Database Questions

First of all, I am not thoroughly invested in my current database file. I could blow it away and start over again and it wouldn’t harm me. Also, in writing this missive, I understand that a lot of what I have done is not optimal. Any one of you could read it and probably have a hundred ideas about what I’ve done wrong with various things, but I am getting closer to figuring out for myself how to do things. I do have questions - and maybe along the way I have exposed bugs or at least anomalies in how things are done. Maybe I’ll be able to tackle some of the individual mis-steps along the way but if you’re patient enough to get to the end I do have some specific questions about where I find myself today. I just have history first.

  1. History: I started getting into digital photography around 2004. In the beginning, a neighbor gifted me with a simple Fuji POS 2MP camera. I quickly realized the value of not having to pay for film and processing. As a not-quite-hobbyist who was always in debt this was a big thing. So I soon upgraded to an Olympus 4.1MP POS and shot probably at least 150k photos over the next 3-4 years. Always on a budget, raising kids, working full time, this became a creative outlet. I’ve deleted few of those early photos, organizing them in folder structures primarily by date, and later by date and/or camera/model. Eventually around 2008-2009, I landed a pair of Canon 12.2 MP EOS Rebel cameras and used them for more than 10 years, and although the pace slowed considerably as my own life altered, I was shooting in RAW+JPG so consumed ever more space. In 2019, we decided to actually take a vacation (a very, very short vacation) that included wide open skies of the desert southwest. I wanted to see the Milky Way in Big Bend NP, so after some searching, and intrigued by the value prospect plus the ability to use a mode called AstroTracer, I switched to Pentax, buying new what was then a 20MP closeout model with a $400 lens for $450. Since then I’ve added to my stable with another model and although I have slowed the number of shutter clicks, I have far more usable material. Altogether in my 2004-2020 folders I have well over 300k of photos backed up.
  2. Some years ago, Amazon started pushing cloud storage, and I purchased an unlimited plan for a relatively modest price, and backed everything up to a personal cloud site. This worked for awhile, then they changed their model and prices increased dramatically. I then switched to Google One storage, and subscribed to an annual plan with a 2TB limit, and so far I am not in danger of exceeding the space. As a local backup, when I was recovering from Amazon backup prior to the move to Google, I reorganized my naming system and copied to an external drive with plenty of space, so at that point the external drive had a clone of the online google drive storage.
  3. Amazon had pitfalls. The user interface was very, very, very clunky. Google was somewhat better, but at the time I subscribed did not have an option to “map” the drive to Windows. I finally started working more with the external drive. It is cumbersome to connect it, disconnect it, find files and folders, but it’s here beside me. Last year, now that my 350kish photos have at least 9 or 10 camera sources, I used some exiftool resources to reorganize again - there were times that I knew in my mind I wanted to see that photo I took with the canon Rebel XSI in 2019 or 2009 or whatever, but can’t remember the date. To be able to narrow down somewhat would be helpful. I am still not sure how helpful it is, and I have not converted my online collection to the newer folder structure, so now I have disparity between the two archives.
  4. In November 2020, after months of testing various photo tools, I purchased photolab and some Topaz products, because out of the dozens of apps I had experimented with, they seemed most fitting of my style (a bit minimalist) but still able to do great things in their own space. I dabbled a bit with the idea of asset management, but did not quite take the leap to try to use any one tool as a catalogue.
  5. In November 2021, I purchased the upgrade to PL 5 and added VP, FP, and Nik. Using PL with FilmPack presets, I have a series of 2021 photos that I have converted to a certain “look” and created some greeting cards being sold at a local shop. I wanted to begin considering my older photos, even if they aren’t cream of the crop in terms of professional photos - for what I want they would be fine for a rural giftshop selling some cards of the local area, as well as a few landmarks that are nationally recognized.
  6. While I have been working with the DXO products, Google recently introduced the idea of file streaming. Essentially an App in windows allows me to “map” my Google Drive storage as a “G” drive. It’s not extremely quick, and I do not want to allow it to store all the online data to my internal SSD or HHD, as I would quickly run out of space, so I have it in this offline mode. Even so, it is very capable of doing everything I wanted it to do. Here’s a preview of what it looks like in Explorer.

