I like to use Smart Previews in the Develop module as it makes Lightroom much faster.
I understand that Develop module previews are different from Smart Previews and Library module 1:1 previews
My question is this. When I'm in the Develop module (with the hard drive containing my Raw files disconnected from the computer) am I editing a Smart Preview, or a Develop module preview created from the Smart preview rather than the original Raw file? A Develop module preview created from a Smart Preview would be smaller than one made from a full-size Raw file and account for the speed increase.
Hope that makes sense.
When you are using smart previews WITH the master files connected Lightroom displays the smart preview until you want to view the image at 100%. Then Lightroom will switch to its preview of the full image data. When you use smart previews with the master files not connected then everything is displayed using the smaller (but same) smart preview. So you won't be able to enlarge as much as you can when the master files are connected. One thing to consider is that when the master files are not connected you cannot send a smart preview to Photoshop or other external editor for additional editing. You have to have access to the master files to do that. I know, not part of your question.
Thanks, that's very helpful.