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Lightroom Frustration – Rollback from LR 6.2.X to 6.1.1…

by on Nov.01, 2015, under Life, Photography, Technology

Lately I’ve been dealing with some serious frustration with Adobe Lightroom. I’ve had so many issues and in the end after trying many things to attempt to solve my problems I’ve given up in frustration and rolled back to the previous stable version of Lightroom (6.11).

If you want to cut to the chase and just learn how to do the rollback then those follow right now. Read after if you want to know the back story and a good list of very useful techniques to try and optimise Lightroom performance…

How to Rollback to Lightroom 6.1.1 or CC 2015.1

The instructions below refer to both the standalone Lightroom 6 and the Creative Cloud 2015.

1) Uninstall Lightroom 6.2.
On Mac, in Finder go to Applications -> Adobe Lightroom -> Uninstall Adobe Lightroom.
On Windows, use the Add/Remove Programs feature.

2) Download Lightroom 6.0.
You will need to download two files. You need both the Adobe Lightroom 6.0 Installer (Lightroom_6_LS_11 file) and also the Lightroom 6.1.1/2015.1.1 updater.

3) Run the Lightroom 6.0 Installer. If you are an Adobe CC subscriber when it requires you to sign in with your Adobe ID, it will determine if you are a CC subscriber; and if so, it will enable the Dehaze feature.

4) Run the Lightroom 6.1.1 Patch Updater.

Needless to say if you are an Adobe CC member you should NOT run the Lightroom updater in the Creative Cloud Manager.

What Lightroom Frustration?

When Adobe released Lightroom 6.2 I dutifully updated Lightroom soon after the Creative Cloud Manager said an update was available.

Actually at that time no massive frustration actually occurred – unlike a number of other people I was having no major issues with 6.2. Perhaps it did run a tiny fraction sluggish at times (e.g. when doing lots of adjustment brush edits or laying down lots of Spot Removal tool pins) however I’ve experienced those before with previous versions.

The only real frustration with 6.2 was the changed import tool and the removal of features I used (like Move).

So eventually Adobe released the “fix” which came in the form of 6.2.1 and my upgrade again was smooth.

What I didn’t account for was upgrading my operating system to Apple‘s new OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Here is where disaster struck and the frustration really begins…

Some Symptoms:

– sometimes Lightroom would just appear to hang.
– sometimes some parts of the UI didn’t work as expected/supposed to.
– sometimes very laggy UI/stuff doesn’t refresh properly (seconds to minutes to wake up).
for example in the Library module when attempting to click on one of those little triangles to open up a folder of images – it would just not do it
likewise in the develop module clicking on one of the triangles on the right to open up a develop panel – nothing…
also going into the Library View Options and attempting to change certain preference settings – nothing – or you’d have to wait a minute for the change to take effect.
– sometimes the cursor would turn into that little line with the up and down arrows (like you’re trying to resize a panel) and you then couldn’t click on most of the UI items – however you could still click on images in grid mode and change modes.
– sometimes right click would stop working.
– sometimes that larger message text overlay (e.g. when you go into full screen mode and it says to press Command F to get out) which appears in the bottom middle of the screen would come up but not ever go away (even when you switch between modules, etc).
– sometimes you couldn’t get to the menu bar at the top of the screen at all.

often the fix for the above would be to quit Lightroom and restart and it would work again for a little while until one of the above wierdnesses would happen and then it would be all over.

– sometimes Lightroom would hang on quit (and you’d then have to force quit).

What Did I Try to Fix This

I’m sorry Adobe – I really did try to do the right thing and get your software to work. However some combination of both your 6.2.X software and Apple’s El Capitan really doesn’t mix well!

So I spent a number of days in frustration pulling my hair out trying to fix this thing or at least getting it to be somewhat stable and usable.

Things I tried to resolve the issues – none of which worked. However these are all very good things to know because many of these techniques are designed to both optimise and improve Lightroom performance in general.

1) Deleting the Lightroom Catalog Previews file (Lightroom Catalog Previews.lrdata) (and restarting Lightroom – and sigh… letting Lightroom rebuild previews…).

