Go to a  "printer friendly" view of this message which allow an easy print Printer-friendly copy Go to the page which allows you to send this topic link and a message to a friend Email this topic to a friend
Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) topic #66746
View in linear mode

Subject: "Photo Mechanic v5.0 review" Previous topic | Next topic
hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sat 07-Jul-12 07:49 PM
1370 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
"Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"


Kockengen, NL
          

Hi all,

As posted on this forum earlier, Camera Bits has just released a public beta of the upcoming version 5.0 of their Photo Mechanic workflow software.

As member of the select group of private beta testers, I have been working with Camera Bits to review and test the new software and suggest enhancements.

If you're interested, I have written a full review of the new version on my blog.

Cheers,
Hayo

Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
web: www.hayobaan.nl
blog: blog.hayobaan.nl
500px: 500px.com/HayoBaan

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
kj_fi Silver Member
08th Jul 2012
1
Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
hrbaan
08th Jul 2012
2
Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
kj_fi Silver Member
08th Jul 2012
3
     Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
mklass Platinum Member
08th Jul 2012
4
          Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
hrbaan
09th Jul 2012
5
Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
hrbaan
09th Jul 2012
6
     Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
kj_fi Silver Member
10th Jul 2012
7
          Reply message RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review
hrbaan
10th Jul 2012
8

kj_fi Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2007Sun 08-Jul-12 09:11 AM
307 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#1. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 0


Vantaa, FI
          

Hi,

after reading the review, I must say that I don't see what's so great in Photo Mechanic. In the beginning, it is said that "Although I have tried out many of the more common solution, I found none of them suited my particular workflow very well.". But the review does not point out why the competing solutions do not work or why they do not work very well.

The review seems to ignore a lot of features in other products. For example:

"Photo Mechanic itself is not an image editor (and, luckily, will never be; there are ample good options available for that already). So for editing you'll need to make use of another program (e.g., Photoshop/Adobe Camera Raw, Nikon Capture NX2, Canon DPP, …)."

This comment sounds negative to me; I don't see why integrating cataloging and editing functionalities into one program is something I should avoid. I find it easier and faster to use when these things are available in the same application.

"When your collection of images grows, it becomes harder to keep track of them or to find a specific image. It helps if you maintain a good folder structure, but ultimately you want the ability to search and select your images based on their meta data.
...
You could of course use a software package that performs this cataloguing function (e.g., Adobe's Lightroom or Phase One's Media Pro) instead of Photo Mechanic, but then you'll miss out on all the unique capabilities and speed of PM… Not an option (for me, at least)."

What unique capabilities? I think a reader with some experience on competing products would like to hear about those "unique capabilities" and how they might help my digital workflow. Please point them out more clearly.

"As I like to sort and view my images in the order they were taken in, the default name (e.g., DSC_0012) as used in-camera is not suitable. Not only are you basically limited to under 10,000 images this way (the file name only has room for 4 digits), but what if you shoot with multiple cameras at the same time?"

It is possible to change the file naming in camera settings. Unfortunately, Nikon only numbers with 4 digits. To me this is not a problem since I shoot only perhaps 2500 images a year and I can adjust the fifth digit manually (e.g., "D3_12345.NEF" where '1' needs to be set manually) and there's no real need to wait for '19999' before incrementing the first digit. Similarly, multiple cameras could be coded into the filename.

However, I don't think the filename should be given too much importance -- unless you often need to work with the files directly. There's only limited information that the name can carry. Tags should be used instead. The more you use the tags the easier it is to find images (in the program). Not just one or two tags; I don't think it's uncommon to see tens of tags per image.

"It has an extremely fast (perhaps even the fastest on the market?) image browser with very nicely integrated features to support and/or automate your digitial workflow. IPTC and Exif meta data are fully supported and can be applied quickly and easily either on individual images or in batch."

Having a faster image browser certainly sounds great; Lightroom is not particularly fast in this area, I think. However, Lightroom also applies the latest edits to the images at the same time (at least in the Development mode).

Selecting images and adding tags to them in Lightroom happens instantly; I don't see the speed point here. Of course, Lightroom doesn't modify the originals; that is intentional. You need to use other tools to change the NEF files.

The story does not tell how edited images are shown but I assume they must be read from an edited copy of the file (i.e., edited by a different program). That would mean that one needs to have as many copies of the image file as there are versions of the image. I wonder if that might be an issue when the D6x with 80 Mp resolution with 24 bits per pixel comes out.

Most of the features discussed in the review, like importing with metadata, browsing and exporting images, inserting tags, rating photos, labeling them with colors, etc. are just those I use everyday in Lightroom (and they are most likely included in Apple's Aperture as well). One important feature seems to be missing from the article: printing.

