Preferred Preview Option


Today’s Question: Please comment on Standard vs 1:1 previews at Import [into Lightroom Classic].

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can think of Standard previews in Lightroom Classic as being appropriate for evaluating a photo sized to fill your monitor’s display area. The 1:1 previews are employed when you need to zoom in to evaluate a photo. I think the Standard preview option is best if you don’t tend to zoom in on very many of your photos during review, and 1:1 previews are best if you tend to zoom in on many of your photos to evaluate them.

More Detail: Building previews during the process of importing your photos into Lightroom Classic can help streamline the process of reviewing your photos later. When browsing your photos in the Library module, you need a Standard preview if you will view an image at full-screen or smaller, and you need a 1:1 preview if you will zoom in to review the details of a photo.

If you don’t generate previews during the import process, the previews will instead need to be built on the fly as you browse your photos. In other words, the only real question about the previews is whether you have them all built during the import process or during your image review. By building previews during import, you are having Lightroom do the work of building previews all at once, helping speed up your browsing experience after the import.

I therefore strongly recommend building at least the Standard previews during import, to speed up your browsing experience when reviewing your photos after the import. Whether you should instead build the 1:1 previews depends on your browsing behavior.

If, like me, you tend to view the full photo when evaluating your images, without zooming in on most of your photos, then the Standard preview option is probably adequate. This is my preference, as I typically review all of my photos in either the Loupe view or Full-Screen view, only zooming in on a small number of photos that I want to get a closer look at.

On the other hand, if you tend to zoom in on a relatively large number of photos, you may want to use the 1:1 preview option during import, so that you won’t have to wait for a preview to be generated each time you zoom in on a photo. Keep in mind that the 1:1 previews consume more hard drive space than Standard previews. But if you make somewhat extensive use of the option to zoom in when evaluating your photos, that extra space may be worth consuming on your hard drive.