13 March 2009

Digital Archiving - part 3 - the shortlist

I have looked at a lot of programs. From the lot, I have selected a handful I will study more closely. There will be future posts considering my findings for each of these:

- ThumbsPlus
- Adobe Photoshop Elements
- Adobe LightRoom
- PhotoMechanic
- IDimager

The links takes you to the product homepages.

There are many other packages out there. I may have missed a few good ones too, like Microsoft's Expression Media (MEM). It used to be iView before Microsoft bought the company. From looking at the specs, reading whitepapers and reading the support forum, I must say the program looks very promising. However, it has a showstopper for me. MEM relies on a component in Windows called WIC (Windows Imaging Component) for rendering raw files. Microsoft has made calls to the camera industry to provide codecs that enable WIC to render their files, and most manufacturers have made an effort. But only for 32-bit versions of Windows, at the time of writing. So since I run 64-bit versions on my computers, I have not been able to test MEM.
If you use 32-bit Windows and plan to continue doing so for a while, I think MEM will be worth considering.

As I write this, I have only studied two of the shortlisted programs. So this series of blogposts may be drawn out in time. However, I need to make a decision for my own sake before summer. So that's my final "event horizon". I just hope I will have time and occasion to take some nice photos too, before then. Otherwise all this testing is bound to drive me nuts... :-)


Frank M. said...

I'm looking forward to read your view on those programs.
I'm a fan of PhotoMechanic myself. It is very fast browsing RAW files, has powerful keyword management capabilities and has a reasonable photo rating system.
I start by rating the files as they are imported, using a star system. Files with zero stars are deleted in the end. The most promising ones I label with a color code, like "blue" for posting in the blog, "orange" for printing, etc.
Then I process the color labeled photos in Silkypix (configured as an external editor) and see if they live up to the promise. If they don't, I remove the label.
PM has additionally a checkmark box associated to each photo, which I use to identify the images have already been processed in Silkypix.

Alunfoto said...

Thanks for commenting, Frank M.!

Your workflow seems quite similar to what Boris described in a comment to the Workflow vs. archiving post.
It seems you do just what I have arrived at, too, as the "best practice" for archiving; to do the main categorising and tagging (and keywording) up front, before submitting anything for raw conversion.
I'm a bit curious, though... What archiving actions do you take on the processed pics, if any? Does Silkypix propagate the XMP data from the raw file (or sidecar) to the developed file?

Alunfoto said...

Errata: Boris posted his workflow on his own blog: PentaxWays

Frank M. said...

For backups, I use Clone 2.1 (http://newtonsoftware.co.uk/clone/). It's a very simple but very handy program, that keeps exact copies of the selected folders on an external HD. I keep the developed JPEG files on separate folders, named according to their purpose (posting, printing, sharing,...). These are checked by Clone for backup at the same time as the RAW folders.
Concerning XMP data, as far as I know, Silkypix only embeds EXIF data in the developed JPEG files.
I'm not sure this answers your questions...

Alunfoto said...

I'm not sure if I asked the right questions... :-)
This is hard on both of us, it seems. When asking about archiving, I didn't mean backup, but rather if you repeated any of the categorising, tagging or keywording for your newly processed pics. I imagine you will have a need for that since SilkyPix does not propagate this info to the new version?

Frank M. said...

Oh, I see what you mean now. No, I don't do any categorizing on the developed files. I don't really feel a need for that.