The variables and code replacements sound something which is not immediately available in Lightroom and which I think I basically understand what they mean but right now I don't think I would use them myself. Please elaborate them a bit more. Lightroom does have a public interface to write add-ons but unfortunately, I haven't had time to investigate it. Anyway, it might be possible to add a similar or compatible feature. Perhaps someone with coding skills and a vision might take a look?

Best regards,
Kari

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Sun 08-Jul-12 11:04 AM
1370 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 1


Kockengen, NL
          

Hello Kari,

Thank you for your comments and feedback! Much appreciated!

>after reading the review, I must say that I don't see what's
>so great in Photo Mechanic. In the beginning, it is said that
>"Although I have tried out many of the more common
>solution, I found none of them suited my particular workflow
>very well.". But the review does not point out why the
>competing solutions do not work or why they do not work very
>well.


Here's a couple of things I didn't like about the other products: for one, they do not integrate well with Nikon Capture NX2 (or other raw editors for that matter). Furthermore they are almost all much slower, do not have the “power” of variables and code replacements, do not work as easily, etc.

But as I said, this is all about “my particular workflow,” yours can be totally different!


>The review seems to ignore a lot of features in other
>products. For example:
>
>"Photo Mechanic itself is not an image editor (and,
>luckily, will never be; there are ample good options available
>for that already). So for editing you'll need to make use of
>another program (e.g., Photoshop/Adobe Camera Raw, Nikon
>Capture NX2, Canon DPP, …)."
>
>This comment sounds negative to me; I don't see why
>integrating cataloging and editing functionalities into one
>program is something I should avoid. I find it easier and
>faster to use when these things are available in the same
>application.


The reason for me is, that if everything is integrated, you are less free to use another product for a certain task. While Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom is a really good raw editor, I still prefer Nikon Capture NX2. So for me going down the route of Lightroom will be less useful (and, yes, I even own a copy of Lightroom). Plus it doesn't have the power I get from Photo Mechanic.


>"When your collection of images grows, it becomes harder
>to keep track of them or to find a specific image. It helps if
>you maintain a good folder structure, but ultimately you want
>the ability to search and select your images based on their
>meta data.
>...
>You could of course use a software package that performs this
>cataloguing function (e.g., Adobe's Lightroom or Phase One's
>Media Pro) instead of Photo Mechanic, but then you'll miss out
>on all the unique capabilities and speed of PM… Not an option
>(for me, at least)."
>
>What unique capabilities? I think a reader with some
>experience on competing products would like to hear about
>those "unique capabilities" and how they might help
>my digital workflow. Please point them out more clearly.


Speed of browsing, ease of handling, applying IPTC meta data, automation, variables, code replacements, etc., etc.


>"As I like to sort and view my images in the order they
>were taken in, the default name (e.g., DSC_0012) as used
>in-camera is not suitable. Not only are you basically limited
>to under 10,000 images this way (the file name only has room
>for 4 digits), but what if you shoot with multiple cameras at
>the same time?"
>
>It is possible to change the file naming in camera settings.
>Unfortunately, Nikon only numbers with 4 digits. To me this is
>not a problem since I shoot only perhaps 2500 images a year
>and I can adjust the fifth digit manually (e.g.,
>"D3_12345.NEF" where '1' needs to be set manually)
>and there's no real need to wait for '19999' before
>incrementing the first digit. Similarly, multiple cameras
>could be coded into the filename.


Sure, if you shoot only a limited number of shots, this suits you; I am a professional and shoot much much more, and with different/multiple bodies too.


>However, I don't think the filename should be given too much
>importance -- unless you often need to work with the files
>directly.


As I said, keeping the files sorted this way makes my life easier, it helps me identify when a shot was taken easily. But sure you're right, the filename itself isn't really important any more as there's all the meta data to use.


> There's only limited information that the name can
>carry. Tags should be used instead. The more you use the tags
>the easier it is to find images (in the program). Not just one
>or two tags; I don't think it's uncommon to see tens of tags
>per image.


I think you mean keywords here, and yes, you're right; files can have many keywords associated with them.


>"It has an extremely fast (perhaps even the fastest on
>the market?) image browser with very nicely integrated
>features to support and/or automate your digitial workflow.
>IPTC and Exif meta data are fully supported and can be applied
>quickly and easily either on individual images or in
>batch."
>
>Having a faster image browser certainly sounds great;
>Lightroom is not particularly fast in this area, I think.
>However, Lightroom also applies the latest edits to the images
>at the same time (at least in the Development mode).
>Selecting images and adding tags to them in Lightroom happens
>instantly; I don't see the speed point here.