2) File -> Optimise Catalog…

3) Starting Lightroom whilst holding down Opt (Alt) Shift and reseting the Lightroom Preferences.

This was very painful as I had to redo so many things to get back to my normal workflow. It doesn’t just reset all the settings in Lightroom -> Preferences… I also had to re-licence and re-authorise many of my Lightroom Plugins and Web Templates (I use quite a few from Jeffrey Friedl, Timothy Armes and others). I also had to redo all my settings for the UI and the Develop Panels and the Adjustment Brushes and so forth. I’m still not sure I’ve got everything back to normal.

4) Un-installing and re-installing Lightroom (using the Creative Cloud Manager).

5) Lightroom (Mac) or Edit (PC) -> Preferences, and on the General tab, uncheck “Show Add Photos”.

6) Lightroom (Mac) or Edit (PC) -> Preferences, and on the Performance tab, uncheck “Use Graphics Processor”.

7) Lightroom (Mac) or Edit (PC) -> Preferences, and on the File Handling tab, increase the Camera RAW Cache Settings to much larger values (e.g. 20GB, 50GB).

8) Clear History for a large set of images from my Catalog.

I currently have 132,685 images in my Catalog and my Lightroom Catalog.lrcat file was sitting at 22.5GB!. I selectively pared this down to 17.9GB (and I could definitely do more). I’ll write up a separate blog post on this technique because it is quite useful and somewhat unknown, and provides a good way to clean up some of that cruft which can build up in your Catalog file.

Anyway – now that I’ve rolled back to 6.1.1 (CC 2015.1) my frustration has ended and all seems back to somewhat “normal” in my Lightroom world…

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Review: Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release…

by on Aug.10, 2013, under Life, Photography, Technology

I’ve used a number of wired and wireless shutter remotes with my various Nikon D-SLR’s – this is a review (and comparison) of my latest acquisition in this space – the Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release.

Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release

Firstly a list of some common functions found in most programmable timer shutter releases:

  • Self Timer – Just like the self timer on your camera. The timer remote switch allows you to set a variable delay (usually in 1 second increments up to 99 hours, 99 minutes and 99 seconds)
  • Interval Timer – Can be set to any time period up to 100 hours as well. If you set it to 10 minutes, for example, one exposure will be taken every 10 minutes until either the storage runs out or the Exposure Count limit has been reached
  • (Long) Exposure Length – Allows you to take timed exposures (usually from 1 second in 1 second increments up to 99 hours, 99 minutes and 99 seconds)
  • Exposure Count Setting – This setting allows you to set the number of exposures that will be taken (usually a set number from 1 up to 199 or more or infinite). For example, if you set it to 30 times, then 30 exposures will be taken

Secondly a list of some of the previous remotes that I’ve used or am still using with my Nikon D600 (and D7000 – they both use the same remote shutter plug):

  • The Nikon Wireless Remote Control ML-L3. Uses the built in IR receiver in many Nikon D-SLR’s to perform simple functions (basically trigger the shutter). It is distance limited and work by line of sight and if you want one I’d suggest buying one of the knock offs you can find on eBay for less than $5 delivered rather than the $30 original
  • The Aputure Wired Timer Remote. It allows you to set the self timer, exposure length, frequency, and exposure count and it also allows continuous shooting or bulb exposures. Time can be preset from 1 second up to 99 hours. The LCD panel can be backlit for night time shooting. Basically this is a low cost (less than $20 on eBay) copy of the more expensive Nikon MC-36 remote. If you want a very functional wired remote these are an excellent choice
  • The Yongnuo Wireless Timer Remote Control Shutter Release MC-36R. This has the exact same control unit as the Aputure/Nikon MC-36 above in a wireless form. It has a 2.4GHz RF wireless receiver which plugs into the camera (and the unit can sit in the camera hotshoe) – this means the camera can be triggered from long distances (usually somewhere from 50-100 metres away) and is not restricted to line of sight. Most forms of this model can also be supplied with a wired cable (for a specific camera series) allowing the control unit to be plugged directly into the camera to use it as a wired remote
  • The Nikon Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1b. This dongle allows you to control your camera from your iPhone or Android device – it’s kinda good (you get to see remote live view – a few secs delayed) but it’s flaky and not particularly reliable
  • Triggertrap Mobile. This is a neat combination of a relatively inexpensive ($10 for Full or Free basic version) iPhone (IOS) or Android app and some relatively inexpensive hardware (dongle+cable $20) to connect your phone to your camera to trigger it in a variety of programmable ways

