D-Noc Photography

More on Smart Previews

As I mentioned last week, the latest version of Lightroom really gave me a great reason to start using Smart Previews.

From now on, when I import a batch of images I will definitely make sure that Smart Previews are generated during import.

But what about all the images you already imported? Of course it is possible the let Lightroom generate Smart Previews for all the images in your library, but most likely this is unnecessary as most of these images has probably already been edited and finalized. Instead, it makes more sense to use Lightroom's metadata query control to search for images matching specific criteria.

For example, if I want to see which images taken this year with my 24-105L lens that does not yet have a Smart Preview:

  1. First of all, go to the Library module and select "All photographs". Then at the top, select Metadata and select 2016 in the Date box, All in the Camera box and the selected lens in the Lens box.In one of the boxes, click the little "burger menu".
  2. Click Add Column.
  3. From the drop down menu select Smart Preview.
  4. In the new Smart preview box, select No Smart Preview.

Now you should have a list of images for which now Smart Previews have yet been generated. All that remains now is to select all images, unless you want to refine your query, and generate the Smart Previews as described here.




Improve Lightroom performance with Smart Previews

Earlier this week, Adobe released Lightroom 2015.7 CC, which mostly contained the usual addition of support for new Cameras and lenses as well as a number of bugfixes.

They also added one small feature, which doesn't really seem like much of a deal when you read about it, but after having tried it for a couple of days you can now officially call me impressed.

Some time ago, Lightroom added something called Smart Previews. In essence "just" an image file created from the original RAW file, that had a smaller file size. This Smart Preview could be used when syncing your lightroom library with the iOS app, to avoid having to clutter your iPad or iPhone/Android device with huge RAW files.
The Smart Previews could also be used if, for some reason, your RAW files were unavailable at workstation.

To me that wasn't really much of a deal. I hardly ever use the Lightroom Mobile app and my RAW files are always available, so I hadn't really paid much attention to Smart Previews.

But now, a new feature has been added, which makes it possible to make Lightroom use the generated Smart Preview, even when the original RAW file is available and THAT is really a big deal. On my old-but-not-that-old i7 laptop, I used to have a slight lag between when I started pulling a slider and when the changes were applied. But now the changes are instant. Adding Sharpening or Gradient masks, the results can be seen instantly and that makes Lightroom so much easier to work with.

Of course, when you export the pictures, the RAW file is used, so that you gain all the details from you big old RAW file.

To try it out follow these instructions:

  1. Open the Preferences dialog
  2. Check the new checkbox 'Use Smart Previews instead of Originals for image editing'
  3. Then, if you have not already used Smart Previews, Go to the Library module and select the image or images you want to work on and let Lightroom generate the previews:
  4. If you have selected multiple images in the above step, Lightrooms starts generating Smart Previews. If not you get a dialog that lets you choose if a Smart Preview should only be created for the selected image or the entire Collection in which the image are selected:

That's it! You are now ready to experience the improved performance that the smaller Smart Previews provide.

Of course the Smart Previews show a little less detail, especially if you zoom in, but in most cases the performance gain more than outweights that.


The Smartphone Revolution

I read this interesting piece by Randall Armor over at PetaPixel today.

I agree with most of his argument, but I think his arguments are a bit simplified.

Smartphone cameras are getting better all the time, but that doesn't mean the end of "real cameras"..

..at least not yet.
As long as the lens on a smartphone camera can't be replaced with another of a different focal length or even a zoom lens, the real camera will still have a very big advantage.
I am not saying that smartphone cameras are useless... far from it, but being able to change lenses to fit your need is a major advantage of e.g. a DSLR.

Also, even though they have become much better the last few years, the sensors are very very small and that makes almost every smartphone camera suck big time in low light environments.

With time I am sure both the interchangeable lens issue and the noise issues will be sorted out and I am also quite sure that at some point "real cameras" will be a niche at best.

Winter Preparations

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