Best DAM?: digital-asset management options

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by studio460, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. I'm deciding on my primary digital-asset management/cataloging software. Here's some data I've collected:
    1. Custom: Getty/WireImage uses proprietary DAM software.
    2. Custom: One of the largest digital workflow vendors, Industrial Color, again, uses their own software.
    3. Adobe Bridge: used by a number of major media photo editors.
    4. Photo Mechanic: used by a number of major media photo editors.
    5. ACDSee: used by a number of major media photo editors.
    6. Phase One Media Pro 1: An old favorite, formally known as, iView MediaPro/Microsoft Expression Media, is now owned by Phase One, and has been re-branded as Media Pro 1. Unfortunately, it's apparently suffering from version 1.x-itis, and is reportedly very unstable in its current iteration. Even in its current version, it has some interesting, and unique, DAM-related features. It'll certainly be worth re-evaluating when v2.0 is released.
    7. IDimager [XP/Windows7 only]: haven't seen anyone using this, but it looks pretty good--[http://www.idimager.com/products/idimager].
    Of the applications listed above, the one I see used most often by photo editors is Photo Mechanic. I was leaning towards Photo Mechanic, but I think I may give this IDimager a try--Oops! It's Windows-only!--I'm OS X (although I may switch to a Core i7, 64-bit Windows7 machine for its price/performance advantage).
    Any other suggestions?
     
  2. On another forum, an OS X user recently mentioned two additional OS X browsers/catalogers, that I hadn't heard of (Portfolio and ImageFolio), but decided on Media Pro 1, despite the fact that he's aware of the application's less-than-stellar user reports.
     
  3. I see Lightroom is missing. It's about 10000 times better than Bridge, in terms of DAM, 100000000 times better than ACDSee and Photo Mechanic - I'm not even going to go on...
    Strange...
     
  4. +1 Lightroom but building a useful DAM workflow really depends on your needs: are you selling stock images or just photographing the family cat?
    The most comprehensive info on all things DAM is the site www.thedambook.com
     
  5. Extensis Portfolio
     
  6. Dan said:
    +1 Lightroom but building a useful DAM workflow really depends on your needs: are you selling stock images or just photographing the family cat?​
    Don't plan on selling stock, and I can honestly say I've never taken a picture of a cat. Since I'm starting from scratch (all my licenses are Windows-based, and I've since switched to OS X), I thought it a good time to begin a serious DAM strategy. I'm shooting both personal work, and client work.
    The most comprehensive info on all things DAM is the site www.thedambook.com.​
    Yes, I've been reading up on that site. Read his article--haven't bought the book yet.
     
  7. Louis said:
    Extensis Portfolio​
    Yes, I was looking at that also . . . what is it you like about the Extensis product?
     
  8. Marios said:
    I see Lightroom is missing.​
    Yes, I wasn't including PIEs.
     
  9. IDimager looks really interesting, but I'll have to get a Windows machine up and running to try it out. I may soon jump the OS X ship for a blistering-fast, Core i7 Windows7 machine, with a ridiculous amount of RAM to try it out--you just get so much bang-for-the-buck with PCs these days.
     
  10. It is true that pros use Bridge and Photo Mechanic, but neither are DAMs.

    It is a mistake to exclude Lightroom.
     
  11. I Googled someone's mini-review about IDimager from 2010:
    "[IDimager] is based on SQL database. so metatdata is not trapped in a proprietary jail. Very responsive customer support. Active ongoing deelopment with frequent updates. Active user forum. Full support of international metadata standards, even recent additions. Download images automated for adding copyright and labels, saving untouched originals to another folder, and much more. Files move with verification. Easily imports controlled vocabular. Your choice to write data to images and database or only to database. Works on Windows 7 64 bit very quickly. Backup of database very easy. Tracks images burned to CD/DVD.'
     
  12. >>> Any other suggestions?

