Smart previews vs Standard ones during import

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Pablo Betancourt

New Member
Nov 22, 2012
Lightroom Experience
Hi guys, during import one have the option to create smart previews, which is what I'm actually doing. But you are forced to choose also for a render option of previews (minimal, standard, 1:1), so after importing the images LR starts to render both the smart one and the standard one consuming more time and (I guess) more space. Which is the point to have both previews rendered? Or they are not the same thing?
Many thanks!

LR needs the regular previews in every case. The Smart Previews are useful only if you are in a mobile environment away from your original master images or in some scenario where you can take advantage of cloud storage and need a small image footprint for fast internet transfer. I have opted not to build Smart previews because my mobile needs are infrequent and usually limited in scope. And there is no scenario for images in the cloud that I can take advantage of atm.
They are not the same thing. The library previews (i.e. minimal, standard or 1:1) are for working in the Library if you build either standard or 1:1 previews during import you'll find that there should be little delay when moving through your images in the Library module.

Smart Previews, however, are only used in the Develop module. If one exists for an image which you open in Develop, it is used to give you an initial view of the image until the full image conversion is completed. However, their main purpose is to allow you to continue to edit an image in develop even if the original file is offline, which is a significant help for those wanting to go travelling, i.e. they can just take the catalog and the two sets of previews and can leave the photo files at home, and carry on working as normal.

So, if you aren't likely to need this offline functionality, there's really little point to creating the Smart previews.
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