Photo Mechanic, Thumbs Plus, etc....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Flew, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    This is for Wade (Commodorefirst) and others that participated in a thread that Wade originated in the Birds & Animal forum. This thread started out with some pictures, and as often happens, changed directions completely to discuss photo organization, review, and cataloging applications. Wade and several others had some good things to say about such a package called Photo Mechanic. They were so persuasive that I ended up downloading the trial version.

    I also am a registered owner of ThumbsPlus v7. I'm certainly not an expert on either of these packages, but I thought it would be useful to post some of my first impressions.

    One of the neat things that Wade mentioned about Photo Mechanic (let's just call them PM and TP for ThumbsPlus), was that it allows you to preview RAW (.NEF) files without the need for a .JPG file. This means that, if you just shoot RAW (not RAW + Basic JPG), that you can get about 15-20% more shots on a card (my typical .NEF from the D2H is about 3MB, and the associated basic .JPG is about 540K). That appealed to me, so I downloaded the PM trial version.

    The very first thing that grabbed my attention was the cost of PM ($150 new, $90 for each upgrade). Yikes!! That's a lot of $$$$ for a preview and cataloging package. I could probably handle the cost if it was a great app otherwise, but the next thing that I noticed was that .NEF files displayed in PM were fairly poor quality. I thought to myself, 'heck, TP is better than this', so I quickly opened TP, and selected the same folder that I was looking at in PM. Well, this immediately reminded me why I was still using basic .JPG's to review my shots. The images from a .NEF using TP were very small, and pretty much useless for deciding whether an image should be in the keeper or throw-away category. So, I decided that PM wasn't good enough to use for image preview, and neither was TP, so I decided just to stay with my current process of shooting RAW + Basic .JPG, and just losing the extra CF card space.

    Well, today I got an email from Cerious Software (the maker of TP) offering me a great price on TP v7. Since I already have TP v7, I wasn't too impressed. I did notice though, that they were also offering a free TP plug-in (for TP v7 Pro owners), called DCRaw, that supposedly allows viewing of RAW files from a variety of camera manufacturers (including Nikon). I though, what the heck, and downloaded it. It works great!! I can get the same quality image previews from my .NEF files alone that I have been getting with RAW + Basic .JPG.

    I still have some evaluation to do, to see what other strengths and limitations that I might encounter if I change my process, but at a first glance, shooting in RAW, and doing my culling using TP + DCRaw looks like a very viable option.

    I know that this has been long-winded, but I thought it might be of interest. Just FYI, you can get the TP Standard version (doesn't support DCRaw) for $49.95 and the Professional version (does support DCRaw) for $89.95. As a disclaimer, I still haven't fully evaluated the other tools and capabilities of TP versus PM, but for my primary use, I think TP Pro + DCRaw will fit the bill nicely.
     
  2. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  3. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I think PM has a lot of potential but it's just too expensive for what it is. Apparently they feel that their program is for "pro" users and therefore they can charge extra. I do like its slideshow implementation, as well as it's IPTC support and the fact that it's fully color managed.

    I tried Thumbsplus a long time ago and had my reasons for not liking it, but to be honest I can't remember what they were at this point. I may have to give the latest version a try, although again it seems a bit pricey.

    Since upgrading to CS2 I haven't really been actively searching for a file viewer because it has addressed many of my complaints with the old File Browser. It's still a bit pokey though, especially when initially building the cache for a folder.

    My ideal file view would be

    - Fast
    - ICC aware
    - Use a decent caching algorithm for slideshow
    - Support display/edit of IPTC
    - Fully support the file formats I use, including 16-bit PSD
    - Include some kind of ranking support for culling
    - reasonably priced

    As far as I can tell, no third-party app supports all of these so for the time being I'll keep using Bridge.
     
  4. I'm a simpleton...I use Adobe Bridge to view my NEFs and then open the ones I like in Capture by right clicking and Open With --> Capture...
     
  5. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    LOL Brett. I just got CS2 a couple of days ago, and you are right; Bridge does have some promise. I was primarily addressing the issue for those that still have older versions of CS. Still, the latest version of TP7 Pro does have some very nice features. I'm still in the process of figuring out which one I will use long term. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2005
  6. Okay, I can't resist wading in on this topic, as I own/use photo mechanic, thumbs, ACDSee, Nikon View and Bridge. Sheesh.

    PM: Very good viewer and cataloger but too expensive. Good slide show.

    Thumbs: A bit slow but powerful and has a great compare option. Good slide show.

    ACDSee: The fastest, not properly ICC aware, good compare feature, annoying advertising. Great slideshow if sRGB.

    NV: A titch slow, image rating is yes/no and requires a mouse click or awkward key combo.

    Bridge: No 100% viewing. Lousy slideshow.