    It's a real shame you have intentionally dismissed Lightroom. Having used that since he beginning (coming from iView)
    with far more than 100K images, it has served me very well. I realize it isn't the most esoteric sounding solution.
    But it is the best, being robust, scaling well, and having great and frequent upgrades over the years. It's not lacking features, but
    more importantly, it's a system that I have confidence in and trust going forward.

    >>> I may soon jump the OS X ship for a blistering-fast, Core i7 Windows7 machine, with a ridiculous amount of
    RAM to try it out--you just get so much bang-for-the-buck with PCs these days.

    You're looking for *value* on the hardware side, yet you're not considering LR for DAM on the systems/software side, which is far more important long-term. Very odd. And shortsighted...
     
  13. Well, I'm just starting to research this. I was looking for a dedicated DAM, not a PIE, possibly for some enhanced performance, and a more archive-directed feature set. Of course, many use Lightroom as a DAM, but from what I've read so far, LR may not be the best choice for a DAM. Apparently, LR does not verify file moves/copies. Also, dedicated DAMs appear to have more archival-tracking tools, e.g. "tracks images burned to CD/DVD."
     
  14. In your previous posts you said you're just starting with photography again after a long absence. How many images do you seriously imaging you'll shoot over the course, say, of a year, to require the most powerful dedicated DAM solution? 30,000? 50,000? 100,000? Even if you were indeed shooting that much (whcih would mean you would be on assignment with NG for 10 months a year!), unless your requirements included sharing those images with 10 different channels, auto-exporting to hundreds different media (with different demands each), maintaining a full-tracking of EVERYTHING because licensing fees depend on that, EVEN then, LR would more than cover you AND provide a very robust initial editor to boot.
    I just get the impression (from all your posts) that you're attempting to build an arsenal of super tools for what appears to be no clear goal or even process yet. I'm not even going to go into the subject of cost...
     
  15. I bought Portfolio and it does have some nice features--all of which I certainly have not capitalized on. I chose it after looking at most of the other solutions you mention here. It was one that seemed to work best with off-line files--Lightroom destroyed data when I tried it with offline images and on a trial, I couldn't get Adobe support to address the issue.
    In any case, I still use it for some things but I found that having a system outside of my normal work flow was tedious and time consuming. With Bridge, I can easily keyword, including ones that automatically create desired collections and search my files quickly. It would be even better if I restructured things a bit. For off-line storage, I just make small jpegs in folders referencing those storage devices that are off-line--very small footprint with lots of information.
    Since I use bridge as my "base", it is a direct, one path work flow to keep my images in order.
     
  16. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    It is a mistake to exclude Lightroom.
    It's a real shame you have intentionally dismissed Lightroom.​
    Guys, there is some anti-LR slant here, just see this recent thread from Ralph:
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00ZK4G
    Basically he is again asking for advise after making up his mind in the first place. What’s the point?
    Of course, many use Lightroom as a DAM, but from what I've read so far, LR may not be the best choice for a DAM.​
    LR is an excellent DAM. How many more people will it take to tell you this before you either accept it or continue to wait for a predetermined answer? Tells us what product you want to buy and we’ll all agree with you so these silly posts stop.
     
  17. I am managing between 30,000-40,000 images per year with a combination of Aperture/Photoshop and my collection goes back to 2001. All images are available to me on a couple of RAID 5 drives and they are backed up and they are archived to an offsite drive. Backups and archives are generated with SuperDuper.
    Over the years, I have had several drive failures, but have not lost any pictures to the best of my knowledge (knock on wood).
    In terms of archival-tracking, I would never ever ever use CD or DVD. They are not as stable as you might think, you end up fragmenting our image files into small junks of 4.2GB (unless you go blu-ray...and then it is small 50GB junks). With the cost of hard drives so low, multiple very large drives are the way to go, if you plan on having lots of pictures. Smaller ones are also available.
    Lastly, don't look to software to solve archival tracking issues. The single most important thing is for YOU to develop a comprehensive strategy that works for you. I can usually find a single picture out of 300,000-400,000 pictures in less than 30 minutes.
    On my blog (http://www.e2photo.net/e2Photography,_LLC/Blog/Entries/2011/5/1_Hotdog_daCHshund.html)
    I describe what has worked for me.
     
