Some DAM help please?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by wayne melia, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Thanks for your concern. Yeah, am a photgrapher and I need help.
    I HAVE: all my digitised photos in directory D:(data)/myphotos. This directory contains ~200GB of data includung 315 directories
    and 24,500 files as per the info in windows exlorer. All digital exposures (ie: since~2004) are in subdirectories named by download
    date (yymmdd), and some have additional text (ie: yymmdd_roadtrip). Recent (~last 2yrs) photos are named by exposure date and
    time. Previous digital exposures are DSC and _DSC names. some are raw, file extensions are NEF, jpg, tiff. some are derivitaves of
    others. I also have a 2 folders: 'predigitalscans' containing a few miscellaneous film scans, and 'rodeo light' containing ~200 scans of transparencies of rodeo content and hopefully(?) to come more scans of negative film that has not been scanned yet. (The scans
    are from Nikon Coolscan 4000 ED).
    I USE Windows vista 32 (kept updated) on a 5 or 6 yr old quad core 6600 computer with 3gig ram with software: CS2, Bridge CS2, View NX, and CNX (both kept uptodate with current versions). I also have the NEF viewer that allows NEFs to be viewed in windows or bridge, but I think it just shows the embedded jpg preview. (?)
    I WANT: better management of what I have. I think I want a database of pointers to my existing files. (I think(?) my directory
    structure is OK) so I can find and do stuff. My rodeo photography, for example At a guess it's ~50% of total photos --continuous
    exposure during a bull ride happens generating many files--.
    So I want to view photos by events (bulls, steerwrestling, barrells, bronks, wagons, chariots, team roping, novelty) and by locations
    (half a dozen), and maybe by people, or who knows what in the future. Hopefully I'll be able to compare, sensibly rank, (and
    probably cull), bull ride photos from one rodeo against those from other, for example. Obviously some photos will match multiple
    criteria ie: event and location.
    So.... keywording, albums, collections.....
    KEYWORDING Can I do this with bridge (or my other programs) and keywording? MY current bridge configuration has individual
    cache for each subdirectory, but I think I could have 1 cache for all of MyPhotos ? or not? Can I compare photos in different
    subdirectories in Bridge? I don't think so, but could be wrong. I can add keywords to metadata in all (I think) of the programs I have,but, for example, ViewNX does not open files that have been adjusted with CNX (!) If I am going to use keywording, I want to have a master list of keywords to choose from (I don't wnt to spell barrell, barell, barrel, or barel each time!). But of course I want to be able to modify the master list in the future! Hierarchal keywords? -location/country/province/city/river etc? Somehow I don't think kewording alone is going to be enough.
    LIGHTROOM from from adobe:---heaven descended? One library, collections to suit any kink? U$10.00/mo for both LR and
    Photoshop for a year and then ? Well, I rent my accomodation, so I'm not paranoid..... and adobe is a big trustworthy company,
    etc..But I don't know if it'll run on my OS and computer. Older permanent licence LR? maybe..howmuch$? Anyway I'm content with the rendering I get from CNX for my D300 or D70 Nef's (No, I haven't compared to all others, but I don't want to spend my life comparing raw programs). Nor do I want to tackle the learning curve of a new program (some of us old folks are just funny that
    way) I have already converted and adjusted many images; throw those away and rerender and adjust with with adobe software? -- I don't think so. Well they could be all exported to tiffs, I guess, and then lightroom would play nice with them.{"grumpy growl"}
    PHOTOMECHANIC from camera bits? Well, I've heard good things about it in the past, as a proven, efficient tool. Don't know much about it. Another learning curve for a new program... but somewhere along the line I have to. Is it a big learning curve? (he asked as if we could describe "big") It's U$150.00 ... I don't like spending money, but, maybe, if it's the tool I need for the job. Will it do the job? Have I described what I want sufficently to get an answer?
    Am I overlooking simple elegent solutions that are readily available to me?
    Has anybody had the patience to follow thru my ramble? If so thank you!
  2. Wayne, faced with the same problem (with the same ViewNX2/CaptureNX2 as main applications, and Vista 32-bits), I ended up getting IDImager PhotoSupreme as dedicated DAM application. It has the advantage of using the built-in Windows codecs for displaying RAW images, so you will see your images as saved in CaptureNX2 as previews. It works quite transparent that way, as can serve perfectly as library and workflow application alongside CaptureNX2. Its biggest problem to me was that it is possible to write the keywords into the RAW-file too (an option I liked, because that means you can also use Windows Search and find the files), but this has corrupted NEF files for me on a few occassions - so I'd strongly advice against using that particular option. All in all otherwise, it's a small, fairly straightforward application that can fix the gap - hierarchical keywords (with aliases), albums, geo-tagging, sorting/searching by EXIF data: all present. They have frequent offers on their website, so the application can be bought for fairly little money.
    To be complete, I am not using it anymore (nor CaptureNX2 usually), and I moved over to CaptureOne 7 Express, which has a catalog, very good RAW conversion quality and an User Interface I like using - it's a bit less potent than Lightroom, but it also costs less. However, the current version is 64-bits only.
