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JPEGs and RAW again

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Cerdic Elesing

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I've search for the answers here and elsewhere but haven't really got it clear in my mind, so I'd like to pick your collective brains please.

I've discovered the joy of Lightroom and of shooting and manipulating in RAW but I am confused over the purpose of the associated JPEG file which I am importing from my Canon; it is currently set to shoot in RAW +JPEG.

When the JPEG is imported it sits stacked with the RAW file, and I can't manipulate it.
And why would I when I can use the RAW file?
So what function does the JPEG file perform? Is it just cluttering up my hard drive?

I notice that in the Metadata it describes a sidecar file as JPEG.
Is this the same file? I thought the Metadata and RAW manipulations were stored within the LR catalogue.

Presumably if I switch to shooting in RAW only then this will be resolved as there is no associated JPEG to import. Are there disadvantages to this approach?

Rather rashly I decide to go through some of my folders in Window Explorer and delete some of the JPEGs to see what would happen. Occasionally I get a message (via an icon in Grid view) to say a sidecar file is missing and do I want to Track it or Forget it. If I click Forget then the only consequence seems to be that the field in the Metadata describing the sidecar file as a JPEG disappears, although the the information overlay still describes the file as .cr2+jpg. Should I be more worried

Lastly, what exactly is a sidecar file and where does it reside? I've also heard of .xmp sidecars - what are these?

As you can see the more I delve the more question I come up with

Help please :?
 

dj_paige

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There are two reasons I can think of to shoot JPEG+RAW.
  1. If you need to send the photos somewhere before you have time to edit the Raw photos (which can be time consuming). Straight out of the camera, .jpg probably are more pleasing to the eye than Raw (although clearly after you edit a Raw, you can make it look nicer than the .jpg).
  2. You are in learning mode and you want to see what the differences are between .jpg and Raw.
So I never bother shooting JPEG and RAW. Those don't apply to me. And if you are editing the Raw photos, I don't see much of a need to keep the associated .jpg. Seems to me that they are just taking up space without adding any value.

The sidecar file for Raws is usually the .xmp file, in which editing information can be stored, plus captions, titles, keywords, GPS locations, etc. Normally Lightroom keeps track of these for you, so you don't ever have to worry about where they are.
 
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Lastly, what exactly is a sidecar file and where does it reside? I've also heard of .xmp sidecars - what are these?
Welcome to Lightroom Forums Roger!

XMP sidecar files are created on demand for raw files. What they contain is a subset of the information normally only contained in Lightroom's database. They are created either by activating "Automatically write changes to XMP" in the preferences or by pressing Ctrl-S (Cmd-S Mac). They bear the same filename as their corresponding images but with an .xmp extension. For JPEGs, TIFFs and PSDs, no separate xmp file type is created; Rather, the xmp information is written in the header of the file containing the image.

These are mainly used for two reasons: As a belt & suspenders backup as your adjustments are saved in case you have to reimport and to exchange information with other programs. An example for this last case: Tag, Keyword and Develop in Lightroom then save to XMP and exit Lightroom. Go to a Geotagging program to add coordinates and back to Lightroom, read metadata from file to bring this new XMP info back to Lightroom.
 

Brad Snyder

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Roger, first, welcome to the forums. I'll add one thing to Paige's and Denis' excellent responses. There is a setting in File > Preferences > Import tab, where you can designate that the JPG files be imported as separate files, and not as the Raw+JPG pair. In this instance you would be able to manipulate the JPGs in their own right. All the other pro's and con's remain the same.
 

sizzlingbadger

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just one more thing.... if you decide to convert to dng during import then the LR changes and meta-data are stored on the dng rather than an xmp file.
 
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