  18. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Over the years, I have had several drive failures, but have not lost any pictures to the best of my knowledge (knock on wood).​
    Probably because you had backups. Anyone who blames LR or any product for corrupting their images or database and has no back up deserves to suffer <g>. Any product could be substitute for LR in this case. It could be a Word manuscript. It could be your iTunes Library. And to blame the software when any number of issues could be the cause is pointless. Backup, backup, backup.
     
  19. many pro i know (including myself) use Ligthroom for many reason, one is the integration with the other Adobe product AND because it is more than just a catalogue... but im not gonna repeat myself from the other post and suggest you read the link i provided again ; )
    *by the way, thanks for your comment on my work... but none of the image there have been taking by me.. im a digital assistant and a retoucher.. so what you see is the final product i deliver.
     
  20. Andrew said:
    Guys, there is some anti-LR slant here, just see this recent thread from Ralph:
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00ZK4G
    Basically he is again asking for advise after making up his mind in the first place. What’s the point?​
    Yes, and in that thread, I agreed, Lightroom is a superior workflow tool, and I plan on buying it. I just don't think it's the best DAM tool, at least for me.
     
  21. Patrick said:
    *by the way, thanks for your comment on my work... but none of the image there have been taking by me.. im a digital assistant and a retoucher.. so what you see is the final product i deliver.​
    I was complimenting your digital retouching! I knew the photos were clients'.
     
  22. thanks ; )
     
  23. Marios said:
    In your previous posts you said you're just starting with photography again after a long absence. How many images do you seriously imaging you'll shoot over the course, say, of a year, to require the most powerful dedicated DAM solution? 30,000? 50,000? 100,000?​
    I think I currently have about 75,000 images spread across multiple drive volumes.
    I just get the impression (from all your posts) that you're attempting to build an arsenal of super tools for what appears to be no clear goal or even process yet. I'm not even going to go into the subject of cost...​
    Yes! I am building an arsenal of super-tools! No! I have no clear goals or processes yet! Yes! I spend lots of money on "stuff." Why is that of anyone's concern?
     
  24. Steven said:
    In terms of archival-tracking, I would never ever ever use CD or DVD. They are not as stable as you might think, you end up fragmenting our image files into small junks of 4.2GB (unless you go blu-ray...and then it is small 50GB junks). With the cost of hard drives so low, multiple very large drives are the way to go, if you plan on having lots of pictures.​
    Thanks again for your comments. Yes, that's currently what I'm doing--storing on multiple drives, then transferring to brand new drives every few years. But, I do also use a stand-alone media card-to-DVD burner for all family photo sets--vacation/holiday photos are immediately burned to DVD for internal distribution, and for archive. Last I read, metallized polycarbonate substrates were rated for about 25 years.
     
  25. Brad said:
    Having used that since he beginning (coming from iView) with far more than 100K images, it has served me very well. I realize it isn't the most esoteric sounding solution. But it is the best, being robust, scaling well, and having great and frequent upgrades over the years.​
    Thanks for your comments. Well, that's certainly convincing testimony, especially coming from a former iView user. I guess I'll have to take another look at using LR as a DAM. Is LR easy to use with multiple drives? Is the general procedure for storing/retrieving data from multiple locations similar to Aperture's (e.g., you "point" to a new location by option-clicking upon application start)?
     
  26. Louis said:
    Portfolio is a dedicated, SQL-based Image DAM.​
    Thanks for your reply, Louis. John A. seems to like it enough to have tried it as well. I like that it's SQL-supported--so is IDimager. I'm downloading the trial right now, but it worries me that Extensis hasn't performed a major upgrade to the stand-alone product in over five years, and basically has an invisible customer support presence. What caught my eye about IDimager is its surprisingly populated and active user forum (for a product I've never heard of), and reported Buff-like customer support response.
     