True, but browsing speed becomes a problem, especially when you deal with many (new) images.


> Of course,
>Lightroom doesn't modify the originals; that is intentional.
>You need to use other tools to change the NEF files.


True, but as I mentioned this doesn't suit my (non Adobe centric) workflow very well.


>The story does not tell how edited images are shown but I
>assume they must be read from an edited copy of the file
>(i.e., edited by a different program). That would mean that
>one needs to have as many copies of the image file as there
>are versions of the image. I wonder if that might be an issue
>when the D6x with 80 Mp resolution with 24 bits per pixel
>comes out.


Well, here is the neat thing about the combination of Capture NX2 and Photo Mechanic: with Capture NX2 your edits stay within the RAW file and PM will simply show you the edits (by making use of the embedded high quality JPG in the NEF file). For >95% of my work Capture NX2 is where I can do all my edits, the other 5% requires Photoshop, and a tiff file.
This would not be different with Lightroom by the way; here too I'd need to create Tiff files for a percentage of my work as Lightroom wouldn't be able to do what I needed (in fact it would be worse as Lightroom is less capable in some respects than NX2).


>Most of the features discussed in the review, like importing
>with metadata, browsing and exporting images, inserting tags,
>rating photos, labeling them with colors, etc. are just those
>I use everyday in Lightroom (and they are most likely included
>in Apple's Aperture as well). One important feature seems to
>be missing from the article: printing.


You're right. I completely forgot to mention printing. I never really print from Photo Mechanic (I'd use Photoshop for that), but you can in fact print from Photo Mechanic, both contact sheets and proofs.

I'll see if I can add something about printing later next week. Thanks for the tip!


>The variables and code replacements sound something which is
>not immediately available in Lightroom and which I think I
>basically understand what they mean but right now I don't
>think I would use them myself. Please elaborate them a bit
>more. Lightroom does have a public interface to write add-ons
>but unfortunately, I haven't had time to investigate it.
>Anyway, it might be possible to add a similar or compatible
>feature. Perhaps someone with coding skills and a vision might
>take a look?


Almost every piece of exif/iptc meta data can be accessed via variables (on which you can even do some basic string manipulations like retrieving only the first 6 characters), this is very handy in many circumstances. Then there's the added flexibility of the code replacements, making the possibilities (for e.g., automation) nearly endless. Once you've used them, there's no going back.

Example: For one of my clients I need to upload my selected images to a dated folder, with the location (street, city) as a subfolder, alternatives should go yet again into another subfolder. By using a combination of variables and a code replacement, this is achieved in one go. No manual interaction (cause for errors) is required, making this a really easy thing to achieve. I would never be able to do this with e.g., Lightroom or one of the other cataloguing products.

But again, these findings are all based on my needs and workflow. If your needs are different then you may (also) be served very well with e.g., Lightroom. In fact I like Lightroom a whole lot too and can highly recommend it (it just doesn't perfectly fit my needs).

Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
web: www.hayobaan.nl
blog: blog.hayobaan.nl
500px: 500px.com/HayoBaan

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
kj_fi Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2007Sun 08-Jul-12 02:20 PM
307 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 2


Vantaa, FI
          

Hi,

thanks for the additional comments! I do understand that people have different needs and different solutions to those needs. I just wanted clarifications to some of the issues that I found open. It is also true that my usage of Lightroom is relatively light and my profession is elsewhere (in the software engineering) and not in photography.

What still is unclear to me is the question of using multiple versions of the image files. As the resolution of digital cameras increases (Nikon now has 36 Mp), the size of the files increases as well. Now, if you have, let's say 3 or 10 copies of the same file, with slightly different cropping, coloring, etc., isn't it so that you then need as many physical copies of the NEF file, and each might be between 15 (D3) and 75 MB (D800)? Even when the browser loads the file from the JPEG preview image of the NEF?

The maximum number of virtual copies I have had so far is just 3 or 4 but I guess it might well be much higher than that for some users.

When performing a minimal change to a NEF file (e.g., adjusting exposure) and saving the new version with another name in the file system duplicates the disk space usage. Compare that to a sidecar file (e.g., 6 kb) which states in one line that the exposure has been changed. From that perspective I find it a bit inefficient to work with multiple copies of the NEF files.

