Today’s Question: What are the limitations on synchronizing images from Lightroom Classic to the Creative Cloud? Are the full-size versions of the images being synced, or only a preview? Can a full RAW be sent up to the cloud through Lightroom Classic? Or is the new Lightroom required for that?
Tim’s Quick Answer: When you synchronize photos from Lightroom Classic to the Creative Cloud, the synchronized image is a Smart Preview, which is essentially a reduced-resolution image converted to an Adobe DNG file. The cloud-based version of Lightroom, by contrast, synchronizes your original source captures across all devices.
More Detail: Lightroom Classic revolves around photo storage that you manage locally on your own computer. The synchronization feature enables you to easily share photos across a variety of devices, but only photos included in collections with synchronization enabled will actually be shared in this way. And those images will be reduced-resolution copies of the source photos, not the original photo files themselves.
More specifically, when photos are included in a collection in Lightroom Classic that has synchronization enabled, the photos will be synchronized as Smart Previews. Those are essentially Adobe DNG files with the resolution reduced to 2,540 pixels on the long side.
Keep in mind that you are also limited in the total storage capacity available for photo synchronization, based on your specific Creative Cloud subscription plan. For example, the basic Creative Cloud Photography Plan (https://timgrey.me/ccplans) includes 20GB of cloud storage, with higher-priced plans offering additional cloud-based storage capacity.
By comparison, the cloud-based version of Lightroom will actually synchronize the all original image files (including proprietary raw captures) to the Creative Cloud servers, making those source images available to all devices that you use to access the synchronized photos.