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Playing around with the new lightroom and having files offline I discovered Lightroom will still export images even if the file is offline.  Thats could be a problem when you’re expecting a full/high resoltuion image!  

Primarily the smart preview is a small dng file and so won’t give you the resolution you are expecting if making a full size or similar image.  I at first thought digital noise looked different, but it is about the same in both images.  



to avoid the issue I suggest Jeffrey’s “Smart-Preview Support” Lightroom Plugin, It allows you to configure when exporting from the smart preview is ok and will bug you if you try and export from a smart preview when you don’t want to.  The plugin is dontionware, so try it out and if you like it send Jeffrey a few bucks.  He also has other great export tools as well as Lightroom productivity/file management plugins.