Lightroom: Retaining my NEF file description in a transfer from memory card via Lightroom to Elements

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For years I've been using Nikon Transfer to transfer my Nikon NEF/RAW files from my D3 and D3s, and now D4s. When I then open the transferred images in Photoshop Elements (up to and including Elements 13), the File Info has always displayed the descriptions that I had written before I transferred the photos.

Today I tried a transfer using Lightroom 5 instead. I typed the description in the appropriate fields, as before, but when I opened up the transferred photos in Photoshop Elements, as I always have done, this time the descriptions were all gone.

I suspect that the Nikon Transfer 2 software (V 2.10.12) is writing the descriptions to the RAW file which I understand Lightroom will not do (for safety), but what Nikon does has never caused me a problem -- and it displays my descriptions because of that. If I use Lightroom 5 to transfer images from my memory cards to my storage devices, how can I see my descriptions in the File Info of Photoshop Elements (up to and including 13)?
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Jan Wagner

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Posted 4 years ago

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I am not sure where you are typing the "description" or into what is the "appropriate field" but I am guessing that information is now in the Lightroom Catalog but not yet in the sidecar file that accompanies the raw file. .

To get it to the xmp sidecar file that Elements can reference, you need to select the files imported in Grid view in Lightroom, and hit [Ctrl/CMD] [ S ] to save the Lightroom catalog metadata to the raw file's sidecar file. Open the raw file in Elements. Can you see the information now?
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Jan Wagner

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Hi Rikk,

Thank you for responding to my question.

I tried what you suggested and it worked! Now when I go to the photos that I transferred via Lightroom to my folder that contains them in my Drobo (external hard drive array), I see two files per photo: the .NEF file and also a .xmp file. When I double click on one of the .NEF photo files to open the photo in Photoshop Elements 13, the photo opens as before but this time when I click on "File" --> "File Info..." I see all of my entered metadata, including descriptions and meaningful file names in the appropriate metadata fields. Goodbye Nikon Transfer 2, hello Lightroom 5!

Just out of curiosity, how does Elements know to go get the .xmp sidecar file when I click on only the .NEF file?
Also, the transfer process from my camera's memory cards via a card reader through my 2009 Mac Pro computer and onto my connected Drobo S is quite slow. Someone suggested that I drag the "Lightroom 5 Catalog" file out of where it is on my Drobo, and move it onto my computer. They also said to check and make sure that I have the Drobo S connected to that computer via the fastest means possible (not USB 2). They said that is a choke point, and that by having the "Lightroom 5 Catalog" file on the Drobo S, doing so is further contributing to a slowdown because information needs to travel back and forth between the computer and the Drobo even more. I just checked and saw that the Drobo is connected to my 2009 Mac Pro via one of the two Firewire ports. Also available on the Drobo is an eSATA port and a USB 2 port. My advisor further recommended that I buy and install an eSATA card in my Mac for quicker data transfer between my Drobo and my computer. He said that should significantly speed up my Lightroom 5 managed photo transfers from my memory cards to storage on my Drobo.

Do you agree with that assessment?

Jan