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Importing and previewing TIF files into LR Classic

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Charles Lo

Sep 30, 2018
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Lightroom Version Number
Lightroom Classic 9.1
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
I am experiencing 2 issues with importing and displaying TIF files - maybe the issues are related? LR does not import medium / large size TIF files - when I try to import, LR ignores TIF files larger than approx 5Mb - there are no error messages, it just ignores them. For smaller TIF files (approx smaller than 5Mb), LR imports but then reports "Preview unavailable for this file".
What is the origin (software) of the TIFs? What image mode are they? Preview unavailable may just be what it says, but ignoring >5mb is odd.
Agree with John. Photoshop TIFF files should be fine (I just imported a 118Mb one to double-check nothing changed!)

Also, why are you on Classic 9.1 not the latest 9.4?

Could you please make one of these files available for download (Dropbox, WeTranfer, Google Drive...) ? We could then check whether we have the same problem.
Thank you John, Paul & Smoreen - I very much appreciate your help

All the TIF files were created using a consumer level Canon Scanner with drivers and software that came with it - approx 5 years old. Here's what helpfile for the scanner says: Canon ScanGear Version 14.0.3 64-bit Edition for Microsoft Windows - this product is a 64-bit TWAIN-compliant scanner driver for CanoScan LiDE 200 scanner. I access the scanner through Canon MP Navigator EX application software allows you to scan, save and print photos
and documents.

I'm using LR Classic 9.1 because I've been very busy (day job) over past few months and haven't had time to update but, yes, point taken and I must update.

Here is a link to large TIF file file name Funfzig mark note approx 52Mb Funfzig mark note 1.tif
Here is link to small TIF file filename Knockaloe etc approx 3 Mb Knockaloe canteen price list.tif

Below is what the files look like before trying to import.


Below is what the LR import screen looks like with Knockaloe file 2nd from left

I can import Funfzig mark note 1.tif without any problem but Knockaloe canteen price list.tif cannot be imported because it's not an RGB file or grayscale file. it's a bitmap file (1 bit per pixel). You didn't scan it in grayscale mode. If I convert it to grayscale / 8-bit mode in Photoshop, I can then import it into Lightroom.
I'm sorry the OP is having the problems so I downloaded the images myself to have a look at them.

Using the EXIFTOOLGUI I found the following out about both images:

Funfzig mark note 1 - As noted above, it is in RGB

Knockaloe canteen price list - As noted, it is not in RGB or for what appears to be anything recognized by LR; 'BlackIsZero'. Which is valid for a TIFF

TIFF's can have different values for PhotometricInterpretation. From here

"0 = WhiteIsZero. For bilevel and grayscale images: 0 is imaged as white.
1 = BlackIsZero. For bilevel and grayscale images: 0 is imaged as black.
2 = RGB. ..."

I found this note that LR doesn't support all of the TIFF values for PhotometricInterpretation.

So the answer seems to be to save the scans the images with something LR recognizes like RGB or GREYSCALE as noted. Or convert them as Samoreen did.
Thank you Paul & Samoreen for the hugely helpful steer. I have now updated LR to latest 9.4.

I will re-scan the Knockaloe image and try again.

As regards the Funfzig image, I have renamed the file and run a test import - success, it worked. That''s great and I'm very pleased.

But LR reports that the original Funfzig files (there are several different ones) "appear to be duplicates" therefore it can't import again - how do I find where the real ones are - I know I ought to be able to do this using search for file name or filetype, I've tried this for whole catalogue and there's nothing showing.

Thank you again.
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