Adobe Lightroom & Using Multiple Computers

Tethered Shooting in LightroomI have my photographs all in a single master Lightroom catalog not counting my yearly backup catalogues, and for me that works well.

My main computer is also my laptop and it’s getting on a bit now so I have started to think about either replacing it or supplementing it with a new desktop.

I’ll need to keep the laptop and would also like to use Lightroom on it too.

This brings up the issue of operating with two Lightroom catalogues and keeping work in sync.

After the Collingham show I decided to give a two catalogue two computer workflow ago.

I borrowed Caroline’s MacBookPro, logged in and created a blank Lightroom catalog, I then dragged and dropped my Lightroom settings folder into the Catalog folder from Dropbox where a script I have keeps it all in sync.

This then quickly and easily gave me a working environment just like my machine.

Now for the easy part, import the Collingham pictures and get editing.  I used my presets for an initial edit and gave them a quick rank, then selected my picks with the flag option.

Now to get them onto my main computer.

I exported all the photographs as a fresh catalog so as to preserve the original to the desktop folder on the laptop included raw files.

If I do adopt a two machine strategy I’ll create a shared area on the main desktop computer to put the files onto but for this test I just used AirDrop and dragged and dropped the exported folder to my main machine.

Now time to start work on my main machine.

First job was to launch Lightroom and import the catalogue and files, I now had everything up to date and in the master catalogue.  I then did a little editing on a couple of the picks.

Later that evening I picked up Caroline’s laptop and launched my Lightroom with the small catalogue just containing the Collingham pictures and reviewed them again.  I found a couple more picks and did a quick edit on them.

Now this was the interesting bit.  I had two Lightroom catalogues on two different computers, both with different edits.  Could Lightroom cope.

Once again I exported the Lightroom catalogue but this time only exported the database not any files, they were already on my main machine and if any metadata updates in the case of jpegs or dng’s had taken place the overwrite could loose me data (Note I sometimes shoot RAW + JPG but never just JPG).

Again I transferred the database over using airdrop, a very useful and fast way of transferring documents on a adhoc nature if your on the same local network.

Now for the import on my master catalogue, first job, backup my master catalogue, just in case it went horribly wrong.  Then for the import, how would it handle duplicate entries?

Dealing with duplicate files on importing another Catalogue
Dealing with duplicate files on importing another Catalogue

Well it turns out very well, as you can see above there is a tick box to preserve the duplicated files as a virtual copy.  Also my fear of overwriting the files and not exporting the actual files is not an issue as the database can also be imported at this point with the option to bring in Metadata and develop settings only and not the original files if you so wish.

iOS Differences

Since moving villages I no longer get a mobile phone signal at home. My current mobile phone contract is up next month and the excuse of not getting a signal at home plus the fact they will not unlock phones for free has pushed me away from my current provider.

So this month I had my phone unlocked and have been trying other networks.

As part of this testing I made a number of interesting discoveries.

Dependant on whose sim you have in and if you restore your phone from a backup or set up as new you get a few minor differences.

The first thing I spotted was the Cellular Menu became a Mobile Menu, also the options in here differed but not really surprising.  No the surprising thing was things like security options, on the old sim I only had auto lock from instant to 15 minutes, but when the phone was setup as new with the sim from another network it had options up to four hours!

I would have thought the functionality would have remained fairly constant.

Now that my testing has finished I have a few choices to make.  A review of the main UK networks was published this week, and the one I am on came top, but this network does not work at home and I still need to use my mobile at home.  The network that works best at home came worst and in my testing was worst for data.

With those results in mind I am not quite sure what I am going to do.  I could remember to put a divert on my mobile before heading home but what if I forget, and there is the cost.

I could just change networks and put up with a better service at home but poorer data elsewhere (though things are looking like changing in the coming year).  Or even go to two phone.  A basic mobile with my main number on it and the best data sim in my smart phone.

Not sure yet but I have till the next month to decide.

Photo Archive

Tintern AbbeyI know of a number of photographers who keep a photographic archive. This is not their backup, but a copy of their selects saved either onto a spare harddisk or in the cloud/internet.

The idea is that these are saved in a different format. Commonly used is JPeg but a growing number of photographers now use DNG.

So why not RAW or Tiff?

