Photo Mechanic

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For several years I have read strong endorsements for this program but never seriously investigated it. It's on sale for $20 off through Monday, which isn't much, but that has brought it to my attention again.

I use Mac computers and usually just use "Finder" to copy files from the camera card to the computer. I then use ViewNX 2 to review and cull them before processing with DxO PL.

Based on your experience, in what ways would I find Photo Mechanic useful?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.
 
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Photo mechanics big selling points are its ability To cull images and lightning fast previews.

I know a lot of sport photographers that use it because every second literally counts on getting the shot to the editors for social media/news stories.

if that is not something you feel you need, it may not be worth it to you.
 

Butlerkid

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Good question. Folks say it is a lot faster....but I don't shoot large batches of images and have to process them for a VERY quick turn around. Being retired and not shooting that often, I just never saw the "need for speed"! LOL!
 
Some years ago I used Photo Mechanic and liked it but found that it really was too expensive for what I needed and so let it drop and didn't purchase new updates after a while.... Recently I purchased and have been using Fast Raw Viewer, which is great for quickly reviewing and culling images, all that I need it for, and so far I have been happy with that. Like you, I simply use Finder to copy files from the memory card reader to the computer and then after that have options open to me for reviewing and culling as well as editing. I shoot in RAW, like most of us do. For a while I was using RAW Power to review and cull images but even with an i9 processor and 32 GB RAM available in my current MBP, the software sometimes was getting bogged down when I had a full memory card -- and this was with images shot with the RX 10 M4 and its 1-inch sensor!

When I bought the new gear, even before I was ready to post-process the first images I realized that probably RAW Power would choke on a card full of images shot with a 61 mp camera, so did some research and decided to try Fast RAW Viewer, That has been working really well for me so far and does just what I need pretty quickly. It doesn't offer all the features and functions that Photo Mechanic does, but I don't really need a lot of bells and whistles, at least right now, so FRV is doing the job satisfactorily for me at this time and has definitely speeded up my post-processing time.
 

Butlerkid

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I use ACR for my culling and keywording needs. For wildlife, I often compare images at 100% to try to discern slight focus differences between images. No problem even with D850 46 mb images.
 
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I have it and use it for fast viewing and culling. I cull before going to C1. Then after converting to tiffs I cull again before final editing in PS. PM has other uses that make it worth its $129 but if you do't use those it is a question of how quickly you want to cull.
 
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I use it for selecting images I intend to use for focus stacking, HDR, and panoramic’s.
Particularly with focus stacking, I can easily take one to two thousand images on an outing. Photo Mechanic allows me to quickly preview the images, select ones I want to work on and drag them to the program I’m processing them with. When I save the processed/merged files, I then select the next set and so on.
 
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I use Photo Mechanic, mainly because you can copy IPTC metadata into a batch of photos very quickly. I also use it to cull images and then edit them in ACR.

On a side note, once your one year update license expires, your software still works perfectly fine. You only need to update the software license if there's been a change in OS compatibility and/or the camera manufacturer has tweaked how the raw data is being read. I've been using PM since the early 2000s!
 
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... in what ways would I find Photo Mechanic useful?
Most likely not very many ways. PM appears to have been designed for high volume shooters on a deadline. Particularly those covering sport and other news events including the paparazzi.

Your Finder/View NX process is perfect for a typical Nikon only shooting enthusiast on a Mac. If you have another camera in your mix or just want to have something else, then FRV is worth a look. It is not PM as @Clix Pix mentioned but is enough. I believe they also have a sale.
 
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I use Mac computers and usually just use "Finder" to copy files from the camera card to the computer. I then use ViewNX 2 to review and cull them before processing with DxO PL.
Jim .. what are you seeking to do that you feel your current tool(s) miss? Are there things you want to do that you cannot because of your current tools?
 
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I use it for selecting images I intend to use for focus stacking, HDR, and panoramic’s.
Particularly with focus stacking, I can easily take one to two thousand images on an outing. Photo Mechanic allows me to quickly preview the images, select ones I want to work on and drag them to the program I’m processing them with. When I save the processed/merged files, I then select the next set and so on.
I can do that to my satisfaction with "Finder". I just select the images and drag them into HeliconFocus.

I use Photo Mechanic, mainly because you can copy IPTC metadata into a batch of photos very quickly.
I don't ever need to do that.

Most likely not very many ways. PM appears to have been designed for high volume shooters on a deadline. Particularly those covering sport and other news events including the paparazzi.
So it appears.

Your Finder/View NX process is perfect for a typical Nikon only shooting enthusiast on a Mac. If you have another camera in your mix or just want to have something else, then FRV is worth a look. It is not PM as @Clix Pix mentioned but is enough. I believe they also have a sale.
I tried FRV for a while a few years ago, but didn't stick with it. Must not have been much "value added" for my purposes.

