A faster way to load CF Cards from weddings?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by francie_baltazar, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. I shot two weddings this weekend and spent the entire day yesterday loading them into LR - I had about 2500 files between the two weddings and it took forever. I am wondering if there is any way to speed this up. Currently I am loading directly into LR and I'm using Sandisk Extreme III and IV cards - shooting RAW files?
    If someone has an idea about how to speed this process up - I would be really greatful. - thanks, francie
  2. I can tell you that with a similar number images RAW/Jpeg and card types it takes me about an hour to unload them from any of my cameras, connected directly by USB to the computer and into LR. Anyone?
  3. Use multiple Firewire 800 card readers to simultaneously download several UDMA (Sandisk Extreme IV) cards. Not sure if LR can do simultaneous downloads (I don't use it), but other programs like Photo Mechanic definitely can. While downloads are not truly "simultaneous" because of bandwidth limitations, at least you can be doing other things while the process proceeds automatically.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There is no way to speed it up if you are using Lightroom. The reason that it takes so long has nothing to do with the ingestion (the Firewire 800 reader will *not* help) but instead is the thumbnail generation. If you can speed up the thumbnail generation, you can then try to speed up ingestion, but that will require a faster computer.
    It won't be any faster to download outside of LR because you still have to go back to LR to generate the thumbnails and you will have the same wait - this is going to be even more time-consuming.
    One thing you can do is work on the files in LR while the downloading is going on. While you can probably edit faster than the ingestion process, if you get it started, then put your gear away, there will probably be enough to work on when you get back to the computer.
  5. Ah, yes .. that is one of the reasons I rejected Lightroom when it first came out. You can still use another program to download the files and then let LR do its thing while you do other things. In my case the bottleneck is simultaneously writing to an external hard drive for backup.
  6. I'm running a quad core, Windows 7, X64 with 8 gb's of ram. No problems. I shoot about 400 to 500 shots per wedding, takes about 20 minutes to upload. I'm running CS4, not Lightroom.
  7. Thanks for all the feedback. I do edit while it loads, however, I edit much faster than it loads. It takes about 3 hours for an 8G card... If anyone has any other ideas - I would appreciate it...
  8. I load an 8GB (600+ images) in about 20 minutes.
    Here is my process.
    1) Insert card, and in Lightroom > Import from Disk (or Device)
    2) IMPORTANT: Bottom Left of Import Dialogue Window: Make sure Initial Previews is set to Minimal. If this is set to Standard or 1:1, it can significantly increase import times.
    3) That's it.
  9. copy it to the HD first before loading them to LR.
  10. Unfortunately is seems Lightroom has set a new standard how slow software can be and still be accepted :)
    I load all my CF cards into a Hyperdrive and then when it's done (Hyperdrive Colorspace UDMA does 2GB/min the older ones 1GB/min) I import/ingest them all into the computer which doesn't require me being there. The hyperdrive is portable so I could start doing this while in the field or in the car on my way back.
    It also means I have a backup of the raw files straight away. The hyperdrives are good because after transfering the files from the CF card they verify the information before being done with it.
    There are some stuff to set up in LR to optimize it for speed. Can't remember off hand as LR is not exactly my favorite piece of software. But have a look it this for starters: http://www.lightroomqueen.com/blog/2009/05/02/hurry-up-lightroom-the-best-speed-tips/
  11. LR import is slow from CF cards but fast from local disk. The most efficient process is probably something like this:
    1. Use a fast throughput card reader (i.e. one with Firewire 800 or USB 2 interface, and a high capacity buffer). It will be more expensive than cheaper readers but pays for itself instantly in efficiency. If you want to be really fast, get a reader than can do cards in parallel.
    2. Copy all the file to local disk in whatever folder structure you prefer. For me, 12 Gb of cards takes roughly 15-20 minutes.
    3. Back up your local copy to at least one (ideally more than one) external disk.
    4. Do a LR import from your local copy with previews to minimal and files stored in current location, not copied. 2500 files should import very quickly, even if applying meta data at the same time - from memory, it's around 90 seconds. Thumbnails are generated in the background, not as a foreground task, so don't slow it down.
