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Anyone using Dropbox Smart Sync successfully with Lightroom Classic?

joshua

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I sort of buried this question in the other thread but I've done some more googling without success. I now understand how Lightroom CC / Cloud works for storage offline but I'm curious...

Has anyone used Dropbox Smart Sync successfully with Lightroom Classic? I've love to hear any thoughts!
 
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I've only heard of trouble, with files not being available to Lightroom when you want to use them. What are you hoping to accomplish by using it?
 

joshua

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Well I really have been pretty integrated in the Dropbox eco system... And I'd rather stick w/ Lightroom Classic and was hoping this was the best of both worlds for me.

Ideally I'd love to have all my files in the cloud and be able to work from two different machines / platforms and not worry about local HDs dying on me - that's the main goal I guess.

Does that make sense?
 
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Just putting all of the photos in your Dropbox folder without Smart Sync would accomplish that without confusing Lightroom. But you would need big enough hard drives on both computers for the photos to sync down to both computers. Or I've done it with Selective Sync for a long time, so I manually choose which photos to download to a local computer and the rest are marked as offline until I download them.

I haven't tested Smart Sync, so you might be able to get it working, but I suspect you'll confuse Lightroom in the process, so if you do it, just make sure you have good backups.
 
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I've tried a lot with syncing the Lightroom Classic Catalog with Dropbox, but all I've tried was not good. The best so far was, to sync the Lightroom folder (including the originals) except the (Smart) Previews and create them on the synced machines manually - syncing previews is the nasty part of the business.
And you should never open Lightroom on more than one machine at once.
I've switched to a solution where I use Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC in parallel - syncing works really good, Adobe did a great job on the foundation.
 

kai

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Well I really have been pretty integrated in the Dropbox eco system... And I'd rather stick w/ Lightroom Classic and was hoping this was the best of both worlds for me.

Ideally I'd love to have all my files in the cloud and be able to work from two different machines / platforms and not worry about local HDs dying on me - that's the main goal I guess.

Does that make sense?

In case anybody is still looking for an answer here. I have my entire Lightroom Catalog with about 30K images, and all the RAW files synced via Dropbox. I also have all the plugins, settings, and presets synced. For any system or app-specific folders that you sync via Dropbox, make sure to use symbolic links. I have been using this setup for years; it works. The only downside, you can't have Lightroom open on multiple machines that access the shared catalogs/assets. Also, if you import lots of images, pause syncing until you have done most f your initial culling. Happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Reach out on Twitter or via my website. I hope this helps.
 
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Welcome aboard Kai!
 
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David Jenner

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Hello Kai,
I just found your post about using Dropbox to sync your Lr catalog and images and I wanted to ask you about your set up. I moved my LrC catalogue on to DB and it was working fine but I got an error message this morning it couldn't open the catalog on my iMac at home and the cat was corrupt and I had to revert to a backup. This might be just one of those things (as it has happened before) but it did make me wonder if this happened because it was on DB. I have my images on another drive and just the cat on DB although I am not using Smart Sync but I am very careful to have Lr open on just one Mac at a time. I wonder if you have ever run in to catalog issues?
 

jgwalter

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I have used Dropbox for years to store and manage my entire photo library between two computers. There have been glitches, but overall, it works great and much better than other cloud solutions. I did extensive testing with Selective Sync and determined that it simply does not work with Lightroom. Even with standard previews, 1:1 previews, and smart previews, and preferences set to force LR to use the smart preview for editing, online-only files in dropbox download immediately whenever a thumbnail appears in LR. I was not able to stop it.

My photo library is currently just under 3 tb, so I have a 3tb dropbox plan ($20 per month). My iMac is connected to a large RAID 6 array, and my laptop is connected to a USB-powered 4 tb external drive. This small drive has worked extremely well (knock on wood) with the only downside being that it needs to be connected when I am using Dropbox for other non-photo tasks, which is kind of a pain since it needs to reside on that drive. I suppose I could get a second Dropbox account for that purpose, placing it on my much smaller system drive on my laptop.

Recently, I have moved away from keeping my LR catalog on Dropbox, moving it to an external 1 TB SSD drive which I can simply move between computers as needed. So far, this is working great. It wasn't so much that having the catalog on Dropbox was problematic, and it was fairly fast. But the SSD is much faster and there is no longer a need to ensure that the catalog files are uploaded to DB before switching to the other computer.

I am currently considering replacing my RAID with a different model that is capable of a WebDav connection, allowing me to operate my own cloud-type service, so when I am using my laptop away from my office, I can access my library directly rather than maintaining a local copy as Dropbox requires. So far, however, my tests have shown that speed may be a problem, so I am considering a sort of hybrid solution by using smart previews to edit remotely, and connecting to my server only when I need to do file operations such as uploading, organizing, converting DNG's, etc. The jury is still out on this plan, but it appears to be a good idea.
 

David Jenner

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Very interesting John.
What about Lightroom (CC) the online version, have you thought about using that to sync files you want to work on another computer away from your main CPU?
 

jgwalter

John G. Walter
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Very interesting John.
What about Lightroom (CC) the online version, have you thought about using that to sync files you want to work on another computer away from your main CPU?
It's been several years since I tested the online version, which then seemed be lacking in the metadata area. (I don't really recall the details)
 
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