Jim .. what are you seeking to do that you feel your current tool(s) miss? Are there things you want to do that you cannot because of your current tools?
Not really. Just wondered what I might be missing since so many people are high on PM.


Thanks to everyone for responding.
 

Commodorefirst

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I find it indispensable, and you buy once and use for years. Also, useful to drop folders of images from your desktop, and poof, say the 250 images are shown as thumbnails, instantly, and the ability to cull, and select for editing, label, key words etc etc zoom to 100% is priceless. Raw jpg etc, is my primary organizer.
But, however, only you can justify based upon your workflow.
 
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The reason Photo Mechanic is so quick at producing thumbnails is because it is extracting the embedded preview images from the raw files. PM is not rendering anything from the raw data. The embedded previews are JPG format. Displaying them at a specific size can be handed off to the OS GUI libraries. Lightroom, Capture One, Apple Aperture, etc, render previews from the raw bits while applying some default adjustments. That takes time. For quickly culling and applying metadata to batches of images one doesn't need those auto adjustments. That is the philosophy behind Photo Mechanic and explains why so many high volume shooters love it so much.

Sports photographers need to quickly evaluate as-taken exposure and focus, add default contact metadata, add a caption and description, and off it goes. They can have generic presets for types of plays – touchdowns, field goals, interceptions, tackles, etc. They can customize them quickly by adding specific team and player names.

Wedding shooters want create a metadata preset for a given event, select a huge batch of images, and apply the preset to the entire batch. They can batch wedding preparation, wedding details, exchanging vows, reception, etc. They can have generic presets for EVERY wedding that they easily customize for a specific wedding by adding the names of the bride and groom, or name of the event.

These are just examples of high volume shooters. Those of us shooting landscapes, nature walks, etc, don't need that kind of expedient processing. Lightroom, Capture One, Apple Aperture, etc, have the ability to copy-paste metadata and most have the ability to create presets we can apply during import. And we generally don't have the fast turn around requirements of the sports / event and wedding photographer.

Photo Mechanic has its place. Those who need it .. really need it. And those who don't might benefit, but won't reap the same reward overall since we don't have the same high volume / quick turn around requirements.

My two cents .. take it for what it's worth :)
 
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So I have bought and been a heavy user of PM since 2000 something, I would never had even considered buying a image browser if it weren't for that it is so blindingly fast when you want to cull a lot of images. But there are other features that merits it fee as well:
  • When I ingest my images I send it to two different hard drives and therefore I get a backup at once (I know bridge and Lightroom) can do that as well now.
  • You can very easily rate and sort images based on either color or * rating system, makes it so easy to cull
  • As Jonathan mentioned: IPTC metadata updating
  • One small favorite feature is to extract the full JPGs out of the rawfile and put in a separate folder (if you want). Now why is that interesting? When I shoot weddings, I set the IQ to RAW. Then I set the image Picture control settings to what I want a little more contrast, color etc, I set colorspace to SRGB, Active D-Lighting to high, High ISO to normal or high, Vignette control to ON, Auto distribution to ON. Then I take the RAW images and extract them with Photo Mechanic into a different sub folder. The purpose of it all is to get a somewhat processed image that one can give to Customers as a contact sheet for them to make a decision on which ones they want me to process fully for them.
  • Live ingest (Lightrom can also now do tethered shooting)
  • Live slideshow
  • You can select images that are for instance with audio only, and many other tings
  • You can upload images to FTP servers.
That all said, if you don't know why you would want PM, you probably should save yourself the money
 
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I am not a sports or wedding pro, but I do shoot lots of high school sports.

Ironically, for my paid work (portraits), PM is useful, but not really necessary. But when I ingest hundreds or even thousands of images at a time, it is indispensable to have such a powerful tool as PM.

For me, there is usually no deadline, but I consider my time quite valuable. The opportunity cost of an hour in front of the computer make PM worth every penny to me. Why not try a 30-day free trial to see if the benefits outweigh the cost?

A few things that I do for every batch of images in PM:
  • Custom filename (x_YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.MS) where x is a pronounceable word or phrase, and the rest is a timestamp
  • Geotagging
  • Single-click to display 1:1 previews to evaluate critical focus
  • Single-keystroke to rate images as keepers
  • Filter keepers
  • Drag and drop all rated images to LR for further work
To do all of the above in LR takes longer.
 
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I can do that to my satisfaction with "Finder". I just select the images and drag them into HeliconFocus.
Yes you can, and I do as well if it’s only a few images. Although most of the time I just add them directly via Helicon Focus, or Zerene Stacker. Unfortunately when you have a lot of images to process then it can become a slow and tedious process.
 
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