  27. John A. said:
    I bought Portfolio and it does have some nice features--all of which I certainly have not capitalized on. I chose it after looking at most of the other solutions you mention here.​
    Thanks for reply, John. I was wondering whether you meant the stand-alone Portfolio 8.5 local app, or one of their Portfolio Server 10, web-based editions?
     
  28. I used Portfolio for several years and finally gave up on it for the reasons you stated, as well as some performance / behavioral problems. For example, when ingesting and cataloging a new set of images, a new drive, etc., v8.5 will stop in its tracks (and sometimes even hangs and needs to be manually closed) if it runs into a file it can't understand. As I recall, even a format as simple as a 16 bpc TIF caused this. This is no problem if you are only ingesting a few hundred images from a shoot and you have converted a few to this format for processing, but if you are trying to re-catalog one of your main archive HDs with tens of thousands of images, and it hangs every time it encounters a 16 bpc TIF, it's useless to me.
    That being said, it has a LOT of potential if they would only fix these sorts of simple problems. I love its search capabilities.
    Tom M
     
  29. Tom said:
    I used Portfolio for several years and finally gave up on it for the reasons you stated, as well as some performance / behavioral problems.​
    Thanks for your report, Tom! Yes, I just tried the Extensis product, and decided gave it a pass (i.e., "thumbs-down"). I'm trying some of the other demos . . . I do like the fact that some of the other apps have a much smaller code base than others (e.g., <30MB vs. >100MB), and I'm really liking some of these apps!
    At this point, I may be just be looking for a browser, rather than a cataloger, or a full-fledged DAM, especially, since I'm just now learning the distinction. The OS X version of ACDSee is actually pretty nifty. Still yet to try Photo Mechanic, and this new one I found, iMatch3, seems promising as well. I just ran IDimager on a PC netbook--it seems pretty nimble, even on a 1GHz Atom--it has a definite PC-DBMS flair to it as well--an interesting product. Again, I'm considering all available options for all of my image management tasks, and for my varied workflow strategies.
     
  30. It just occurred to me that this may be a segregated, two-step process: What I'm really looking for right now, is an "X-Tree" kind of app for images (for those who remember DOS), where speed and visible directory structures, across multiple volumes, is the priority. Once these gross file-management duties are performed, that's not to say that a more polished, Aperture or Lightroom solution would then be opted-in later.
     
  31. I said:
    The OS X version of ACDSee is actually pretty nifty.​
    Hold that thought . . .
    Photo Mechanic for OS X:

    While the OS X version of ACDSee has the most-often used editing features (highlight recovery, black/white-point set, curves, color-correction, etc.) in its "process" mode, Photo Mechanic is apparently singularly-purposed as an editor only. And, it delivers: it produces wicked-blazing-fast image previews/thumbnails like nothing I've ever seen. Srceen refreshes while scrolling is instant--as if all graphics data is residing in an on-board memory cache. As a no-frills, browser-app only, it's quite impressive--I'm sold!
     
  32. Searching on another forum, I found that two of the most-common Photo Mechanic workflows are:
    A.) If batch-processing post-processes on a number of images:
    1. Ingest/edit with Photo Mechanic.
    2. Import selections into Lightroom.
    B.) If performing unique edits to individual images:
    1. Ingest/edit with Photo Mechanic.
    2. Set Photoshop as the default editor when the "edit" button is clicked in Photo Mechanic.
     
