Differences between Previews in Lightroom?

Previews in Lightroom

Hi, I have a Lightroom topic in mind that brings lots of discussion.

Have you ever wondered is there are any differences between different previews in Lightroom?

When you import your images into Lightroom, you have a choice of four different Previews and they are very often misleading.

To start with, when you import images into Lightroom, Lightroom creates previews (for all file types). In this way you can still view your images in Lightroom even if your hard drive (with images) is not connected to your computer.

There are four options for Previews generated by Lightroom:

Previews in Lightroom Here is what they do and what changes:

  • Minimal – it shows the preview that gets embedded in the file which means very low quality preview less than 200px on the longer side. If you use Minimal, you will need to wait for the previews to render when you start browsing through images.
  • Embedded & Sidecar – uses the largest possible previews from the camera (still embedded) that are approximately ca. 1000px or more on the longer side.
  • Standard – it displays previews as Lightroom renders them. You can set the quality and the size of these previews in Catalog Settings. Using this option will speed up the performance of Lightroom as it won’t have to build previews when you start browsing through your images.
  • 1:1 Previews – previews that are 100% view of pixels in the image (like is Develop Module). This option will give you quickest browsing but mind they will take more space on your hard drive. If you are limited in hard drive space, you can tell Lightroom to remove them automatically after certain period of time as on the screenshot below:

1:1 Previews remove

Important! Embedded previews are rendered by cameras and they are not colour managed.

What it means is that the embedded previews do not match how Lightroom interprets raw files.

If you have used an embedded preview while importing images and you want to change that now (for existing images), you can do it straight in Lightroom. You don’t need to re-import images!

Look in the Library menu (after selecting the images), near the bottom you will find Previews submenu:

Change Previews in LightroomThat’s how you can change the Previews at any time.

I hope you enjoyed it and see you tomorrow! 🙂

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