noel_carboni's profile

116 Messages


1.9K Points

Wed, May 18, 2011 11:39 PM


Lightroom/Camera Raw: Add a Camera Raw Option to Prevent Writing Back into Input Files


Under some conditions Camera Raw writes data back into (overwrites) its input files. Example: A JPEG file.

Under other conditions Camera Raw maintains this same kind of information in a separate place (e.g., Sidecar XMP or central database). Example: A CR2 or NEF file.

Assuming one uses Camera Raw to open out-of-camera original files as many photographers do, depending on what mode one has captured the images in, Adobe is inconsistent about whether to keep its hands off them or overwrite them... This seems to be because some formats are proprietary and some are well documented. From a programmer's perspective, this makes perfect sense.

Trouble is, from a user's perspective, this behavior cannot be described as anything but inconsistent.

Personally, I do not want my original out-of-camera JPEGs updated/rewritten under any circumstances.

Camera Raw will not touch a proprietary raw file, such as a Canon .CR2 or Nikon .NEF. There's a whole process for remembering settings in a separate database or sidecar XMP files. So far so good.

However, if you open a JPEG, TIFF, or DNG through Camera Raw, data WILL automatically be written back into it to tell another run of Camera Raw in the future what settings you used - without the software ever having warned you it will do so.

It is true that some functions EXPLICITLY rewrite input files. You can ask the software to write new thumbnails back into DNG files, for example. This seems fine - the user has instructed the software to overwrite the file, and the user is in charge, after all.

Overwriting/rewriting an input file without being instructed to do so is NON-INTUITIVE BEHAVIOR for any application. Simply put, I would not expect an input file to be overwritten by Camera Raw.

And we do see that it causes people confusion and surprise from time to time. You may right now be reading this in disbelief. I recommend you go test it for yourself (on a copy of one of your original JPEG files).

The original file being overwritten is a chief reason why I don't configure Photoshop to open my JPEGs through Camera Raw.


Please give those of us who don't want our input files overwritten an option for using the database/XMP sidecar instead in EVERY case.

Thank you.


4.5K Messages


76.3K Points

8 y ago

In my opinion, Adobe made a mistake (er, I mean: "decision") a long time ago, which we may have to live with for a long time to come:

* Original filename extension not included in xmp sidecar filename.

(this would be a good decision if your plans were firm to live forever with embedding xmp in all but proprietary raw files; otherwise: not a good decision)

This means JPEG, with same basename as RAW, for example, will have same xmp sidecar filename.

So, we got a problem. Not insurmountable, but a problem nevertheless.

I personally hope they bite the bullet and tackle it head on / take the bull by the horns and wrestle him down, i.e. find a way to support sidecars for all file types so we can end this discussion ;-}.

I try to keep expectation low, but hopes high...