We have a brand new look! Take a tour with us and explore the latest updates on Adobe Support Community.
I have my Lightroom catalog and smart previews set to store on my MacBook Pro's SSD and my main image library stored on a LAcie Thunderbolt Quadra drive. I import with standard previews and smart previews and when viewing the file using Lightroom on my external montior set to 3000x1670 resolution the actual picutre in lightroom at 100% is vastly smaller than the screen area. I've tried unchecking edit with smart previews, i've also attempted to render 1:1 previews and nothing seems to be working.
It's frustrating not to be able to zoom into the file at a true 100% and check for focus and sharpness. I'm assuming this is a setting somewhere but i'm at a loss as of where to find it.
As a side note, the files are from a variety of cameras however all were shot in RAW at a resolution greater than my screen display size.
what size in pixels, width and height (not megabytes), is this photo?
They vary but all are bigger than the set displayed resolution. For example one is 3504x2386 or so and then i have stuff from newer cameras that is 5000x on the longest edge.
You have unchecked the use of smart preview, on the specific photo you are working on? - so far as what you see in Develop.
Sizing of previews (for Library module) can be controlled in LR Settings.
I have tried everything from rendering smart previews, removing smart previews, rendering 1:1, standard, etc. Nothing i do seems to show the photo at anything more than about 60% of the screen at 100%.
Ive had a play in the LR Settings and as yet nothing has helped it.
Also, is this a "Retina" screen? I am not a Mac user, but somewhere in my memory I seem to recall that "Retina" screens can cause this problem.
My MacBook Pro is a retina screen but the external display is a LG27UL850 4k monitor and it's set to display at around 3008x1692 res.
As you can see here the Monitor resolution has been set, the file is at 100% and only has coverage of this amount of the screen.
I suggest you try on the standard setting not Scaled... as your file is cropped and smaller than the screen. See if that solves it ???
Are you using the smart previews to edit?
From what I gather the develop module defaults to the main image to edit, I have the box unticked to edit with smart previews too.
Copy link to clipboard
This is probably going to be a disappointing answer (and way too long), but…from a technical point of view, it looks like nothing is wrong here.
What you want is understandable: You want to see the pixels in the image. Traditionally and obviously, this was done by using the “100%” magnification. Here is the problem: Practically all photo applications have defined “100%” to mean one image pixel to one display pixel (and not anything related to real world size). This worked great for all those years on older displays, where the ppi resolution was so low that you can see individual display pixels at 100%. Conveniently, we all got into the habit of using 100% for detail checking.
But that habit broke down as display resolutions started to increase toward print resolutions. The higher the display ppi, the less visible the individual pixels are. Older displays are in the range of 90–110 ppi. Newer Retina (Mac) and HiDPI (Windows) displays are 150 ppi and up. In that higher range, pixels get hard to see at 100% (1:1) magnification.
But photo applications (Adobe and non-Adobe) still define 100% magnification as 1 image pixel to 1 screen pixel. Technically, this means nothing is wrong: The meaning of 100% magnification has not changed. But practically, if we continue to think 100% means “I can see the pixels,” we are frustrated because we cannot see the pixels due to the higher ppi of today’s displays.
To boil it down, the root cause of the problem is that many of us got used to 100% as some kind of “actual size” when it never meant that, unless output was to the screen. 100% definitely never meant “actual size” if you wanted to print at something like 300 ppi. So one part of the solution is to recognize that 100% is not and never has meant “actual size.” unless you were a web designer. (And today even that doesn’t hold up, which is another long story.)
What’s the solution then? If you want to see image pixels, use a higher magnification, such as 200%.
Note that this is completely consistent with photography in general. What was “actual size” in the darkroom? The size of the print. Can you see the individual grains at print size/actual size? Not unless it is a very large print, otherwise you must increase the magnification, by using a loupe. Same here…you want to see the pixels, you increase the magnification.
Also, this will not be addressed by changing the display resolution in the macOS Displays preference. That’s because all of the Scaled resolutions affect only the UI resolution, not the content resolution. But all of those options always use the full resolution — every pixel — of the display. Changing the Scaled option to 3000 x 1692 pixels draws UI elements and text slightly larger than the display’s native 3840 x 2160 pixels, but they are still rendered using every pixel of the 3840 x 2160 display for full detail. The content itself, the photo, is also rendered using every pixel of the display; so when displaying 1 image pixel to 1 display pixel (1:1 0r 100% magnification) the image must be smaller than on an older, lower resolution display. Again, this is true in nearly all photo applications. The way display settings scale the UI separately from image content on Retina/HiDPI displays is consistent throughout macOS and I think Windows too, because it allows UI scaling while still using every pixel of the display.
How much smaller? A 27-inch 4K display is about 163 ppi. An older 27-inch display is typically 108 ppi. The difference? A little more than 60%. That would account for the 60% difference you see.
You've hit the nail on the head, i read this and then went into my resolution settings and opened it at the same res but what they class as 'low resolution' mode and the photos went to their original size and then it's all clicked into place. Thank you!
It doesn't detract from the fact that as i'm quote old school in how i viewed my images it's a bit of a head scratcher to how i'll adapt but at least it's solved my problem and i'm not thinking Lightroom is doing something it shouldn't any more. Thanks again!
There is a workaround: In the Finder, open the Applications folder (Go > Applications), select Adobe Lightroom Classic application, choose File > Get Info, and select Open in Low Resolution.
This is just a workaround because the application will no longer take full advantage of the 4K display resolution you paid for, but if you prefer working this way, it might be worth using.