The JPEG image embedded into the NEF file might not be accurate enough (in colorspace or bits per color) for serious work and then you have to load the NEF image with the detailed information instead. Now the question is: does Photo Mechanic know enough about the color spaces etc. configured for the current image (and for the display) if it is not the image editor? In other words, is the image shown in Photo Mechanic accurate enough to make justifications e.g., for publications? How does it handle this 'edit-there-browse-here' problem?

I can see now that part of the automation requirements in your workflow comes from the need to produce output for the clients. I suppose that might well be the case with many other professional photographers, too. Of course, I do not have such needs - or they might be just minimal. Although it might be possible to create useful automation using the Lightroom SDK/API it could be just too much work and definitely requires software developer skills. Maybe someone could pick up the idea here and create a user-friendly scripting language add-on for Lightroom?

Best regards,
Kari

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Sun 08-Jul-12 11:01 PM
5813 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#4. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 3
Mon 09-Jul-12 01:58 PM by mklass

Tacoma, US
          

Just to cover a few points, and Hayo is far better at this that I:

In CaptureNX you can save many different Versions of an image in 1 NEF. That minimizes disk space. No need for multiple NEFs. I don't know what the limit is, but I've had 6 versions with no problem. PM will show the currently used version when the NEF was last saved as the preview. (To view the others, you would need to open CNX and select them. If you saved them separately as JPG or TIFF, it would show then separately).

In PM, if you have a NEF and JPG of the same name and are showing them as 1 item, you can set which should open by default, and open the other simply by holding down the SHIFT key. You can also right click on an image to open it in any other application that you define in PM's preferences, or that is a default editor on your system.

If you save have a full JPG with the same name as the NEF, PM uses the full JPG instead of the thumbnail. You can also toggle on and off to show the JPG/NEF as one, item or as separate items.

The CNX preview JPG's are very good and do have the correct color profile. PM will either show the assigned color space or the default color space, based on your preference, and changeable by a simple tool bar toggle button.

The nice thing about PM's automation is that it requires no coding, no SDK/API developer kit, and no scripting. Even I can do it!

If you have an Adobe-centric workflow, perhaps PM is not for you, especially if you are hooked on Lightroom.

If you a looking for a non-Adobe image management tool that works well with any image editor, and especially well with Capture NX, give PM a try. There is a free trial.

I've been using it for about 6 years and it is an excellent product with excellent support, should you need it. Their forum will get you input from other users, including experts like Hayo, but also is constantly monitored and actively participated in by Camera Bits tech support staff and frequently sees comments by Camera Bits executives. ASide from dealing with the occasional tech problem, they provide guidance on the use of PM and encourage suggestions for improvements, many of with are incorporated in regular updates.

If it sounds like I'l trying to sell PM, I guess I am. It's not that I make money at it, but it is truly a great product and is from a company that really believes in being responsive to their customers.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

                
hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 09-Jul-12 01:45 PM
1370 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 4


Kockengen, NL
          

Hi Mick,

You actually worded it very well! You wrote what I would have answered myself

Thanks,
Hayo

Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
web: www.hayobaan.nl
blog: blog.hayobaan.nl
500px: 500px.com/HayoBaan

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Mon 09-Jul-12 03:13 PM
1370 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#6. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 1


Kockengen, NL
          

Hi Kari,

Thanks to your remark re printing, I've now added a section on printing and burning in my review

Thanks again for your feedback!

Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
web: www.hayobaan.nl
blog: blog.hayobaan.nl
500px: 500px.com/HayoBaan

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
kj_fi Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2007Tue 10-Jul-12 08:09 AM
307 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#7. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 6


Vantaa, FI
          

Hi Hayo,

one final comment about the text; a spelling error here which you may want to fix: "...will never be; there a ample good...".

Thank you and others. It's always good to have views from users with different approach to post processing.

Best regards,
Kari

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
hrbaan Registered since 29th Oct 2005Tue 10-Jul-12 11:18 AM
1370 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#8. "RE: Photo Mechanic v5.0 review"
In response to Reply # 7


Kockengen, NL
          

Corrected, thanks for noting

Cheers,
Hayo Baan – Photography
e-mail: info@hayobaan.nl
web: www.hayobaan.nl
blog: blog.hayobaan.nl
500px: 500px.com/HayoBaan

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Digital postprocessing & workflow (Public) topic #66746 Previous topic | Next topic


Take the Nikonians Tour and learn more about being a Nikonian Wiki /FAQ /Help Listen to our MP3 photography radio channels Find anything on Nikon and imaging technology - fast!

Copyright © Nikonians 2000, 2014
All Rights Reserved

Nikonians®, NikoScope® and NikoniansAcademy™ are trademarks owned by Nikonians.org.
Nikon®, Nikonos® and Nikkor® are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation.