Original versus As Shot

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Today’s Question: When cropping a photo in Lightroom, one is given the option of “As Shot”, “Original”, or “Custom”. What is the difference between the first two, and when would one use one rather than the other?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “As Shot” crop option in Lightroom is for supported images from cameras that enable you to choose a crop that differs from the native aspect ratio of the sensor. With such a capture, the “As Shot” option would activate the crop aspect ratio set at the time of capture, and the “Original” option would activate the full image based on the sensor dimensions.

More Detail: For many photographers the “As Shot” and “Original” crop aspect ratio options will produce the exact same result, either because their camera does not offer the option to alter the capture aspect ratio, or because Lightroom is not able to access that information in the metadata for the capture.

When you select an in-camera crop aspect ratio that differs from the full aspect ratio of the sensor, you are of course capturing an image that does not contain all of the available pixels based on the sensor in the camera. With a raw capture, however, that crop setting is just a metadata value, and the full range of pixels available on the sensor will actually be included in the raw capture.

With supported capture formats, Lightroom is able to access the in-camera crop setting, and make that available with the crop tool. So, if you have taken advantage of this option with a camera that is supported for this feature in Lightroom, you can choose whether or not to crop to that aspect ratio setting based on the availability of the “As Shot” crop aspect ratio option in Lightroom.