Well RAW is just that an unedited RAW file not your final image unless you also bundle into your archive the database for Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture.

RAW files are a proprietary format that may not be supported in the future.

TIFF is a good solution if you have the harddisk space, JPeg is smaller but lossy

I find the ideal compromise is DNG. Now this is a standard that Adobe control but it is open and the specification is well published so many program’s can read and view DNG’s.

So if you have a spare drive or a internet storage solution, save your favourite photos as Jpegs or in DNG. Just in case.

If it’s an old drive ask if you can store it at your parents or brother or sisters house. If you have more then one drive rotate them round.

Twitter @ Tweetdeck

I am not a huge tweeter but I do enjoy following a number of people on Twitter.

Most of this is done via the Twitter app on my iPhone and I occasionally tweet from my laptop direct via OS X.

Occasionally though I use Tweetdeck, I especially like being able to schedule a tweet.

I recently spotted this YouTube video on Tweetdeck and found it very useful, hope you do too.

Firmware Support – Leica M Updates

Leica M8 and Fuji XPro1Another set of Leica M rangefinder firmware updates were released recently, as well as fixes there were tweaks allowing one to switch off the live view button and disable the movie button etc.

Leica have been listening to their customers and changing a number of things about the camera.  One good thing about Leica is they tend to also release update to there old cameras, in this respect they are like another well respected company, Fuji.

Continuing to support your older cameras does encourage one to buy that brand again.

Adobe Creative Cloud Expiring

Photoshop Colour SettingsSince the last major update to Adobe Creative Cloud, when I launched Photoshop it warned me I only had a month left of use and could not contact the licensing server. It recommended I check my account details.

I logged into the Adobe website and checked my detail and everything looked fine, but each day I launched Photoshop I was faced with this message and a countdown telling me when Adobe Photoshop would shop working at the end of the month.

The fix turned out to be extremely easy. Log completely out if Creative Cloud then log back in. Now it works fine with no messages saying it’s about to run out.

Range Finder Lens Choice – why two of each

Leica M with EVF and R Series Adapter
Leica M with EVF and R Series Adapter

The majority of Leica rangefinder users tend to only own two modern new lens due to the high price of Leica glass, but many of us have a collection of older classic lens to complement our gear choice.

When choosing rangefinder lens it is very popular today to go for the fastest glass one can afford.  My two fast glass lens are my Leica 50mm Summilux (f/1.4) and my Leica 35mm Summicron (f/2), both the fastest 50mm and 35mm lens I can afford.

Having such light strong lens to quote the term used by Thorsten Overgaard, allows you to use selective depth of field and the lens control light very well, you can often shoot direct into sunlight without risk of flare.

The problem with them is of course price as already mentioned and size, while small compared to modern SLR autofocus lens they are large for rangefinder lens and they often intrude into the viewfinder causing framing issues.

So today more and more photographers are choosing two lens at each focal length, e.g. a 35mm at f/1.4 or f/2 and a smaller cheaper version at say f/2.8 or slower.  These lens are small, allow all the viewfinder to be seen and of course are much cheaper.

Nikon’s D810 Announcement

I was thinking of blogging about the new D800/D800E replacement, the D810 but many other sites have done it far better reviews, but I did have a few thoughts about it.

See Thom Hogan site for a good review.

The big thing about this update is that they have dropped from two versions to one.  With the new D810 we get a none AA filtered D800E with the improvements we saw in the D4S.

With a sensor at 36 MP it’s going to be rare moiré shows up; in fact I hardly ever see it on my 10 MP non AA Leica M8 plus we now have tools in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to deal with this.

Will I be getting this?  Well maybe, though I might see if I can now pick up a late model D800 but either will have to wait until I have upgraded my computers. At 36 MP these cameras need computers with lots of horsepower and RAM to cope well and process your images speedily.  My late model 2008 MacBookPro is not really up to that.

Ideally I would still love a D800 body with the D4 sensor, a great blend of size, ergonomics and manageable RAW files, but Nikon seem to have forgotten the old D700 user base.

For those of you lamenting no increase in MP from 36, do remember the new 56 MP sensor is still not ready, maybe the D900 in a year or two will have this and computer and memory/harddisk manufactures will rejoice as we all upgrade our computers again.