Extract from Adobe Lightroom 2 – The Missing FAQ
When the first preview appears, it looks just like it did on the camera, and then that disappears and it applies other settings. How do I turn that off?
The initial preview you’re seeing is the JPEG preview embedded in the file by the camera. That JPEG preview has the manufacturer’s own processing applied in-camera, just as if you’d set your camera to shoot a JPEG rather than a raw file format.
A raw file is not a photo file like a JPEG or a TIFF. You can’t look at it – there’s nothing to see. You need some software to process it into a photo.
The camera manufacturer’s don’t share their processing secrets, so each raw converter creates its own interpretation of the sensor’s data. There is no right or wrong – it’s just different.
So how do you get your file in Lightroom to look like that original camera JPEG preview?
In version 1, your best option was to shoot a series of files as Raw+JPEG, and import all of those files into Lightroom. Try to adjust each raw file to look like the matching JPEG file. Your aim is to find your ideal default settings for your raw files. Having found your ideal settings, save them as a Develop preset for easy application to your photos, and or update Lightroom’s default settings to use your new preferred settings.
However it gets better than that… Adobe have been listening to the user’s cries, and have created a new profiling system, the public beta for which was released at the same time as Lightroom 2.0, and which went final with 2.2.
This new DNG Profile Editor allows the creation of much more detailed profiles than have ever been available to ACR and Lightroom before.
Whilst most users will never worry about creating their own profiles, Adobe have created ready-made profiles to emulate the most popular in-camera JPEG rendering for many Pro-level SLR’s, and contrary to the way the name makes it sound, these profiles can be used on proprietary raw files as well as DNG files.
The new camera emulation profiles are installed along with Lightroom 2.2, so if you haven’t updated yet, do so! You’ll find the new profiles in the Calibration panel in the Develop module.
Over the next couple of days, I’ll post up the instructions on how to get rid of any beta profiles that you had installed, how to create a preset with the new profiles, and how to change the defaults to one of the other profiles, so watch this space!
Really interesting topic. (That almost sounds sarcastic, it isn’t!) This has been a frustration for me for quite some time. Presumably this only applies to photos you take in RAW format where you specify to embed the camera profile in the photo itself? Or is the camera profile included in the RAW by default? Perhaps I am confusing this with the option “Add original decision data” on Canon cameras. Either way, what I’d LOVE to see is an explanation of why Lightroom is unable to just use the the camera profile that is embedded in the RAW file rather than having to emulate them. I don’t fully understand why it can’t, given that it ‘sees’ it briefly when you first load the photo according to your explanation? Anyway – GREAT article.
[Thanks Mat, glad to hear you found it useful. The picture you see initially is the tiny jpeg that the camera embeds in the file with processing already applied. Canon, Nikon and most other manufacturers don’t share their ‘secret mix’, or most of the other data in the file itself, unless you use their own SDK. That’s why Lightroom, and other raw processors too, can’t tell what you chose when you were shooting. If Lightroom used the SDK, it could give exactly the same rendering, but it would really limit the amount Lightroom could do to the files. The new profiles have almost perfectly matched the rendering – it just doesn’t know what you picked in the camera. It’s a pretty good solution though. – VB]
There’s something I don’t understand: how come Irfan View knows to display my NEF files exacly the same way as it does with JPEG but Lightroom doesn’t?
[Irfanview is either using the embedded jpeg (most likely) which is embedded in each raw file, or it’s using the manufacturer’s own SDK. Check out my reply to the previous comment for a bit more info on that one. – VB]
Chris Sgaraglino says
This a EGO trip for Adobe and Adobe needs to knock it off and play nice!
I have been using Adobe products for more then 15 years and I have watched Adobe bully their way through the different markets and it is getting very old.
EVERY RAW file has a JPEG in it! In RAW JPEGs are very easy to read, and Adobe does see it as it is displayed at load (just as this topic states) – but Adobe coses to ignore it. I understand that LR can not read the in RAW setting to allow editing (and this is questionable since other can) of these settings, and I know they stick to the “Nikon won’t share” garbage, but all all reality Adobe want to force people to the DNG format! Again the 900 pound bully approach!
Give me a break!
Capture NX2 is a far superior editor for Nikon RAW files than Photoshop will ever be – for the EXACT reason Adobe states: “The camera manufacturer’s don’t share their processing secrets”.
I know HUNDREDS of photographers that are looking for a cataloging solution (not necessarily a editing solution) and Adobe is missing the mark by not allowing the folks using other tools to edit to use Lightroom – or at least in a functional manner.
Over the years I have cravatted away from Adobe Products whenever I can – I don’t like supporting bullies!
[With all due respect Chris, I think you’ve missed the point. Yes raw files include a jpeg, but they vary in size, with some being no bigger than thumbnails. What would be the point of showing a jpeg that can’t be edited and doesn’t reflect how the file will look when converted? A raw file is raw data – there is no right or wrong way of processing it, so it comes down to personal taste. If Lightroom’s processing isn’t to your taste, that’s fine, use something else. And DNG doesn’t even come into this scenario, and wouldn’t solve the ‘secret sauce’ issue.
As far as cataloguing goes, there are plenty of other software solutions out there that already offer cataloging-only facilities. That’s not Lightroom’s purpose – it’s designed to be a one-stop shop. And there are plugins which allow you to open directly into other tools if you so desire.
But Chris, if you hate Adobe so much, why even bother to consider Lightroom, when you feel there are so many better programs out there? Surely your time is better spent? – VB]
Tim W says
I too have this issue, but what is weird is that I used LR for a long time with NO problems. Currently I use LR on my PC desktop and my Mac Book Pro, the only one messing up the color is the PC. Everything works fine on the Mac. I am shooting with a D700 and typically shoot in JPEG, and again, I’ve never had a problem before, until about September of 2010. Any help would be appreciated.
[Tim, drop by http://www.lightroomforums.net or drop me an email – far easier to troubleshoot in a more interactive environment. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out! – VB]
Struggled with a similar problem. LR displays the images too dark. When corrected to a correct setting and then exported, the resultant export was way too light. Upon import of that export file, it (again) showed up too dark. The reason, apparently, is a corrupt color management file used for screen calibration. Reset color management to Adobe RGB under Color Management in Display Setup.
[Hi Riaan. It sounds like you did indeed have a corrupted monitor profile, although you should be aware that setting AdobeRGB as your monitor profile is only a temporary fix. Using sRGB as a temporary measure is likely to be better suited, but then you might want to consider hardware calibration. – VB]
i have lightroom 3 and am having this problem. i’ve read elsewhere on the internet that the later versions have the profiles built in. how do i access them? ive clicked on develop – set dauft settings and updated to canon 5d mark 2 but it doesn’t change the previews after quitting lightroom. i use iview to do my select as lightroom is way to slow to do a select for me and the colours, tones and saturation are way better like how i preview it when i shoot. so frustrating! thanks!
Victoria Bampton says
Hi Sam, if you’re on LR3, then you have the latest profiles for the 5dMk2. You’d need to select Camera Standard in the Camera Calibration panel, which is as close as you’ll get to replicating Canon’s rendering. Changing the default, so that all new imports have Camera Standard applied by default, will only change new imports, not existing photos. If you want to change existing ones, you’d need to sync that calibration setting or reset them to default. Also note that you have custom settings on your camera, for example, higher saturation, then the Camera Standard profile won’t match as well as camera defaults. IF you’re still not happy, you can use the DNG Profile Editor to create a profile exactly to your preferences – not Canon’s, not Adobe’s, just yours. It gives you full control.