturers. I think software QC still trails hardware by miles.

Of course, as a Frugal Photographer I am delighted at the news. Another reason why I can tell myself I shouldn’t buy this camera that I crave!

File Unsupported or Damaged

September 19, 2009

Unsupported or Damaged File in Lightroom

I exported two photos from Lightroom and made a panorama of them in Photoshop CS4.

That worked fine as it always does. Lightroom automatically imported the panorama – a JPG file – and I stacked it with the originals. I have done this many times with no errors.

Later I saw a little error icon in the top right of the thumbnail of the panorama in Grid view. I was able to load the panorama in Loupe View but I think I was looking at the 1:1 preview.

Lightroom 2.4 complained that the panorama it imported is “appears to be unsupported or damaged”.

Which for heavens sake? It’s important!

And what do you mean by “apppears to be”? Either it is or it isn’t. Geez.

How could Lightroom have imported it if it is unsupported?

I opened the panorama in Photoshop. Photoshop read the file just fine. I re-saved it – after making a backup of the original. Lightroom detected the file change and re-read it with no problems. Lightroom was happy again.

I hate these vague error messages with no guidance on what to do. I wonder what got Lightroom upset.

Lightroom 2.5 and Camera Raw 5.5 Updates

September 17, 2009

I am downloading the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.5 update and the Adobe Camera Raw 5.5 update. That’s 139MB + 83MB = 222MB across the Pacific Ocean to support a couple of new cameras (that I don’t have) and fix a couple of minor defects that I have never encountered.

Is it worth it, I ask myself? Lightroom is part of the core software that I’d find it hard to live without so I want to keep it current. I hope the update doesn’t break anything like my plugins.

I wonder how the Lightroom team decides what bugs to fix in a point release. The two bugs they chose seem minor.

My grumbles about the previous upgrades still apply. Adobe isn’t listening to me. 😦

See the Lightroom 2.5 release notes here.

Lightroom Keywording Bug

August 4, 2009

I have become the victim of my complex Lightroom keywording scheme.  It’s grown to over 8,000 keywords (including synonyms). I organized them into a complex hierarchy to enable me to find photographs by two major criteria:

  • WHERE it was taken.
  • WHAT it is of.

I can go into more detail of the structure and the reasons for it in another post. Most of the time it words very well and I can keyword my pictures down to a huge degree of detail.

I wanted to mention here a bug in Lightroom that can be hugely frustrating. What happens is that I add an already existing keyword to a picture but Lightroom creates a new keyword for it instead.

It happens for a small number of keywords. The example I present is for a “Mazda 3” automobile.

The keyword for Mazda 3 is actually deep in the VEHICLES top-level hierarchy in my keywording scheme. The hiewrarchy is


However carefully I apply that keyword, Lightroom invariably creates a NEW keyword in the wrong hierarchy:


I do not know why it chooses that particular position. Other hierarchies have a similar structure, for example VEHICLES > AIR.

It does not happen for all keywords – else my tree would be in a real mess. It seems to happen for 1 or 2 character leaves. It happens for the Mazda 6 – but you don’t see many in Thailand. I have also had it happen for models of Hino truck which are two letters, e.g. FE or FF.

I avoid photographing Mazda 3s so as not to have to clear up the mess.

I find I have made the problem worse since I added another level to the tree structure for certain vehicle manufacturers. Companies like Mercedes-Benz have many model names for their cars, buses, coaches, and commercial vehicles. To make things clearer when I browse the tree I added categories CAR, BUS-COACH, TRUCK. I did the same for some other manufacturers like Volvo. I do not export those names – they’re only there to make the tree easier for me to read.

Now when I see a Volvo 940 and add the 940 keyword under Volvo it ends up keyworded as a Mercedes-Benz CAR with a new keyword.

Clearly I have exceeded the design specs of the keywording process either in number of keywords or the breadth of my trees. It is failing in a strange way – not a crash, but a logical error. At least it is reproducible: not caused by an alpha particle.

Maybe I have to reduce the depth of my keyword tree. Lightroom seems to have no problem with the number of keywords, but once you allow users to build trees it gets hairy. (To mix my metaphors shamelessly).

I could circumvent the problem if Lightroom had an option to prevent users from adding new keywords in the Keywording panel. I suggested that weeks ago here.

Lightroom “Remembers” Too Much

July 15, 2009
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This is a bug in Lightroom. It deleted the folder 2009-07 when it moved the contents to another drive. (Note: Lightroom only supports MOVING a picture. It doesn’t support physical copies (as opposed to virtual copies.)

Lightroom re-created 2009-07 when I imported another picture to a sub-folder. The folder display on the left correctly shows that 2009-07 has no contents.

But Grid View shows the thumbnails. I can open each “ghost” image in Loupe View, but if I go to Develop, as soon as my mouse moves towards the Develop panels on the right Lightroom realises its error and the picture disappears. I can do this for every ghost image until the folder shows it is empty.

That’s very strange behaviour. I hope it isn’t evidence of a corrupted database.

Please let me know if you can reproduce this with Lightroom 2.4. I use a PC. Does it happen on the Mac?