I’ve been working on an article behind the scenes lately and in the process of doing so I accidentally ended up with a lot of duplicate photos in my Lightroom catalog. This happened partially due to using Eye-Fi along with the cameras built-in Wi-Fi support as well as the traditional Import feature of Lightroom. In short, it was a mess and I wasn’t looking forward to manually sorting out the duplicates of hundreds of files!
Out of desperation I did a web search and found a handy little plug-in called Duplicate Finder. Here’s a little video from the author of how it works:
It’s freeware demo only finds the first 20 duplicates, so you need to register it to get the full working version. It’s a little spendy for us in the US, but given the amount of time it takes to find duplicates manually I was happy to pay the “donation”.
This app does a lot of searches so the performance will depend on your computer and hard drive speed, but with a pretty speedy configuration I let it run on all 35,233 of the photos in my Lightroom 4.2 catalog and as you can see it took over 23 minutes. However, when clicking OK to this dialog and going to the Smart Collection it creates I had to wait a few minutes more for it to populate.
At around 28,000 images my system started to want more RAM and things got drastically slower for a few minutes while the OS paged out memory to disk to give the app more RAM to play with. This was a little painful, so it makes much more sense to select the images you want to search (i.e., select all in a collection or via the Library Filter) and then just search on the selected photos. There’s also an option in the plug-in to just search or exclude a given file type.
Duplicates Identified – Now What???
One of the things that was tough at first was when I noticed that it had put all of the duplicates in a Smart Folder, but it really didn’t help me select the ones to keep and the ones to nuke. Fortunately for me all of my Eye-Fi images had been GeoTagged and my imported images had not, so I could simply do a metadata filter on GPS data and eliminate the duplicates. Woohoo – well, sorta.
Truth be told I quickly discovered that it was easier to do one search for JPEG’s and another search for RAW’s because I shoot RAW+JPEG. This means there are legitimate dupes and I want to keep those dupes. What I don’t want is more than one RAW+JPEG of any given image. Again, I lucked out here because for the RAW images that I imported via Lightroom had a keyword (thank goodness I always do this!) and the ones that had been auto-imported via Eye-Fi did not, so I was again quickly able to determine which ones were dupes.
It’s Smart, but…
For fun I threw a couple extra images in that were the same identical image, but they had modifications that made them different. The two images on the right differ only in the presence and absence of a border on the image, but it successfully identified them as a dupe. This is something to keep in mind when doing your own searches because these are legitimate dupes that you wouldn’t want to eliminate, so be careful about whacking dupes without checking them out carefully.
I reviewed this without contacting the company that makes this and I do not get any commission or benefit if you buy this. I’m just passing this info along because I thought it was a handy tool that others might enjoy. As a result, if you find this article useful, please support this blog my making a donation.