The Phottix Aion Wireless Timer and Shutter Release so far looks very good – and has a couple of advantages over the previous specific purpose programmable intervalometer/timer shutter remotes I’ve used/owned:

  1. It can do 0.1sec increment shot duration and intervals (the previous ones I’ve used can only do to 1 sec). However I tested this with my D7000 and the fastest reliable shutter length I could achieve was 1/3 (0.33) seconds – in fact for the timer settings from 0.2 to 0.9 sec you basically need to add 0.1 sec to the setting you use because this is the actual shutter time. Still 1/3 sec onwards at 0.1 sec increments is a lot better than whole second increments
  2. Uses standard AAA batteries (and I can use rechargables) in both the transmitter (control unit) and the receiver (camera end) – the other ones typically use the special (& expensive) CR2 battery
  3. The control unit can be powered off (there is a power switch) – all the other models I’ve used cannot (only the receiver unit could be) – the batteries lasted for ages anyway so that wasn’t a huge deal but often the buttons would get randomly pressed in your bag and you’d take it out to use it to find it’s running a program with some weird settings
  4. Has a long exposure HDR bracketing mode (which isn’t as useful as it sounds – since it’s fastest shutter speed is 1/10th (1/3rd) of a sec and whole stop increments from there so is only useful in pretty dark conditions)
  5. Came with all three connector cables for all types of Nikon D-SLR camera models (the round one (N1) for pro bodies, N2 for the older D80/D70s and the rectangular (N3) for the consumer bodies) so can be used with other Nikon cameras (mine or other peoples) – I’ve often been out shooting with friends who have forgotten to bring a remote shutter release which would allow them to shoot bulb mode long exposures (e.g. for light painting) and it would have been handy for me to have lent them something which would work with their camera type
  6. Has a 5 shot continuous mode as well as a 2 second delay mode (which I don’t think I’d use personally however…)

 

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Nikon D600 Viewfinder Light Leak Update…

by on Feb.11, 2013, under Life, Photography, Technology

In my previous post I indicated I might do some further testing to see whether the light was only leaking in during the moments the mirror is moving up and down.

Turns out this isn’t the case…

The following three shots were taken under the same conditions – low light room with the viewfinder cover removed – camera sitting on the desk with lens cap on and a manual shot at 30 seconds @ f/8 and ISO 100

In this first shot I waited about a second after the shutter is triggered and then shone the LED torch directly into the viewfinder for most of the exposure (20 seconds?) but ensuring I turned it off before the end (before the mirror flips up again) – as you can see it’s leak city

NIKON D600 + 20.0 mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm, 30 sec at f/8, ISO 100

This second is the reference frame – same exposure but no torch lighting the viewfinder hole – all black as expected

NIKON D600 + 20.0 mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm, 30 sec at f/8, ISO 100

and this third is similar to the first in that I triggered the shutter – waited about 5 seconds and then shone the torch briefly at the viewfinder (from further away and with less intensity) for only a few seconds (less than 5) and then stopped and waited for the rest of the 30 second exposure to complete

NIKON D600 + 20.0 mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm, 30 sec at f/8, ISO 100

as you can see even still a faint leak is registered

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Nikon D600 Light Leak through the Viewfinder Issue…

by on Feb.02, 2013, under Life, Photography, Technology

A couple of days ago I posted about a light leak issue I was having through the viewfinder with long exposures. I got a few responses from people I know and trust including

the purpose of the eyepiece blind is to prevent light entering the viewfinder to affect your image’s exposure settings, but when you’re making the exposure, the mirror is raised up against the focusing screen, preventing any light that might be entering though the viewfinder from entering the mirrorbox, and thus affecting the actual image that you’re shooting. That’s why the viewfinder blacks out during the actual moments of exposure

