Lightroom CC on iOS, low quality thumbnails

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  • Updated 8 months ago
  • (Edited)

When syncing a collection from what is now Lightroom Classic, to Lightroom mobile (now Lightroom CC), the Grid view shows horrible low res thumbnails in the Lightroom CC app's on iPad or iPhone. I do not believe this used to be the case before the Lightroom CC changes this fall. 

Selecting any image directly immediately shows the same size image, but at the much sharper quality. This is the case both in the long press feature, and going into edit or the other mobile modules.

 I realize there are differences between smart previews, and 1:1, but why do the images in the grid view display at a lower quality than even smart preview? and at such a low resolution? Is there a setting or sync trick that display's and acceptable quality image in gridview?

When presenting a collection of images to a client on a mobile device, you simply cannot show them in the mobile gridview and be respected for your photography.

The below screenshots (slightly compressed because jpg) show the gridview images, when clicking the middle photo, it stays the same size, but drastically increases in sharpness to what I believe is simply smart preview and not 1:1. Why the gridview is so much worse quality I cannot understand. This doesn't change whether i have them stored locally or accessed via internet. 

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Randall Jones

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  • frustrated

Posted 8 months ago

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Josh Haftel, Employee

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There's always a tradeoff between speed, memory consumption, battery utilization, and storage consumption. For the thumbnails, we selected a thumbnail size that would still make it possible to load quickly (especially brand new thumbnails), enable quick scrolling of large collections, and not take up too much space on the device. Having a much larger (resolution and compression level) image would be detrimental in nearly all of these categories.

We built in a mechanism to present images via the three dot menu called Present From Here, which switches to a special view (ensuring that your client doesn't accidentally change the flag or rating settings) in 1-up with a higher resolution image.

While we're exploring ways to improve the presentation, it'd be interesting to understand if the Present From Here functionality doesn't meet your needs and why you're looking to use the Grid view to present.

Thanks!
(Edited)
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Randall Jones

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Hello Josh, thanks for your detailed reply. 

I can understand and respect the design choices in ensuring the application is responsive and low on resources for all users. I've worked both as a developer and systems administrator and understand the balance of performance and practicality. Being able to jump into a collection and quickly search through it is indeed important, and in the case where a quick search is the need, the thumbnail quality is acceptable. When used to display your images professionally to a client, it can be off putting to be handed low quality images to look through. 

The Present option is also quite nice and functional for the 1-up view displaying the image without (or minimal?) compression loss. The transitions are great, but has more of a screensaver feel to it, where the client has to wait through every image. That feel of looking through a physical album, or online albums like facebook, instagram, flickr etc. have, is present in the Lightroom mobile apps, but without the quality. 

What I would like to be able to do is use the grid layout (whether in a special present mode or not) to allow the client to browse the images I've taken for them. Giving them the control to not only see their images (in a sharp, uncompressed view) flag the images they like, and go in or out of 1-up view as they see fit. In its current state they are instead presented with images that I have to offer excuses for, and set their expectations lower due to the compression. 

Some options to develop around this would be to present higher quality thumbnails if the "Store Locally" option had been used, or a similar setting that the device owner could opt into allowing those with the local storage to cache better thumbnails (like the 1:1 previews on PC). I thought that the mobile app used to do this prior to the switch to CC, but perhaps i'm mistaken. 

Hopefully this helpful in understanding the use case, and thank you for your time! 
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Josh Haftel, Employee

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Totally get you. Will definitely keep in mind as we work on improvements to the presentation experience.

Thank you!