I bought LR but cannot commit to using it mainly because it is too slow importing and browsing previews but also because LR's previews are worse than the embedded previews in RAW images or JPGs as displayed by other standard programs like Photo Mechanic, Breeze Browser or ADCSee.
I shoot Canon RAW (then convert the CR2s to DNG) and occasionally JPG (1DMkII) but I get hundreds of images from friends and family, mostly JPG, taken with many different cameras. The vast majority of these pictures look terrific in PM, BB or ACDSee, etc but they look significantly worse in LR. LR renders its own previews from RAW files instead of using the excellent embedded preview that's already there and LR also somehow changes the JPG preview so that it looks bland and off color in comparison to the same image viewed in PM, ACDC or BB on the same computer. I assume LR's color management or color space is what changes the previews (and thumbs) so they look different (bad) in LR than they look in other standard programs.
Why can't we at least have the option of using embedded previews in LR and display them normally like PM, BB and ACDC. Then LR would be fast (like PM, BB and ACDC) importing and displaying previews and we would not have to fiddle with exposure or color adjustments to get decent previews. Yes, I can get LR to just about match (sometimes exceed) the image quality of other programs but only with massive fiddling with individual images (the camera calibration controls are not sufficient by themselves) and that is a massive pain in the butt.
I, of course, have read many posts about color management. But I refuse to buy expensive color calibration tools and go through that expense and aggravation just to accommodate LR. My pictures already look great in PM, BB, ACDSee and web browsers and on other non-color managed computers. I think LR should be able to be operated in a standard manner so it is consistent with other standard software. The fact is that the vast majority of all amateur photographers, even pretty serious folks, do not hassle with color management because standard software displays very nice images already.
Another point. Some folks like to use Canon or Nikon or other RAW converters instead of Adobe's (for all or some images). If they develop their RAWS in DPP or Capture NX, etc, then import the images into LR, LR renders its own previews which disregard the work done in the 3rd party converter. This is pretty annoying and virtually prevents such folks from using LR. Other programs that use the embedded previews display the adjustments made in 3rd party RAW converters very nicely.
Thanks for the replies. Sorry I could not respond sooner.
Nobody addressed my question. Why is there no option in LR to use embedded previews in RAW files and why is there no option to display JPG previews in a standard color space, presumably sRGB, like other standard software - Photo Mechanic, Breeze Browser, ACDSee, etc, etc?
LR's insistence on rendering previews from RAW files makes the program too slow and it forces users to diddle with settings to get previews that look normal - meaning match what 99% of the rest of the world sees on normal non-color managed computer screens. Folks who want rendered previews and non-standard color space (ProPhoto) and all the rest of us who just want standard previews by default should both be accommodated. Just give us the option to choose.
I just downloaded IDImager, a competing database type DAM program, for a trial. It does give users the option to use embedded previews for fast import and display or it will render previews from RAW if you choose that option. So it can be done and an embedded preview choice makes the program much faster and easier for most people to use.
Just a few comments about the replies:
Lee Jay said LR doesn't use embedded previews because:
"Correct...that's because it's a RAW converter and must display what you'd get from a RAW conversion."
Well, with respect, I cannot agree. First, LR is not just a RAW converter, its much more. If it was that limited, I never would have bought it and neither would anybody else. I already have ACR in Photoshop. Second, it is not mandatory that LR render previews from RAWs. It could optionally use embedded previews if that option was offered. Why do some folks lobby for lack of flexibility? I bet even you naysayers would use embedded previews sometimes, like when you want speed to show pictures to your family, friends and don't need to fester over image adjustments.
Lee Jay also said regarding the difference between my JPG previews in LR vs. other standard software:
"That is likely the fault of your monitor profile, which LR uses and the other programs (probably) don't. It could also be caused by you having "automatically apply auto tone" set, or by applying a preset on import."
No, it LR's fault, period. Every other program I have ever used displays my pictures just fine (Photo Mechanic, Breeze Browser, ADCSee, etc, etc, even Windows free Picture and Fax Viewer works fine. Yes, I can diddle with LR's settings and get nice previews but I don't want to diddle with every image. And it ain't my monitor profile - I can delete it or change it and the issue remains. LR makes different previews from standard software because it renders previews from RAW data and uses a non-standard color space. Camera calibration (or presets) is not a reasonable solution for everybody. I have several cameras, my kids have many different cameras, friends have different cameras and I get images from all these people - so I have a ton of very different images in different lighting and I am not about to setup numerous different calibrations or presets to see previews in LR when I get excellent previews from other standard software that uses embedded previews and produces great previews with no work whatsoever. All I am suggesting is the option to use embedded previews and a standard color space. Again I must ask why do some folks argue for lack of flexibility?
John McWilliams said about LR's power:
"The neat thing is you can make the image look just about anyway you want without loss of quality."
I could not agree more - LR is a good program! But, I don't want to diddle with every image. Most of them are fine, in fact, terrific right out of the camera. I just want to see them faster and I want them to match what other people see on standard non-color managed computers. If PM, BB, ACDSee and others can do it, so can LR.
David Edwards said:
"The images that I want to see in the Library section are RAW images with all the adjustments I have made to them and certainly not the embedded JPGs. If I wanted to see those I would have shot JPG."
This is fine and no doubt makes perfect sense for David's workflow. But, why advocate against an option to use embedded previews for those who would find that useful? I too shoot only RAW with my DSLR cameras because I want the best images and the ability to use all of LR's (or DPPs) conversion powers when appropriate. But, as I said above, the vast majority of my embedded previews are good enough right out of the camera as viewed in PM, BB or ACDSee so I don't need to make any adjustments. :) Only LR creates a problem my rendering less than desirable previews by default. I also want to note that embedded previews do, in fact, display all changes made in LR and I cannot tell any difference in quality on screen between embedded previews and rendered previews when I adjust the LR version to match the default embedded preview and compare them side-by-side in LR and PM, for example.
David also asked:
"Do you need a RAW converter or an application to display images?"
Both. Preferably in the same program. LR is supposed to be an all-in-one solution. It certainly will be when it gets more mature, I hope. I am a amateur so my main need is to see my pictures. I like them and enjoy them but LR is too slow importing and displaying thumbs and previews in Library mode and its previews usually need adjustment. So right now I am forced to use PM, BB or ACDSee all of which are way faster importing and browsing images and they use embedded previews that are fine, even excellent, by default.
I think Adobe is missing out on a significant number of potential users because LR does not provide the options I am requesting. I am certainly not the only person who wants faster importing and browsing and previews that look good by default. And, as I mentioned before, folks who use other RAW converters are also excluded since they cannot see the changes they make before importing images into LR because LR will not display embedded previews.