Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Photo Album's: Must Haves or just Haves

In a weaker moment last week I decided that I'd try out a few photo album applications. Computer Photo Album's, at least on the surface, are the "hot user must have computer features" to upload, sort, fix up, print, email and share your photos from your bright new camera. Such software now usually comes bundled with your camera these days but I'm afraid I don't buy all that hype. They are just another bit of software to learn and/or get annoyed at.

A quick look at tucows showed there are a number of shareware and free programs claiming to do the same job. Many computer and digital photography magazine come with trial application and shareware. Ok it seemed like a good idea to try a couple

I really regret this noble gesture of research. The first couple of programs I loaded took over relatively mundane things and changed my configurations. So here are a some of harsh judgements I've handed out already.

ACDsee, this seemed fine at first, but obviously didn't read the install options well enough and it changed all the standard graphic extensions to load itself, Then before it opened an image it came up with a little pop up screen to buy the software It did this every time I wanted to view a picture. Very annoying! Verdict: GUILTY and sentenced to immediate DELETION. However removal just left all the graphic formats with no defined viewer/editor. Which meant I had to manually reassign them. Super annoying and that's being polite. New Verdict: EXTREMELY GUILTY never to be reloaded!

Photo Works, looks really nice and appears very simple but took over the upload process whenever I inserted a card from my camera in my card reader. Verdict: GUILTY and sentenced to immediate DELETION

Fototime's FotoAlbum, isn't as pretty but it is freeware. Better still in doesn't try to take over file management or control other settings but it has to read all your photo directories "in order" and create thumbnails of each before it can be used. The problem is it is so so slow at doing that. Verdict: LEAVE IT TILL ANOTHER DAY (maybe never)

CyPics, looks nice and has a helpful separate image discovery screen (it builds an access database of your photos, including the EXIF information and keywords, best it works with the photos were they are); this one has potential; Mm only a 30 day trial. Verdict HARMLESS ENOUGH wait for a opportunity to test it and check the use by date in a month! (the fridge solution)
Example of CyPix's Album view

So NO CLEAR WINNER YET, just scratchings but I still have more stuff to review.

This class of software should not be confused with image editing software like Corel Photobook, Jasco Paintshop Pro, both of which I have and like using, or Adobe Photoshop Pro, which I am trying out again (its got a second chance!) Some camera applications like Camedia Master from Olympus do a little of both, offering advanced editing and photo collection management. But I would probably not be looking for a better photo album application and already using an alternate Photo editor if it did both jobs well.
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