Previews from Camera

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Today’s Question: I know you have explained that adjustment settings in the camera don’t affect raw captures. But they do affect the preview you see on the camera’s display. Is there a way to preserve those previews when you import the photos into Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can (at least temporarily) retain the preview from your camera, which will include in-camera adjustments, if you use the “Embedded & Sidecar” option from the Build Previews popup during import into Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: As I’ve discussed in previous answers, the adjustments such as saturation and contrast applied in the camera won’t actually affect raw captures. Those adjustments will, however, affect the preview you see on the camera’s LCD display.

So, for example, if you set your camera to capture in black and white (monochrome), the preview on the camera will indeed appear as black and white, but when you process the raw capture there will still be color information available.

When Lightroom Classic renders previews for your images, they are based on the adjustment settings in the Develop module. That means the in-camera adjustment settings will not be reflected in the preview you see in Lightroom. So, in the case of having your camera set to capture in black and white, the preview in Lightroom will appear in color.

However, if you choose the “Embedded & Sidecar” option for the image previews during import, the preview generated by your camera will be reflected for the images you import. In this example that would mean the photos would appear as black and white versions, essentially reflecting the in-camera adjustments. In addition, you will see a banner indicating “Embedded Preview” for the image, so you know the preview was not generated by Lightroom.

Note, however, that if you switch to the Develop module, the preview will be updated (even in the Library module) to reflect the adjustment settings in Lightroom. For example, the black and white preview will be replaced by a color preview, based on the Develop settings.

While making use of the embedded preview option during import is a somewhat temporary solution, it does enable you to see the camera’s interpretation of your photos based on the in-camera settings you had selected.