  33. FWIW, I use method (A) if I have a lot of images to ingest or edit their metadata. If I don't have a lot (ie, over a few hundred) or don't have to do any fancy editing of the metadata, I usually go straight into LR.
    WRT image retrieval, you should try to estimate how often you will be doing complex searches in your archive. In other words, how often will you be searching fields other than the caption and keywords ... how often you will be doing Boolean searches, etc. Of course, having the ability to do such searches is desirable, but if it isn't essential, you might be able to get away with something as simple as Picasa. It handles huge number of images (well over 100k), is fast, is happy running in the background and doesn't take up too much of your processor or memory, and, most importantly, it's stable and I've never once had to rebuild it's indices. After giving up on Portfolio, for image retrieval, I now rely on a combination of LR (for more complex searches) and Picasa for easy searches. It isn't exactly hi-brow, but it works.
    Tom M
     
  34. in the end Ralph, it is whatever suit your need that will be a good way of doing it... BUT for me, i like to keep thing as simple as possible by using the least amount of software and try all i can to master them. Of course, those software should be able to do all i need when i need it, be fast, simple (or have a simple and intuitive menu to follow) and more importantly deliver the best image rendition at the end.
    I have the chance of working professionally for the past 18 years, so i shoot and i work on a loooooot of images per week.. and per year it is insane! I dont claim or pretend that i know everything, but i like to think that the method i use is pretty well test and is pretty efficient.. when i read other retoucher or photog blog, or see video of there technique or tools, it seem that whe all have the same or pretty close the same set up and workflow.. must be for a reason ; )
    I also had the chance over this long period of time to work with them all; C1Pro, ACdsee, PhotoMechanix, Cumulus, Portfolio, Iview, Microshoft Media Pro, Capture NX, Phocus, Canon DPP, Flextight, and pretty much all software out there that was release with camera before Lightroom and Aperture.... of course, from time to time, i let some go, jump on another wagon... use this software for a time, until newer arrive and i set myself as long as i can before feeling the need to make another switch. Of course, some of them are more powerfull than before and worth a look today.
    I use Lightroom for all it offer, and since it work with almost all the camera out there i dont have to learn all the camera manufacturer soft. With it i create catalog per year so i limit the size of it. Those catalog contain only the raw file as i dont recatalogu my psd, tif or jpeg.. as i explain in the link i provided in a different post, i name my folder by client name, and in those folder i put a folder with the raw use, the psd, and the tif / jpeg that i deliver to the client.. those folder are then put on a external HD in a firesafe. I use the simple apple search function to find what i need in this hard drive since i call them with client name (PLAVOIE/ELLE_QCSETP2011) it is easy to find all the ELLE QC folder and see by the name witch month or year it have been done.
    Since with Lightroom i can catalog, print, keyword AND develop my image, im pretty good i must say with it. For what i cant do, i use Photoshop. For my personal images, i rarely need anymore Photoshop, Element could do, but due to the nature of my work (fashion, beauty, cosmetic retouching) Photoshop is THE tool that i need as no other can do what i do with it... but i dont use ACR + BRIDGE anymore since i use Lr since is beta stage 3-4 years ago.
    I cant understand when people here and on other forum talk about how the workflow is so simple by using Capture NX to developed there images, use PhotoMecanix to create thumbnail and clean them, DxO to correct there lens problems, Portfolio to keep track of all there image span on 100000 CD / DVD, Lightroom to (i dont know what to do with it at this stage) and Photoshop to squeeze the extra bit of juice out of there file... how can a workflow could be simple when you need 6 software to do what you need.. how can you be good at anything if you have 6 software to learn?.. and can you afford or justify (to yourslef) the money spending to start and to maintain them up to date... that is seriously for me a lack of serious basic understanding of the whole process... just my personal oppinion.. nothing personal.. to each is own way. But i prefer to complicated my life else where, or i should say put my energy on things that really matters.
    What i say is, for me, a professional who work with image all day long, all I need is Lightroom and Photoshop so i can concentrate my effort on something else more important; shoot and retouch. People make it way too much complicated for what it is in reality, by trying all the demo out there, searching the web for answer on not equally good forum.... If you have all that time to do so, you are not doing what you should do that seem more important witch is taking / making image ; )
    In the end, theres must be a reason if user from all background more often than not suggest you the use of Lightroom and Photoshop... Tim is a long time graphic designer, Andrew a well respected individual in the color world that know more than i can understand about the subject, Tom that seem to know many trick in Photoshop and Photography in general, Scott that also seem to be a long time user of Photoshop... and me a guy who study in photography and work as a retoucher for many important fashion photographer (all the other i didtn name, sorry ; )... if whe all suggest it that is because whe believe it is the best product for you, not because whe dont know anything else or because whe have Adobe action (well maybe Andrew have some ; P but because it is a product that prove itself amongs pro and amateur alike.
    The 3 software more use around me when i look what professional do are C1Pro and Lightroom, and Photoshop. there must be a why...
     
