Lightroom: Ability to edit a raw file cataloged in Lightroom in an external editor

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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Currently under LR3 and LR4beta (Mac) if I right-click a preview of a RAW image (e.g, NEF) and select "edit in", the next window has "edit original" grayed out. It makes no sense to me to prevent users from editing their RAW files in an external editor. Presumably LR is just passing the filename to the external editor as an argument, thus this limitation appears to be intentional. Am I missing something? Is there some way around this? (And where does one file a formal feature request?)
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Philip T

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Posted 7 years ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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This is where you file formal feature requests.

Yes. AFAIK - the limitation is intentional. Lightroom would have no way to display the results of the edited raw file - so it would be confusing to edit the file and not see the edited file in Lightroom.
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Philip T

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Thank you for your quick reply. There are at least two things to think about here:

First, although "Lightroom would have no way to display the results of the edited raw file - so it would be confusing" may be true, this is already the case. For example, if I download my NEF files to disk, edit some of them in Nikon's software (e.g., ViewNX2 or Capture NX2), and then import the directory to Lightroom for cataloguing, Lightroom does not show the edits but rather, the underlying RAW original. Hence this confusion/limitation already exists.

Second, although not showing the externally made edits is a limitation (see P.S. below), not allowing the user to edit the original in an external editor is imposing a serious inconvenience for people who want to use the Library Module cataloguing functionality, but want to stick with their camera manufacturer's editing software. I realize that Adobe did not create the proprietary-RAW-file-format-dilemma, but adding an "Allow external editing of proprietary RAW files" preference option, perhaps together with a warning box when someone does this (e.g., "Note that Lightroom will not display the effects of editing this file in an external editor, do you wish to continue? / check-here if you do not want to see this warning in the future), would be very easy to implement and very useful to many of your customers. I would greatly appreciate it if you would allow this functionality. Please take this as a feature request.

Philip

P.S. Although it would take more programming work, and I don't know if things would have to be handled differently for different RAW file types, I notice that Nikon's Capture NX2 software has an "Embed Preview When Saving NEF/NRW" option in its preferences. If there is already a non-RAW preview embedded in the NEF, why not just extract it and use that within Lightroom? If the programming issues are not large, this would be a great enhancement. The followup minor enhancement request would then be for the synchronizer-folder option to scan for changes to existing files, and reload the preview so lightroom would have the most recent edit. Note that this feature suggestion is separate from requesting the ability to use the "edit in" context-menu to send RAW files to external editors.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Sure. I made this topic a feature request. Someone on the Lightroom development team could probably talk more about their decision making. By the way, raw is not an acronym, so it shouldn't be capitalized. :)