Using Lightroom without the cataloging function
I have ordered a new iMac including pretty much all of the options. So now is a good time to re-evaluate my software requirements.
Several years ago I was minding my own business and innocently messing around with Adobe Bridge. It pretty much took over; creating catalogs, sidecar files and who knows what all. Not knowing what it (and I) was doing, within a short time after moving some files around, I had totally lost control - and Bridge kept trying to help (intrude). I don't want to do that again. It took some time, but I finally got back to my relatively simple system of cataloging and storing a fairly small number of personal photos on my personal machine. (I use Express Digital Darkroom software for business -- for editing and cataloging.)
I have been reading in this forum about some of the file format, handling and cataloging issues and it like de-javu all over again.
Question: Can I use LR4/ACR as an editor without invoking its cataloging capabilities? I like things really simple.
The general impression within this forum seems to be that support and improvements from Nikon for NX2 will be slow. Furthermore, that LR4 and its version of ACR are already somewhat ahead of NX2 in editing and that its lead will increase.
Therefore, I am inclined to try LR4, but if cataloging is an integral part of the process that cannot be disabled, I will not risk messing up a simple system that has worked well for years. NX2 is not all that bad.
Many thanks for your ideas and the benefit of your experience.
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#1. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 0
#2. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 0
#4. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 2
Mon 04-Feb-13 03:22 PM
Thanks, guys. You have confirmed my suspicions. I guess the plan now is to continue with NX2 and Photoshop. Like most, my only problem with Photoshop is that I don't use it often enough to remain proficient. I will be watching for a replacement for NX2 and, considering your comments, may give LR4 a try when everything else is up and running on the new iMac.
Again, thanks for your help and insight.
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#3. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 0
There is not really a simple yes/no answer to this question ...
- to edit a photo in LR, you must import it into the catalog, otherwise you have no access to it, so 'yes' you have to use the catalog
- however, that does not necessarily move the photo to some other place. It CAN move it, but it can just have its catalog database point to it in its original hard-drive location
- LR never updates the original raw NEF files, so here you have two choices -- you can have LR write the sidecar files to hold the editing information or you just use the LR catalog
- you could, after editing, export the file as a TIF (for example), but although you don't lose pixel data that way you do lose the editing steps, which if used inside LR allow you to undo steps at any time in the future
I guess my real answer would be twofold ...
- why not try its organization capabilities -- many of us use them and a very happy with how they work -- and if you have questions along the way, ask
- if you really don't want to use the organization capabilities, then I might not go with LR, and stay with NX2
As a final note, you might want to pull a trial copy of LR to compare its editing to NX2 before making a final decision, and also to play a bit with its organization module.
#5. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 3
Mon 04-Feb-13 03:48 PM
Thanks, Dennis, for you time and insightful reply. Once my new computer is up and running, I will revisit this issue and probably give LR4 a try in the manner you suggest. Perhaps with a few minor changes in my workflow and storage routines, it will work out quite well.
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#6. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 0
Phil, I think you are misinterpreting what LR does. The cataloging feature is the place where LR keeps track of all of your edits and where the files reside on your hard drive. That happens seamlessly. LR has other features, such as keywording, collections, etc. You don't have to use them at all, although I am sure that at some point, you will.
You don't have to change any of your file locations to use LR. Try it, you will like it.
#7. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 6
Mon 04-Feb-13 08:57 PM
Thanks for the feedback, Lance. I did initially misinterpret the catalog function, but it is now becoming more clear. My present system is quite simple:
First, I ingest images using Photomechanic to a subfolder within another folder named "Archives". Then, I change the filename and make the files "Read Only". From that point, they never move or change.
I use Photomechanic to view and select the files i want to edit. Then with NX2, I load the file from the "Archive" folder, edit, and save the file to a subfolder within another folder named "Edited".
So far, quite simple. During the edits, usually under time pressure, the files may be temporarily saved on the desktop or some other interim location(s). They may be taken to work (for additional editing), and grouped (copied or moved) with other related images. If I create tiff's for use in Photoshop they (and the PS files) will be in there too. Finding files for a reprint sometime in the future is easy, but expecting LR4 to keep track of this chaos is, it seems to me, expecting a lot.
It is becoming clear that if I go with LR4, I will have to clean up this part of my act and become a bit more disciplined. That can be done. We shall see.
But again, thanks for your input, your insight and taking time to respond.
#8. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 7
walkerr Nikonian since 05th May 2002Mon 04-Feb-13 09:06 PM
In reality, it will probably simplify much of what you do and eliminate many of these steps, but it's a very different paradigm. A lot of what you're doing today is due to the specific tools you're using today and will disappear or be unnecessary. Worrying about edited versions goes away, tiffs are automatically cataloged, and print versions for a specific size (or even separate print versions) are no longer needed.
#9. "RE: Using Lightroom without the cataloging function" | In response to Reply # 8
quenton8 Nikonian since 11th Apr 2010Mon 04-Feb-13 10:02 PM
I agree with Rick, LR should go a long way to simplifying your workflow.
The hardest part may be trying NOT to worry about all the steps and just let LR do its thing! But I found it well worthwhile once I got into it!