Lightroom: Give up Catalogs and allow file browsing

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Give up catalogs and browse photos from their current location. I bet this will speed up things. Let's not mention how helpful will this be for someone who is using Lr on a laptop and a desktop.
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Marius Peter

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Posted 2 years ago

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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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How do you imagine that would speed things up? It would skip the time importing them into the catalog, but you wouldn't be able to browse when photos were offline, and you wouldn't have virtual copies, or collection membership, or books, or...
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Marius Peter

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We'll see when ON1 raw converter will be available.
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Cristen Gillespie

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I primarily use Bridge with Photoshop, and I don't find it any faster than using Lightroom with a catalog. I have used Portfolio for cataloging offline assets for nearly 2 decades, and recently found software to replace it since it's no longer supported. Most of us need some application for offline asset management, even if we also use a browser for drives we have mounted. The browser-only solution isn't really a solution unless you're one of those who always has all your files always online.

On1 does have a pretty decent browser. I'm curious myself how they're going to handle raw processing with their browser—will they have Smart Previews? Will they have any way to access files when they're not accessible to the computer you're using? I'll be trying 10.5 out, though I'm pretty happy with LR/CR support for raw processing.

I don't keep all my photos on both my computers, so I use an external drive with my LR catalog on it. I import with Smart Previews, and then can work on my laptop when it's not in touch with my desktop. Or sync with LR Mobile for some very basic editing. I can't do that with only Bridge. So whatever route you go, there will be trade-offs in both convenience and speed.

That's why I use both LR and Bridge, as well as use On1's browser. I like using that best if I want to select just some files for import to LR, as I don't import all of my photos, and of course for starting in On1 because I mean to use their other modules next. Maybe 10.5 will bring another improvement to On1's browser that makes it even more compelling, but if I didn't have an offline asset manager that could handle more formats than LR, I'd most definitely be using LR to catalog as many files as it was capable of handling.