    Other free options exist too, but none of those has the real depth of true DAM applications, but Windows Live Photo Gallery is a lot nicer than it looks at first face - hierarchical keywords, search/sort by date/keyword and it will also display the built-in previews from CaptureNX2.
  3. Wouter! Thank you. As usual from you, a direct and coherent response. I had never explored windows photo gallery much before, but it does indeed have many features that might just make it the ticket for me. And it's right under my nose.
  4. My favourite for DAM is Lightroom, but be aware, LR5 requires Windows 7 or higher. One thing I'd never do - as Wouter experienced - is let any program make changes to the original RAW files. Use sidecar files (.XMP) instead.
    LR4 will do what you need/want. Perhaps you may find some discounted version somewhere. And consider upgrading to Windows 9 when that's available.
  5. Jos van Eekelen has a good point about not making changes to your original raw files; however, if you have those raw files backed up in an orderly way (so you can reach out and touch them when you need to), you should have no fear of making the changes directly in raw. I do it in View NX2/Capture NX2 all the time. I prefer not to use XMP sidecar files because they can get separated and lost.
    Also, I did some experimenting with Adobe's free DNG converter, the resulting DNG files of which can be used as a "container" in which you can save your original raw file. I like that, but the DNG files when saved that way are naturally quite large. I would recommend that only if you're using raw files from several brands of cameras (which is why I tested it in the first place).
  6. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Adobe treats raws as read only (OK one exception I'd never use is a preference for updating capture date/time in proprietary files). Hence sidecar files OR (far more flexible IMHO) DNG which Adobe does allow us to write data into instead of sidecar files.
    My experience is DNG's are smaller than the original raws but if you embed that camera raw into the container (an option) yes, it's going to be a lot bigger.
    Getting back OT, in terms of a DAM, I suggest Peter Krogh's books on the subject. Even if you use a product he doesn't illustrate, seeing how he handles the process is useful. Some of what he suggests doesn't apply to my needs which again is useful to see to decide how to setup the DAM. Much like organizing your computer files or your papers, seeing how others think about organizing helps one decide which route to take.
  7. I don't think it's possible for any program to alter the original raw files. The only thing I can think of is if you elect to create DNG copies and delete the raws. Photoshop offers the sidecar XMP or central database options for storing your preferences, but neither touch the raw file, as far as I know.
  8. Mendel, it is possible, the EXIF and ITPC data of RAW files can be changed, as well as the internal preview. Nikon CaptureNX2 does exactly both these things. With CaptureNX2, I never had any issues doing so, by the way.
    But anyway, it's all a bit offtopic. Since it's free, Windows Live Gallery might fit the bill. Lightroom sure would be a solution (as is CaptureOne). Given Wayne's cameras are not the most recent models, Lightroom 4 could do the trick as well, if I recall well, it does run on Vista.
  9. Thanks all. I still like Wouter's windows photo gallery suggestion as it was an explicit answer to my explicit question re: overlooking a solution by use of tools already available to me. (Actually I don't have the 'live' part of photogallery, and I haven't had time to fully explore it. (so I may not like it when I find out more!)
    As an anacdote, I have had ocaision to specificly alter the raw file when my camera's clock went bad (i think i may have let the battery get really dead, or something), and I altered the date/time of original exposure of some photos to match reality. So I sinned against the sanctity of the original; and have no shred of remorse. Stuff happens.
  10. Other options in case you want to take a look....
    I like IDImager a lot/ As well as it "revision" PhotoSupreme.
    If I wasn't so used to ACDSee I would likely use PhotoSupreme.
    I also have MS ExpressionMedia which was bought out by PhaseOne. They unfortunately have not made much improvements. I think it too has potential. But now that CaptureOne is initself a DAM with a Raw developer, I don't see them making any investment in that direction. I as well as many users of CaptureOne don't find the interface user friendly. Its like learning to ride a bike all over again, just because you switched a bike brand. But I like the Raw results on certain subject more than LR, so I use this tool as well. But I try to not get involved in it as much as possible. It doesn't even read the directory in a normal fashion as it stores a "Session" you have to initialize to get started. Sorry got into that, but, its hard not to :)
    PhotoMechanic I have used in the past. Not sure where they are these days. But I do remember it being pretty fast, like ACDSee.
    ACDSee has 2 versions that I would consider. There is the Manager and there is the Pro.
    Pro can process RAW files, and does a pretty good job with some limitations, but the pro also Manages and does a great job with many great Edit/Export options. The Manager has these features as well. They both do all sorts of Metadata edits and batch processes. Best of all it can be a Database driven app as well as behave as a simple browser. The Manager is a great app for the price, and the Pro is overpriced unless you get a great deal/coupon/email sale.
    I use LR5, but I still have to launch ACDSee to see what are in my folders since I use Photoshop and create other file formats that require LR to re-synchronize to include in its database. And PDF's that LR doesn't include. For production work I have to use it with ACDSee. (In raw processing, since LR offers such options with ease, I have to use it as well along CaptureOne).
    I think Google too has a nice free "solution"(depends on a few things) like Microsoft called Picasa. Maybe worth a look. Good luck and let us know how you like the MS Live Essentials

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