  35. Patrick said:
    In the end, theres must be a reason if user from all background more often than not suggest you the use of Lightroom and Photoshop... Tim is a long time graphic designer, Andrew a well respected individual in the color world that know more than i can understand about the subject, Tom that seem to know many trick in Photoshop and Photography in general, Scott that also seem to be a long time user of Photoshop... and me a guy who study in photography and work as a retoucher for many important fashion photographer​
    Thanks for your commentary, Patrick. I don't doubt anyone's expertise in their field, and in selecting the most productive and efficient workflow tools for their specific needs. The difference between their work and, yours, Patrick, is that you guys do this for a living.
    I'm just starting, and am basically picking and choosing my clients. The two organizations I'm hoping to work for the most, I won't even edit my own photos--I just turn in my cards, and their in-house staff edits and post-processes.
    I cant understand when people here and on other forum talk about how the workflow is so simple by using Capture NX to developed there images, use PhotoMecanix to create thumbnail and clean them, DxO to correct there lens problems, Portfolio to keep track of all there image span on 100000 CD / DVD, Lightroom to (i dont know what to do with it at this stage) and Photoshop to squeeze the extra bit of juice out of there file... how can a workflow could be simple when you need 6 software to do what you need.. how can you be good at anything if you have 6 software to learn . . .​
    Again, I'm a hobbyist, turning sort-of-pro. A few months ago, I did nothing but play with perspective control on my freeway and cityscape shots in DxO Optics Pro--I found exploring DxO's features really fun. For my first paid jobs, I did an interior (12 images), baby portraits (39 images), and next week, a Vogue fashion event, which I'm likely going to shoot just for fun--all, likely candidates for an efficient Lightroom workflow, once I purchase it and learn how to use it. Recall that I do now plan on buying and using Lightroom (using the workflow decribed above, in procedure 'A').
    This evening, I just shot a few dozen images for a friend--I'm doing a super-quick edit (basically, just tagging deletes) in Photo Mechanic, then burning a DVD and handing it off--I have zero need to archive or retain these images--one example of adopting different tools for differing needs. By the way, I absolutely love the ingest features of Photo Mechanic (e.g., up to three custom target ingest volumes, automated dated-folder creation, etc.)!
    The 3 software more use around me when i look what professional do are C1Pro and Lightroom, and Photoshop. there must be a why...​
    Yes, there is a reason why . . . those are the tools that best fit those requirements. Capture One is a fixture on every pro studio set I've ever been on--if you're shooting tethered, you're likely using C1 (yes, I know LR supports tethering also). Lightroom and Photoshop are the best tools for those applications as well.
    I'm neither that knowledgeable, nor that interested in doing a lot of post work for clients--I'd rather leave that to others, those much smarter than me in those areas (of course, my personal work is different). By the way, if and when I do ever get a high-falutin' fashion or beauty gig, guess who'll I'll be calling first to do the all the post work on?
     
  36. Again, for someone who's "only now starting", who's "turning sort-of pro" and who's only done a few shoots, you're really going - apparently in most people's opinion - a bit overboard. I'm with Patrick every step of the way - photography is mostly about shooting (mind you, I did not say "the business of photography" - that's another level altogether), not about having an background IT infrastructure capable of handling Getty's workloads!
    Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if, next week or so, we find a post from you asking what business software you need and suggesting that we only look at SAP-level solutions. Yes, NG and Getty and AP DO have SAP, but we're talking about multi-hundred-million dollar organisations who can, possibly, afford the 50-80 million USD it takes for a SAP installation. And your "super system" would be incomplete without it...;-P
     
