Lightroom Mobile - Explanation regarding Preview, Smart Preview, Original?

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Hi there,
I noticed that after opening one photo I can click on the sync button and I can choose among Preview, Smart Preview, Original (Jpeg/Raw). 
Can someone explain me the difference? Which one is better to use? In particular I would like to know how the performance of the tablet is influenced by the choice (in my case I have enough space in the memory but not a high performing tablet).
I am using LR mobile on Android.
Thank you in advance,
Luca
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Luca Marchini

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Posted 6 months ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Original is original, so that does not need further explanation. A smart preview is a smaller version of the original, to save space on your device. It can be edited as if it was the original however (and the edits are synced to the original online), so it gives you the advantage of being able to edit the image while you are offline, without taking up as much space as storing the original on your device would.

A (normal) preview is always present. It's a small jpeg file with the edits applied to it, so you can see what you have done. That is needed because Lightroom edits are 'parametric edits', meaning that the edits are not applied to the original image (or the smart preview), but kept as a kind of 'to do list'. Only when you export an image the edits will be applied on the exported copy. Consequently, if you did not have a preview, you would not be able to see an edited image.

If you only have a preview on your device, then you can look at the image but you can't edit it if you do not have an internet connection.
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Luca Marchini

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Hi Johan,
thank you for your support.
For the use on a tablet would you then recommend to use smart previews rather than original raw files?
Thank you,
Luca
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Yes, I use smart previews on my iPad. They are big enough and they are much smaller than raw files.
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Luca Marchini

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Thank you again, one more question. On a few pictures I had clicked on convert to original (raw), I can't find a way to convert back those pictures to smart previews. Do you know how to do it?
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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If the settings say that Lightroom should only keep smart previews on the device, then this should happen automatically. You may have to go to Settings - Local Storage and tap 'Clear Cache' to see the effect.
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Luca Marchini

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Thank you. It worked after tapping clear cash.