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Smart Previews - to use or not to use?

coyimages

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Feb 27, 2020
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For some reason today, the topic has been Smart Previews on all of the videos that I've been watching, and I'm wondering if it's something I should be doing.

For reference, I'm using a 2019 Macbook 13" with 250gb of flash memory. Because the storage on this laptop is at a premium, I've chosen to add a 500gb external SSD.

Currently I have my catalog set up on my external SSD, which is where I plan to store my raw files as well, as I want to keep anything that hogs memory OFF the laptops internal drive. Are catalogs with smart previews memory heavy?

Would you recommend keeping raw files on the external drive and the catalog with smart previews on the internal hard drive? Or should I keep both catalogs, and raw files on the external SSD?

And if I keep my catalog and raw files on the same external drive, is there any benefit to using smart previews?

TIA!
Chris
 
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By using smart previews you will gain a smidge of performance improvement when taking an image over to the Develop Module (probably too little to be noticeable) and you will consume more of your valuable disk space. If it were me, I'd stick with minimal (or perhaps standard) previews.
 
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I do disagree a little I'm afraid. With the file sizes of some of the latest cameras (Z7 for example) there can be quote significant improvements in Lr, particularly if you're processing one image after another and speed is important. This thread explains a lot more on Previews, Smart Previews, etc.:

 
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"Would you recommend keeping raw files on the external drive and the catalog with smart previews on the [laptop] internal hard drive? "

Maybe there are times when you want to edit without the external drive attached?

Also, it doesn't need to be all or nothing, so you might keep smart previews for (say) this year's photos but not earlier. Smart preview status is available is the filter or as a smart collection criterion, so for example, following that "this year" idea, you could create a smart collection for images not in this year which have smart previews. You would expect this to be zero, and it's an easy way to find exceptions and discard their smart previews.
 

coyimages

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Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
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I do disagree a little I'm afraid. With the file sizes of some of the latest cameras (Z7 for example) there can be quote significant improvements in Lr, particularly if you're processing one image after another and speed is important. This thread explains a lot more on Previews, Smart Previews, etc.:


I'm still shooting a D700 so file size is minimal, but still add's up. My laptop is quite snappy for my needs, so I'm happy with performance as it is, my biggest concern is not cluttering up the internal drive as they aren't expandable. I've always believed that adding and deleting files to a hard drive is the fastest way to kill it's abilities. I have a late 2009 iMac and kept all my 500gb drive clean and free of clutter for over a decade. All image files and catalogs were kept on an external 1tb drive, and because of that it never truly slowed down. It still runs just as well as it did when I bought it.
 

coyimages

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Feb 27, 2020
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Maybe there are times when you want to edit without the external drive attached?
I've thought about this, and since my external SSD is just as portable as my laptop, I doubt there'd ever be a time when I didn't have the drive with me in my messenger bag.

However, I am considering your suggestion for keeping my catalog on the internal drive for a year at a time if it isn't memory heavy. That may be a good compromise. I never thought of moving things from one drive like that to another after a period of time. I just kept everything on the same drive. Thankfully I've been blessed with not having a drive failure either.
 

coyimages

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Feb 27, 2020
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As a test I took one 4gb CF card and created a catalog on my internal drive, and copied the RAW files to the external drive as .dng's. I built smart previews and rendered 1:1 previews in my catalog. Folder size of the original images on the external drive is 3.3gb. Folder size of my catalog on my internal drive with previews is 1.2gb. That is not enough of a memory savings to convince me to keep my catalogs on the internal drive. I think I'm going to keep everything on my external drive, and backup the external drive on my 1TB HDD external.
 
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However, I am considering your suggestion for keeping my catalog on the internal drive for a year at a time if it isn't memory heavy.... I never thought of moving things from one drive like that to another after a period of time.
That wasn't my suggestion, so I'll rephrase a little. I believe it's best to have one catalogue for all one's pictures, and I would keep it on the internal drive, but not all the pictures in the catalog need to have smart previews. As an example, I suggested keeping only those smart previews for the last year's photos, and I didn't suggest moving anything after a certain period.
 
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