  37. Marios said:
    Again, for someone who's "only now starting", who's "turning sort-of pro" and who's only done a few shoots, you're really going - apparently in most people's opinion - a bit overboard​
    Marios, you have no idea . . . I go overboard on everything!
    Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if, next week or so, we find a post from you asking what business software you need and suggesting that we only look at SAP-level solutions.​
    Well, I'm not that interested in back-office IT, but I did build an AI-driven "idea generator" on an Amiga once! That's part of what intrigued me about IDimager. I think the voice-recognition features of IDimager, plus its DBMS-oriented architecture, coupled with an easy-to-use inference engine, could make for some interesting applications. Unfortunately, my coding skills are only about as advanced as my Lightroom skills!
     
  38. MF: "...Again, for someone who's "only now starting", who's "turning sort-of pro" and who's only done a few shoots, ..."
    I could be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading that Ralph is an experienced pro video photographer. If that is the case, I certainly wouldn't put him in the same category as a true newbie or pro-wannabe. I figure that he's seen what it takes to be a pro in another area of photography and wants to ensure he set up to "do it right" in the area of stills.
    Ralph, if my memory is off base (and it easily could be), my apologies and please correct me.
    Tom M
     
  39. Tom said:
    Ralph, if my memory is off base (and it easily could be), my apologies and please correct me.​
    Thanks for your comments, Tom. No, you're correct, I'm a television ENG/EFP camera operator and lighting director, with national broadcast network credits, and more years in the business than I care to recall. I've been working at NBC for the last 15 years.
     
  40. That's what I thought, Ralph.
    For some reason, I never remember that there are Bios on photo.net. I just realized that I could have looked up Ralph's background info without asking.
    If a pro from an allied field wants to discuss and then purchase a good set of tools to do pro-level work (including asset management) in a closely related field, it seems more than silly to criticize him for doing so. I think Ralph is being overly modest / self-denigrating when he labels himself a "hobbyist" -- read his bio. 99.99% of folks on photo.net would not call themselves a "hobbyist" still photographer with a bio like that. Sheesh.
    Tom M
     
  41. Gee, thanks, Tom! Your thoughts are much appreciated!
     
  42. Media Pro from Capture One, is NOT ready for prime time yet. It does not have the ability to write data into xmp sidecar files without erasing most of the data that was already there. This includes structured keywords, despite what the program options show. All it would need would be an option to merge data with existing xmp sidecar file. It still uses the xmp urgency field to transfer color label selection, despite giving you a choice of annotation options that would lead you to think that it does not do this.
    Overall, VERY half baked. Good layout concepts, but no one that really knew about metadata needs of photographers ever tested it thoroughly and so the product was never really finished.
    Photo Mechanic is probably the most useful tool at moving metadata between various programs correctly, and of course as fast ingest/culling software. When Camera Bits/Photo Mechanic finally finishes their catalog software, they will take a lot of market share of serious users. But, right now the catalog software options all have their weaknesses. LR, is probably as good as any of the others, as long as you do not need anything too sophisticated.
     
  43. Tom Reynolds said:
    Media Pro from Capture One, is NOT ready for prime time yet. It does not have the ability to write data into xmp sidecar files without erasing most of the data that was already there.​
    Yes, I would tend to agree. And, yes, that deficiency alone would disqualify Media Pro's consideration for many. Also, its ability to display previews is inexorably slow (3-5 seconds), and that alone dropped it from my consideration as well. What I was really looking for was a more flexible ingest manager, and that's what I've found in Photo Mechanic.
     