So I’d planned to investigate this further by doing some more test shots (with the screw in ten stop ND to exclude any possible light refraction and other issues with the mess of Lee filter stuff I usually shoot with – Lee filter holder with Bigstopper, GradND and the 105mm CPL on front) when another friend suggested a much simpler test 🙂

So…

I setup the test as follows – I waited till it was dark outside (night) and then setup my camera on my desk with the following settings:

– Lens cap on
– Camera body set to manual focus
– Manual in bulb mode with an Aperture of f/8 and ISO 100
– Used a remote interval timer set for an exposure of 3 minutes
– Long Exposure Noise Reduction OFF

All of the images below are straight out of camera RAW images converted to JPEG – no other adjustments made

This first exposure is the baseline – the room was darkened but I used the viewfinder cover to completely block out the viewfinder for the shot – the shot is completely black as expected – the only interesting fact is that the shot appears to have no noise (even at 100%) – nice (and only one hot pixel to be found)

NIKON D600 + 85.0 mm f/1.8 @ 85 mm, 180.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

This second shot is the same camera position, etc – the only difference is that I removed the viewfinder cover and shone an LED torch at the viewfinder from a slight angle from about 30cm away – draw your own conclusions…

NIKON D600 + 85.0 mm f/1.8 @ 85 mm, 180.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

I decided to follow up with a few more tests. I took two shots with the room lights on – the first with a dimmed setting; the second with the lights (LED downlights) up higher and with the camera angled at about 30-40 degrees so the back of the camera was pointing a little more up towards the ceiling so that some of the light might spill into the viewfinder but not be pointing directly into the viewfinder. I’ve included the second of those tests here but essentially they were both black like this

NIKON D600 + 85.0 mm f/1.8 @ 85 mm, 180.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

I then pointed the camera straight down on the desk so that the ceiling downlight shone down into the viewfinder – again I should be expecting a completely black image – you can see how that turned out…

NIKON D600 + 85.0 mm f/1.8 @ 85 mm, 180.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Lastly to exclude the effects of things like the sensor circuits heating up, etc (this was my sixth consecutive 3 minute exposure with almost no time between each) I took another shot with the room lights on but the viewfinder cover in place (in fact the camera was still in exactly the same position as the last shot – facing downwards on the desk with the downlight shining directly onto the back of the camera) and as you can see completely black again – and again even at 100% I see no evidence of noise (dark current, etc) and only just the one hot pixel

NIKON D600 + 85.0 mm f/1.8 @ 85 mm, 180.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

So seems reasonably conclusive to me. I do however intend on doing a further test – I want to see if the light leak might be happening only during the moments the mirror is being raised or lowered and so I’ll try some tests like:

– dark room, start the exposure with the viewfinder exposed but don’t start shining a light at the viewfinder till after the mirror flips up and also stop it before the mirror flips down
– as above but start the light before raising the mirror but stop before lowering
– ditto but start the light after the mirror raises and stop after the mirror drops

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Samsung TV and Streaming Media over Network (iomega NAS)…

by on Sep.07, 2012, under Life, Technology

I recently purchased a new Samsung Plasma Smart TV (E8000 Series 8) to integrate with my existing home technology setup – I inevitably came across a number of “teething” problems so I thought I’d write down some notes on problems and solutions for others who might experience the same issues.

I have a combination wired and wireless home network with a wired ethernet connection available to me where my home theatre (and this large screen Samsung TV) is located. I also have an iomega NAS (the iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive – Cloud Edition) on my home network which contains all manner of media including Music (an iTunes library), Pictures and Movies (mostly in avi, mov, flv or mkv format).

In addition to the normal CIFS/SMB/AFP/Bonjour/FTP/HTTP access methods the iomega NAS has a UPnP DLNA Audio/Video media server which supports streaming content to compatible clients. I’ve been using this capability in the past to stream content to my Popcorn Hour and WDTV Live network media players and since the Samsung Smart TV advertised DLNA compatibility I figured I’d be all good – just plug my ethernet cable into the TV and stream the content using the built in media player.