    Right now I do my intial preview in NV, deleting the obvious losers. I then move to Bridge, select all the NEFs, and load'm into ACR. In ACR I can preview at 100%, use the Bridge ratings with a single keystroke, and quickly check out ACR adjustments. I delete more photos here.

    I then return to Bridge and finish IPTC data entry, then convert in ACR.

    Any suggestions on how to improve this would be welcome.
     
  7. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  8. I've used Thumbsplus, ACDSee, iMatch, and ImaggeXASPro. Thumbsplus offers me the most functionality for the dollar. If I were a programmer I'd use iMatch. Superb software with SOTA programming but a very steep learning curve because of it's incredible power.

    Rich
     
  9. Paul I agree strongly with this last post. I use Thumbspluse to do just that and love the fact that when I cull it takes out all versions of that image (i shoot RAW+jpg
    Dave
     
  10. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Rory,

    As I described above, I'm still in the process of evaluating Bridge. The main thing that I wanted to pass along is that I did upgrade to CS2 a couple of days ago, so I'm ready to beta test your new utility. :smile:
     
  11. Frank, while you are at it I would be interested in your thoughts as to why I might want to upgrade to CS2? So far CS seems to do what I want it to do but then that might just be my naiveté relative to CS2.
     
  12. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  13. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    Frank,

    Thanks for the further info, interesting thread on viewers, and thanks for the further info on TP. right now, being a mac guy, I am waiting for aperture to come out and see what is up with them. If I could get rid of ivew and PM with my educator price on aperture, I would save futrue dollars, and have one program to do two tasks.

    I don't do any detail comparisons on PM, I just cull the obvious bad shots and save the detail work for Nikon capture and Photo shop. I don't do further culling until after processing attempts. Of course I am not selective enough and my external HD that is full can show you why!

    Cheers,

    Wade
     
  14. I've also been contemplating the CS -> CS2 Suite upgrade, especially after attending a seminar where some of the newer features of PhotoShop were being discussed. The whole Bridge discussion was eye-opening, as it appears that Adobe is now trying to firmly plant Bridge as the "Dashboard" of your computer for all things graphic (and probably multimedia as well). The guy doing the demo spent more time on Bridge than anything else, and it seemed very clear that they were really trying to make that the be-all-end-all-hub-of-activity for your graphic software. While it was nice enough, I would stick with Thumbs Plus for now, mostly for the sync'd view capability that Paul mentioned above (plus I have a couple of custom utilities that work nicely with TP).

    One of my chief concerns with the upgrade is that I might lose my ability to easily go from my Desktop to my laptop system when using the software; my current setup doesn't require me to change anything when I do that with CS, but I understand that CS2 requires an online connection and a "passing of the license" from one system to the other before you can do that. Can anyone confirm this? Sounds like a pain to me, and as much as I switch from desktop to laptop I simply can't imagine that I would correctly pass the "baton" when I needed to.
     
  15. sfoxjohn

    sfoxjohn

    May 1, 2005
    Marlton, NJ
    Frank,

    I use a free program called Irfanview which allows me to look at the jpg's in slideshow form so I can cull out the undesirables. But it also will open NEF files with the same quality of appearance. It does much more than these two things and for a free package (maybe a small donation) you might want to check it out. The prgram has been around for a while and has been updated frequently. I have never come across a bug.

    If you want a web address to download it I will check. But you should just be able to google it.
     
  16. sfoxjohn

    sfoxjohn

    May 1, 2005
    Marlton, NJ
  17. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  18. I recently purchased Raw Shooters Premium from http://www.pixmantec.com and find the workflow and speed of processing to be very nice. It makes shooting RAW fun and easy. Price is about $99.00 They have a free version called Raw Shooter Essentials which is kinda nice. Each can do a slide show and do not require you to shoot jpgs to view. Would like to know what you think. My only other raw experience is with Capture 4 and Photoshop w/ plugins.
     
  19. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Wow!! What a bunch of great posts. I'm going to do as several have suggested and give Bridge a good look. Right now though, I'm pretty happy with TP7 Pro. :wink:

    Gordon, I just loaded CS2 a day or so ago, so I can't comment intelligently (so what's new, huh :rolleyes:) on the advantages. I too was pretty happy with CS, but decided to move up (?) to CS2 after Rory mentioned that he has a cool utility that he is working on, that will only run on CS2. I was afraid that I would get left behind. :redface:

    Just for everyone's info, I just spent almost as much (> $100) on CS2 books as I did on the upgrade itself. I can't wait to sink my teeth into all of them and learn all of the tricks. Unfortunately, I just bought a new computer desk and will be spending the next several hours tearing everything down and re-arranging all of the cables, etc. I'll post my thoughts on each of them later tonight.

    Later,
     
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