For many years, my photography workflow has been to dump my CF card of images into a folder on my laptop. Then, I open the folder using Canon's DPPro RAW editor, where I cull through them, apply RAW edits such as White Balance, Highlight and Shadows, then Export as JPEG. Then I finish up in Photoshop.
After this, I archive the RAW images to an external RAID. I organize the photos by date/subject in folders. I *really* don't want Adobe to catalog, index, rename, move, fold/spindle/mutilate my photos. If I go back to some photos, I move them to my internal drive, RAW edit, Photoshop edit, then move the finshed material back.
I want to move from Canon's RAW editor to Lightroom Classic. But can I just use Lightroom without all of Adobe's file management rigamarole? Please help me understand how. I would appreciate that very much.
No. You can't use Lightroom without importing pictures in an catalog. But you aren't forced to use any automatics.
I think you're better using Abobe's Bridge to organise and view your pictures on your RAID and for editing use Photoshop only.
I would agree that bridge would be a better solution for this thype of workflow.
You have to import the photos into Lightroom Classic. You do not have to perform actual "organizing" inside of LightrooM Classic (although I would advise you to use these features).
To build on Axel's reply, LR isn't for you. If you use Bridge, you can easily edit your raws using Adobe Camera Raw inside Photoshop, so you'll have access to the same raw editing capability that's built-in to LR.
I *really* don't want Adobe to catalog, index, rename, move, fold/spindle/mutilate my photos.
Let’s make sure we get one thing straight first. There are only two required steps to use Lightroom Classic compared to other solutions: Catalog images in a database, and build previews for them.
Everything else you mentioned is optional. You can catalog images in place — Lightroom Classic cataloged years of my film scans exactly in the folder organization I used long before Lightroom Classic. Moving, renaming, and any other file changes are just options.
If you are opposed to the cataloging step, then yes, you should use the combination of Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw instead. In Bridge you simply browse folders, and when you select one or more raw files, you can choose File > Open in Camera Raw to process them. When you’re done, you can use the Save button inside Camera Raw to export selected JPEG images in bulk at the specifications you require.
If it is a question of speed, you should set Bridge (or Lightroom Classic) preview options to prefer embedded previews. That should make the initial browsing speed more comparable to Canon DPP.