Problem #1: Streaming worked out of the box for Standard Definition AVI files but try and play a High Definition file and you just get a message “unsupported format”

Strange thing is if you plug a USB hard drive directly into one of the TV’s USB ports it plays everything fine – it just didn’t work over the network!

Some Google searching and there are many other comments indicating that the Samsung TV can only play these files from a local USB hard drive but not streamed over the network, others mentioned what I thought may be an answer – many suggestions about renaming the files from .mkv to .avi and they’d work – this did not work for me – in fact the Samsung TV wouldn’t even show those files anymore in it’s media browser.

Solution #1: Twonky Server

The solution is that the iomega NAS uses the Twonky Media Server software and you can directly configure this on your NAS if you go to it’s hidden management URL on your NAS and you can set it up so it works compatibly with your Samsung TV

– turn on your Samsung TV and go to the media player client and have it connect to your NAS (this is just so the NAS see’s your TV and it’s IP)
– on your computer go to http://YOUR-IOMEGA-NAS-IP:9000 in your web browser (e.g 192.168.0.XX:9000)
– select Twonky Media Settings -> Media Receivers
– in the list which appears you will need to find the entry for your Samsung TV (by it’s ethernet MAC address/IP Address – you can find these in your Samsung TV menus if you need to find out)
– for this entry change the menu item from “Generic Media Receiver” to “Samsung TV”
– click “Save Changes” and Restart

You should now be good to go – High Definition MKV’s play fine streaming over the network

Problem #2: No multi channel digital audio out on the SPDIF (optical digital audio) output

I have a home theatre receiver in my setup so I generally have all source components directed into it and then a HDMI output from the receiver to the TV. The Receiver handles all the audio/video switching and the playing and control of the audio. This has worked perfectly for me in the past and I’ve used an external standalone media player. With the Samsung Smart TV however I have the ability to play content directly within the TV (the AllShare Play DLNA media player component above along with the abundance of other streaming media apps it has access to – e.g. Foxtel, ABC iView, YouTube and so on).

The TV does however have an optical digital audio output (SP-DIF) so I connected this to one of the inputs on my home theatre receiver and I assumed I’d be good to go.

This works – however the TV appears to only send two channel linear PCM down this connection to the receiver and not the original 5.1 DD or DTS streams!

In the Samsung manual for the TV in the Digital Audio Out (Optical) section it notes:
• 5.1 CH (channel) audio is available when you connect the TV to an external device supporting 5.1 CH
• When the source is a digital component such as a DVD player/Blu-ray player/cable box/STB (Set-Top-Box) satellite receiver and you connected it to the TV via HDMI, you will only hear 2 CH audio from the home theatre receiver. If you want to hear 5.1 CH audio, connect the digital audio out jack from your DVD/Blu-ray/cable box/STB directly to an amplifier or home theatre

OK I get that – if I connect an external device to the TV (via HDMI) it only sends the audio out the optical digital out as 2.0 (so you should connect the digital audio out from those devices straight to the receiver – that’s what I do) – but what about the internal sources in the TV (like the free to air tuner and the built in media player) – shouldn’t it send 5.1 for those?

The only sound setting that is accessible on the Samsung display is ‘SPDIF’ (Menu -> Sound -> Additional Settings -> SPDIF Output) and this appears to be permanently set to PCM. There is a Dolby Digital option in the menu but it’s ‘greyed out’ and you can’t select it.

Solution #2: Wait till the source is actually playing before trying to change the settings

You’d think the TV would automatically switch the optical digital audio output to match the source being played but alas…

What you need to do is actually play the content in question (e.g. watch a free to air show which has 5.1 DD or play a media file with 5.1 DD or DTS content). Whilst it is playing hit the Menu button on the remote and go to Sound -> Additional Settings -> SPDIF Output. When you are there you will notice additional options become available in the menu including one which matches the audio being played (e.g. Dolby Digital or DTS) – you can then select that and that is what will be output on the optical output and your receiver should automatically switch to match.

I’m not sure if it was user error or not but I found I had to play a 5.1 Dolby Digital file first and enable the Dolby Digital option in the menu and then try another file which had 5.1 DTS and then enable the DTS option. I didn’t seem to be able to do the DTS one first.

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