  12. Ditto Neil. Brilliant.
  13. It may be your USB connection. On a USB 1.0 or 1.1 connection the speeds are pretty slow (blazing fast for the day but just one of your memory cards is bigger than most hard drives of the day). USB 2.0 is much faster, and 3.0 is blazing for todays standards. 2.0 is very common, but there's a big drawback. The speed of the connection is limited to the slowest device connected. In other words if you have other nonessential USB devices unplug them when not in use. USB 3.0 can multi-speed.
    Last paragraph of Overview.
  14. okay - so I think I am getting a better picture here - I have PC and I do not have a 2.0 or 3.0 USB so that is what is SOOOO Slow - I will have to have that upgraded in my PC - so it's not just an easy fix... I will be keeping all the data so my husband (PC dude who built my computer) can do the upgrades accordingly. I also will unplug the other devises when transfering - that may be part of the problem too. thanks a million for all the information - I knew my Photo.net friends would have the answers... francie
  15. Francie:

    Are you plugging your camera into your computer or are you plugging your CF card into a card-reader that is plugged into your computer? Using a card-reader will be much faster even if all you have is the old USB 1.0 or 1.1
  16. The fastest CompactFlash card reader I've found is the Viking PC Card (PCMCIA) adapter. They have it at Amazon. It plugs into your laptop's PC card slot and you slide your CF card into it. No need to carry around an external USB or firewire reader and cable. And it is fast, the fastest reader I've ever used. Plus now my PC Card slot has a purpose.
  17. Using a decent card reader (x4) I can DL and import about 3k images in about an hour or so. Of course, while it works on importing the second, third and fourth cards, I tag the images from the first (when I don't have a previous job waiting).
  18. WOW I didn't know this was a problem! I simply use my Sansdisk reader (USB 2.0). I download my CF cards to a desktop folder (named last name of the wedding). It takes less than 10 to 15 min to transfer. Before i open up my CS3, I copy the entire folder (not the files) and paste it to one of my 4 TB Rosewill SATA drives. I then start the editing off of my harddrive. v/r Buffdr
  19. So my husband who built the computer tells me I have 2.0 USB in fact I have 6 of them - so I am going to get some card readers and import them all at the same time to see it that works. Anyone have a reccmendations on FAST card reades - or know of a card readers that takes mutiple CF cards? Need it for Desk top PC. thanks again for all the help.
  20. So I just purchase 4 Lexpro memory card readers that can be daisy chained together - I am shooting 10 senior sessions this weekend - I'll try it out before my marathon wedding weekend the following weekend - I'll let everyone know how it goes. I am hopeful this will work...
  21. Francie, just change Initial Previews to Minimal. There should be a drastic change on import time, especially if this was set at 1:1.
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    One more time...the problem is LR, not card reader speed. The comment by BC Photo is the one that will most likely make a difference in your ingestion speed.
    USB can only import so much at once and one good card reader should max out the channel. I don't see how multiple card readers can go any faster given that they all go through the same USB interface unless you have multiple USB cards.
  23. Are you using Lightroom 2? I believe it is more efficient than Lightroom 1. Also if you have Lightroom configured to convert your RAW files to DNG it will take a LOT longer to download. Make sure you are simply downloading the RAW file without converting to DNG (go to Library tab and make sure "Convert Photo to DNG" doesn't have a check mark next to it). Taking all day to download sounds like something is definately wrong (is your hard drive running OK and not near full?). You are using faster cards than I do (I use Sandisk Ultra II cards) and I don't think I ever take more than an hour or two to download.
  24. Jeff:

    I think she was initially downloading straight from the camera using no card reader at all. But you're right about speeding up LR, absolutely.
  25. This is what I do (Maybe helps...hope so):
    Load CF card into reader.
    Open up external HD folder that's on my desktop.
    Get to the folder for the gig that I have set up on the hd.
    When the CF Card icon pops up on the screen, open it.
    Drag the folder for the card to the external hard drive window.
    I don't use cs4, bridge and I don't have lightroom.
