Lightroom CC / 6's dialog for import as DNG.

Lightroom CC / 6 Changes to Copy as DNG

Lightroom CC / 6 has made a change to the way it handles importing via the Copy as DNG command.  It’s just a little tweak, really, but it may have a positive impact on your import process.

Lightroom CC / 6's dialog for import as DNG.

The data copy and DNG conversion processes have been split into two separate steps.  Prior to Lightroom CC, Lightroom would copy a file to the drive, convert it to DNG, then copy the next file to the drive.  This meant that the DNG conversion process significantly slowed importing data from the card, because you had to wait for the conversion to complete before it would copy the next file.

Now with Lightroom CC, using Copy as DNG first copies all files off your memory card to your target location, then runs the convert to DNG process in the background.  As soon as the data is finished copying, you can move on to importing your next memory card without waiting for the DNG conversion to complete.

Now if only we could get support for importing from multiple cards at once…

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9 thoughts on “Lightroom CC / 6 Changes to Copy as DNG”

  1. Seems to make the whole process much slower. And isn’t there one big wasted step because it spends time creating previews for all the RAW files when it is just going to have to throw those away and create previews for the DNG files?

    1. It should only need to recreate previews when something about the processing changes. If you start with an unprocessed CR2, and produce an unprocessed DNG from it, then the image hasn’t changed and LR should simply use the same preview it started with. Are you seeing a different behavior?

  2. New DNG conversion process is EXTREMELY slow. Even slower than previous version. As a result, my workflow from Photo Mechanic to Lightroom has been completely compromised. Not happy at all with this “upgrade” and wishing that I would have waited. Workflow for jpg’s is fine but Raw processing is as slow as ever.

    1. Hey Shawn. Other than starting the DNG conversion after the import completes rather than during, nothing in the conversion code or scheduling has changed vs version 5. Which is really too bad, because in my experience you’re right in that it’s way too slow. The difference between what you’re seeing and what I’m seeing is that for me it’s always been this slow. If you like, the free Adobe DNG converter is much faster. It has some CPU scheduling tweaks that make it complete in four or five hours what LR would take overnight and into the next day to process. Just Google “Adobe DNG converter download.” It’s free.

  3. Another problem I’ve noticed with this new copy/convert process is that if you move your files to a different location in the library (the ones it’s already copied) while the import job is still running, it has problems when the convert to DNG process starts because it doesn’t know where the file is anymore, so those ones remain as .CR2 (or whatever they were prior to conversion). It’s messy. I hope they fix this in a new release.

    1. Hey David. Yeah, it makes sense that moving the files around before conversion completes might make LR lose track of where things are stored. I’ll see if I can replicate this and file a bug for it.

      Not having to wait for conversions to complete before you can start downloading your next card is a big deal for photographers who deal with many memory cards. Personally, though, I do all my downloading via PhotoMechanic. It supports importing from multiple cards in parallel – something LR does not do.

  4. LR6 has been buggy about several things for me – one is tonight, when importing a single NEF file and converting to DNG, after the image was converted and previewed, it gave an error message saying Lightroom could not find the DNG file. It did this two times in separate downloads. Then I imported about 350 images from the same camera and it worked fine. I agree that the new procedure of copying the RAW files then converting to DNG and deleting the RAW, while supposed to be faster, is slower on my laptop.

    1. Hi Britt,
      Thanks for sharing. That’s an odd issue you’re running into with Lightroom not finding the file. My workflow has always been to download and then convert to DNG in two separate steps, so I wouldn’t even have a chance to run into that issue. (In fact I do all my downloading with Photo Mechanic, so that goes double true.) It adds some complexity, but if your goal is to have the absolute fastest DNG conversion possible, consider using the free Adobe DNG converter. The CPU tuning on that tool is a little more aggressive than on Lightroom’s DNG conversions.

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