Lightroom: Add ability to read and use 'EXIF Resolution’ and ‘Scale By %’ in the Image Sizing Panel

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
This feature request is in response to a Lightroom Forum discussion concerning scanner image file processing titled “How can I export imagesfrom Lightroom 4, without changing Resolution?” The general advice given was "First and foremost Lightroom is software designed to process raw files from digital cameras." But Lightroom has evolved with many new features since its introduction in 2007 and with Lightroom 5 we now have an application that is well-suited for processing not only digital camera images, but also scanner image files. Document, photograph, and even film scanning are used in many commercial business and creative environments and show no sign of being replaced anytime soon.

Lightroom is a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to Photoshop for editing, organizing, cataloging and archiving digital camera image files all within one-application. With a few additions Lightroom’s capabilities can be expanded to fully accommodate scanner image files. These changes need not make Lightroom more difficult for users who only process digital camera images, since they won’t be available unless selected by the user. The requested changes can be implemented to retain full compatibility with previous versions.

The specific request is 'How can I export images from Lightroom 4, without changing Resolution,' but why is that necessary? Scanner image files contain the actual physical dimensions of the captured negative, transparency, photograph, or other 2D document. This file metadata information allows accurate display and print of photograph and other paper document scan image files at a specific target ppi in their actual life-size dimensions. For film scan images it provides a record of the original negative or transparency dimensions enabling identification of the camera format size (i.e. 35mm, 2 1/4, 4x5, 8x10, etc.). This information is required for archival purposes and allows creating and applying Lightroom Develop presets designed for specific film types.

In order to accommodate this request LR needs to have the ability to read and use the image file's EXIF 'Resolution' metadata in the Export module 'Imaging Sizing' panel. I suggest the following changes to enable processing scanner image files in Lightroom without the need to use Photoshop simply to retain the original EXIF 'Resolution' and 'Dimensions' during export.

1) Add ability to read the image file’s EXIF ‘Resolution’ and display the value in the Metadata panel in ppi or ppcm. Camera raw image files should not display a ‘Resolution’ value to be consistent with Adobe Bridge.

2) Add display of the image file’s EXIF ‘Resolution’ metadata field in the ‘Grid View and ‘Loupe View’ info fields using pixel dimensions (5616 x 3744 @ 72 ppi) and in/cm dimensions (78.0” x 52.0” @ 72 ppi). Camera raw image files should display only the pixel resolution values (5616 x 3744) to be consistent with Adobe Bridge.

3) Add ability to sort by the image file EXIF ‘Resolution’ and LR ‘Megapixels’ values in the Filter Bar. (NOTE: The current Grid and Loupe view info provide for display of ‘Megapixels,’ but not filtering.)

4)  Add an option checkbox to the Export module ‘Image Sizing’ panel titled ‘Use EXIF Resolution.’ When this option is selected the EXIF ‘Resolution’ metadata value for each image file should be automatically entered into the ‘Image Sizing’ ‘Resolution’ box. The ‘Resolution’ box should be grayed-out to indicate it cannot be changed. When the ‘Use EXIF Resolution’ checkbox is unselected the “last used” value should appear as it does currently.

5) Add the ability in the Export module ‘Image Sizing’ panel for “scaling” the image size by a percentage, such as 50% for creating scan images files that are “exactly” 1/2 life-size. The ppi value entered in the ‘Resolution:’ field should be maintained. If the ‘Use EXIF Resolution’ option is selected both the image ‘Dimensions’ (pixels) and ‘Resolution’ (ppi) should be scaled to preserve the original “life-size” image dimensions in inches or centimeters. This allows maintaining the actual size of scanned media such as film, pictures and other 2D objects in the scaled exported image file metadata. The “scaling” feature can be added to the current ‘Image Sizing’ mode-selector as a new item titled ‘Scale (%).’ The manual entry box below the selector should appear with the “last used value” and % value designator.

It would also be helpful if the image ‘Color Profile’ and ‘Bit Depth’ metadata values could be added for display in the ‘Grid View’ and ‘Loupe View’ Info and in the Filter Bar for sorting. Camera raw image files should display ‘Untagged’ for the ‘Color Profile’ to be consistent with Adobe Bridge. This would eliminate the need to use an external application like Adobe Bridge for simply reading and sorting by these values.

Thank you for your considerate attention.
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Todd Shaner

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Posted 7 years ago

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Rob Cole

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If you really need/want these capabilities before they are supported natively in Lightroom, Exportant will provide them.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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It is now four years later and still no solution offered by Adobe. I have also discovered that Rob Cole passed away over a year ago and his website and plugins are no longer available. I'm also not sure the 'Exportant' plugin would even work today in LR 6 and CC 2015 since the last version it was tested in is LR 4.

There have been numerous requests for the capability to retain the original file Resolution value in Lightroom Export files. For those seeking this capability I have provided instructions on how to easily use ExifToolGUI to copy over the original file Resolution data to the Export files here:

ExifToolGUI 5.16 download and manual link:
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Paul Plak

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While I understand the request, as I'm also using a lot of digital imaging that are not photographs, I do not really see LR as being the ideal platform to work on scanned files, unless they are scanned photographs that really need photo tweaking. I use another catalog program called ThumbsPlus for other files (drawings, documents). To me, enlarging the capabilities of LR towards other uses can only divert programming resources, while they are most needed just to keep the program efficient and stable for photo editing.

I'd go for making a more efficient and better organized export menu, that we could tweak into saved export options that we could actually open, edit and store in some named batch sequences (rather than presets where you have not a clear view over what commands are stored and what is not), and where you could use resolution as one of the parameters defining the export sizing. It is all I need.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"To me, enlarging the capabilities of LR towards other uses can only divert programming resources, while they are most needed just to keep the program efficient and stable for photo editing."

Paul, all that is needed is for Adobe to provide an option in the Export module's Image Sizing  'Resolution' drop-down selector for 'Use EXIF Resolution' instead of a "manually" entered value. All of the other capability requested has been implemented in the Export module. I'd be happy with just that one addition!

 You're more likely to get Adobe's attention by creating a new post with specific details on new features you like to see implemented in the Export module.