    4 gig cards takes from 4 to six min.
    Loading 3 or 4 cards gives me time to enjoy a glass of wine!
  26. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If you had Lightroom, you would understand that it's the image preview generation that makes her downloads take so long.
  27. That's a good reason I won't use lightroom.
  28. Ditto Neil
    Insert CF card with RAW files, upload to HD; 15mins for 8GB, then import into Lightroom 30 secs.
    I thought I had a long wait.
  29. 30 gig of images (the penalty of using a 24 meg camera): Downloading onto a hard drive and then and placing in LR2 takes my machine less than 30 minutes total. I have 4 Lexar Pro FW 800 readers daisy chained together to read multiple Extreme IV CF gig cards ... don't know the technical aspects of it, but 1 card or 4 the simultaneous download into one folder takes pretty much the same amount of time ... never more than 8 to 10 minutes for 30 gig.
    The speed of the Card itself CAN affect download time, as CAN the card reader. My assistant could believe how fast I could load her cards on my machine, so got a new reader and solved part of her problem.
    As to LR2, usually 15 minutes to load full res previews of 800 images. Un-check the junk and load. Time is money and RAM is cheap. The speed of LR with all the new tools and ability to directly edit in Photoshop without leaving LR makes it infinitely faster than Bridge and ACR for the total processing cycle.
  30. If you had Lightroom, you would understand that it's the image preview generation that makes her downloads take so long.​
    Preview generation can be turned off or made to run in background - as mentioned in one or two previous posts. Preferences > Import > JPG Preview - None/Small/Medium/Large. Also, JPG render size can be overridden in catalog preferences: Catalog Settings > File Handling > JPG Preview Size.
    No reason why anyone would have to wait for preview to render during import. The main thing is to get files imported and tagged correctly. If full size previews are needed they can be done as a job later.
    USB can only import so much at once and one good card reader should max out the channel. I don't see how multiple card readers can go any faster given that they all go through the same USB interface unless you have multiple USB cards.​
    Most USB card readers spend their time idling. Their potential bandwidth is rarely reached as the slowest part of the I/O process is reading from the SSD chip, which is many times slower than the bus speed of the USB channel. Parallel readers are more efficient as they run each I/O cycle out of phase so the USB bus is kept at capacity.
  31. okay - so here is the update - I bought 3 Lexar Firewire 800's only to find out I did not have the connectors... so I returned them and bought 3 Lexar highspeed USB -card readers - these are designed for laptops... we just loaded 1500 images in under 4 minutes to my hard drive - then loaded them in about 10 minutes into light room... A really BIG SHOUT OUT to all who helped out!! I just saved myself HOURS in my work flow. Oh just an FYI I do have a 6 - 2.0 USB ports so it is really fast... thanks all... francie - still like that daisy chain design - but need to add a Firewire card for that - so this is going to work in the mean time...
  32. I have to agree with Mark T and Neil they have many great points.
    I NEVER download directly into LR, especially weddings, too risky. Download to your HD, perform your backups and then leave the LR or whatever software you are using, for the final step. I have heard nightmare stories of data loss via this process and it does take a lot longer.
    Additionally, as time goes by you may want to get out of shooting an entire wedding in RAW. What I do now is ONLY shoot the formals and portraits in RAW, the rest is jpeg for me. It's faster and it forces you to improve your shooting. Get the exposure right inside the camera so you don't have to sit behind the computer too long.

    Good luck, and make sure you post what you decide to do and how it works for you.
  33. Francie I just read this and YAY!!! I love this community, we ALL learn! I too bought those readers a couple of years ago and I had to buy the adapter to get it to work on my laptop.
  34. To bump this as I was doing a search, I use Photomechanic to ingest images onto my computer. They are all tagged, etc. as they are copied to my HD. Faster then LR. Not even close. I also have heard good things about the Imagerouter from Delkin, but it is HUGE. I just use a few usb readers on my laptop and go. Firewire won't work on a laptop that has it built in because they have 4 pin connectors and you need the 6 or 9 pin to power the firewire readers.

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