  44. First:
    Photo Mechanic, Bridge and AcDsee are browsers, with some editing capabilities. Photo Mechanic is blazing fast to build previews and has a professional Captioning system (used by AP photographers, for example). One of the nicer features I found is that you can add IPTC data embedded in the files, rather than building an extra XMP file. You can also select the best images with a simple check box, which i think is fastest than any other solution like flags, colors, etc.
    But these cannot be considered as DAM tools.
    Second:
    Aperture and Lightroom are Library based software, which is pretty different. You need to import files to your library, wait for thumbnails to be created, and then the RAW files need to be processed with the development settings (ACR in the case of Lightroom). After that, you can start looking through your catalog. These programs can do all the things that the first ones do, plus developing and exporting pictures with a professional engine. I think LR 4 is the best software available to do this, specially because of the new highligths and shadow sliders that are, at least, magical.
    LR can be considered as DAM because you can use your catalog as an archive system for all your files, specially if they are on DVDs or Hard drives offline. It also builds a very handy sequence of video files, so by rolling over your thumb you can get a preview of your clip.
    But it's still very slow to do these tasks. I've been trying to force the program to build previews so you don't got asleep waiting for them each time you access your catalog, but I always come to a point where I get a grey grid without any thumb.
    Third:
    Extensis Portfolio and Media Pro are archiving tools. You need to import your files to their database. Both of them have very good tools for searching your files, but Media Pro gives you the possibility to group them in many convenient ways. I've been using Portfolio many years, but now that I'm shooting video, it's not a solution anymore. It builds small previews and you don't get an idea of what you have in your clip. Media Pro is so buggy that is almost impossible to use it.
    So I'm still looking for a solution. Photo Mechanic developer is working on a catalog system. I hope this could be a choice
     
  45. Pablo, nice review, but I'm curious: Why did you post it now, 15 or so months after the last post in this thread?
    BTW, I agree with just about everything you said, except that I gave up on Portfolio several years ago when I discovered it would drop dead when trying to import simple file types like 16 bit per channel TIFFs. This made mass importing of large numbers of images essentially impossible for me. Their complete lack of interest in providing updates didn't help either.
    Tom M
     
  46. I'm currently using Lightroom and Portfolio. I don't find Lightroom very useful as a DAM tool for a variety of reasons. Portfolio is much better, but on the downside is distinctly clunky now - hasn't been updated for ages and I had been thinking of switching to something else, but I haven't had a chance to explore alternatives. However it sounds like from this thread that I'm not missing much, and might just stick with Portfolio for a while longer.
    Portfolio used to crash a lot on my old PC as with Tom, but since I switched to a state of the art Mac it has run flawlessly. Mine has no problem with 16bit TIFFs.
    Lightroom is great as a picture processing catalogue, but inadequate as DAM for my purposes for a number of reasons. Portfolio is better as dedicated software for the purpose, one of the main reasons is the layout and file menus which are dedicated to this task. So, the virtual gallery layouts are more user friendly than 'collections', options for keyword and file description editing much more geared up to tweaks/batch edits, layouts cleaner, better searching facilities, better view options (which for example can provide lists of metadata in columns next to the image, or you can have the pattern of thumbnails with custom fields below - for example if you just want to list each image with its description, or which colour profile it has etc. you can display them conveniently with only the info you need below each thumbnail). Portfolio generates previews so that I can organise, keyword, and email images while I'm away travelling or in a cafe, Lightroom you have to have the disc plugged in (of course, Lightroom does generate previews, but if you retain them permanently for tens or hundreds of thousands of images at a time, the catalogue becomes unwieldy). And so on an so forth.
    Lightroom is a fantastic programme, but IMHO it can't begin compare for DAM even with an out-dated programme specifically designed for the purpose.
    Another reason why Lightroom wouldn't be practical for me is that I use RAW files. If I used Lightroom also to organise TIFFs then I would have a massive mess, hundreds of thousands of RAW files in a catalogue that had TIFFs mixed in, where it's really only the TIFFs I want to DAM manage. Of course I could use a second Lightroom catalogue for TIFFs, but I'd have to keep closing one catalogue and opening another every time I wanted to switch between file types. With two separate programmes, each of which is the best at doing its own function, I can have both running simultaneously and switch between them instantly. One manages the RAWs, the other the TIFFs.
     

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