Alternatives To The Mainstream


I am a little punch drunk from spending far too much time on reinventing the site with a bunch of new features so I thought I would take a little break and discuss a couple of products that serve as partial alternatives to the heavy hitters in the image work-flow field. The two players that come to mind would be Photo Mechanic and ACDSee Pro.

I don't claim to be remotely proficient with either product in the way that I am with Aperture and Lightroom but I thought I would bring them up for those that may be looking for an alternative as well as to pose the question of why one would want to go with one of those products. While I have an opinion on this - big surprise there - I am honestly interested in others thoughts, especially those that use other products or are considering it.

Photo Mechanic seemingly enjoys a devoted following among the Photojournalist crowd. They claim that it is fast, nothing faster, especially when reviewing RAW. The funny thing is that almost none of those shooters actually shoot RAW. Photojournalists shoot JPG for what I consider an anachronistic hold out for something sort of like some sort of proof that the image is "real". Yea I know that happens to be the deal right now but I suspect it will probably change. If anyone is interested in that thought process I would be happy to share it but let's just say if I were a photojournalist I would most likely shoot RAW+JPG even if I HAD to deliver the out of camera JPG files.

Getting back on track, if speed is the issue I find it difficult to believe that there is any measurable performance difference between just about any work-flow software on modern equipment dealing with puny JPG files. So if the mission of the day is speed and modern hardware can chew through JPG files way faster than humans could possibly absorb them visually that would leave us with work-flow efficiency. Now don't get me wrong, Photo Mechanic seems to be a fine piece of software for what it does but I prefer the flexibility and substantial additional function that both Aperture and Lightroom supply.

On to ACDSee. Windows only, similar but smaller feature set to Aperture and Lightroom, not free. Again a decent piece of software for a Windoze product but I am perplexed as to what would motivate someone to choose it over Lightroom or Aperture. It doesn't seem to have the historical following that Photo Mechanic has so what is the attraction? Does it boil down to what photographers started with, what they are used to, or the desire to use something that other people don't use?

I am not casting dispersions on either of the products that I mentioned, I am just curious as to the thought process and value proposition real or perceived that motivates the selection of either product over something like Lightroom or Aperture.



Ps. The image at the top is a screen shot of a JPG from my 4.1 megapixel D2H strait out of the camera with all image setting set to "normal" - who the heck needs more megapixels (at least for some things).

blog comments powered by Disqus