*** some time passes, in which Windows Explorer crashes while displaying the folders in G drive and finally I power off and back on to recover my pc. Thank goodness the forum saved a draft of this missive. ***

  1. So… where was I? Yes. After getting Google Drive mapped, I had the bright idea to right click the root of that drive and say “Index” in PL. That evening, I went to close the application, and got a warning that indexing a folder was in progress. I left the laptop open and next morning did the same thing. At some point I put it to sleep and resumed later, but within a couple days it had finished its indexing.

Observation 1. PL5 takes some time to load now that I have a 3.1gb database in the backend.

Question 1. Whilst indexing, how do I know the progress? I have answered this myself, to a point. I found where the database folder is, and saw the file type and went out and downloaded SQLLiteStudio.exe and added the PL database to it. I could then see the item list and how many items are in it. When that number quit increasing, then I figured it was done. I then went back to PL and closed and it closed down just fine. But within the app, is there any way to actually interact with the database, other than a keyword search?

Question 2. Searching by keyword. A day or two has passed, and I had a conversation with someone about the cards I am printing. They referred back to a photo I had taken back in 2009. I named the output “Life in a Bottle” with other descriptives like 5x7 or 8x10 appended to it back then. But I haven’t done much with it since. I probably have duplicates of it from having moved folders around some. I know I am not likely to find the original photo this way, but I can find a copy and use the exif data to find the original. So here goes nothing. I search for “bottle” in PL5.

I have results! Some of them have exclamation marks. Clicking on one of those says source file cannot be found. At first I assumed it’s because although Google Drive is loaded it’s not truly local so maybe the call to read the file timed out or something. Just an assumption.

However, here’s my investigation. Right click the image includes these options:
Image properties shows this:

Show input file in Windows Explorer shows this:
Fix image path does this:

This would seem to indicate that indeed, maybe the app couldn’t find it when it loaded but in the background the folder got loaded into cache. It’s a limit but then I am mis-using cloud storage as a local drive so not a big deal, maybe.

Following the same pattern as above, here’s a differently named file (lifeinabottle-back.JPG).

This one looks totally wrong. When I click on the edge of the window, though it changes:

Just weird little details.

Question 2. Given the testing above, how useful will it be to utilize PL database in some way in the future, especially if I have a cloud-based drive/storage? I feel like it’s good. I can narrow down by date and find files. But if the results are “wrong” in that it can’t immediately find files, then will the database engine ever start cleaning up and removing these so-called missing files?

Question 2a. If it does not do any form of cleanup, and I decide at some point to take my folder naming and redo it because the current setup after 15+ years is getting almost too convoluted, then do I have to just delete the database and start over again, or if I have a folder of processed photos and rename the folder or move it to a new tree, will indexing automatically find it and sync it to original database location? Or will the database think it’s now in two places, and place 1 truly doesn’t exist and place 2 maybe THINKS it doesn’t exist because it’s slow to respond.

Question 3 and more. I have read comments in forums here that the database manager feature of PL is not too robust. There are probably much more user-friendly and creative ways to organize photos. I probably need to invest time and energy in that, and come up with a strategy that will cover me for the next decade or two until I am too old and decrepit to care any more. Thoughts, considerations, recommendations? I will say that I am okay just organizing in Windows by date in some form or fashion. I don’t feel like I really NEED a photo management solution. If I could get PL to index and that helps me find the photos inside the app, that would be good enough. But maybe I shouldn’t ask it to. Maybe the DB should be on my C and D drives only, keeping the startup snappier, and use a 3rd party tool to find the images I want to process. Taking that road, however, what happens if I goto June 6, 2019 on my cloud storage and open a file in that folder in PL. Does the folder get indexed even if I have neglected to add the storage drive to the database?

So many questions, so little time… Thanks in advance for any thoughts. I don’t need everything to be answered today. I am mostly still learning the tools and like @mikemyers, who always asks great questions, and who always gets even better answers, there are times when I feel like I don’t quite know what I don’t know, and so even asking an intelligent question is hard to do.

This whole topic might better be handled someday as a round-table discussion / ie zoom meeting, with a bunch of people tossing around ideas and thoughts. For now, the forums will do just fine, though, I guess.

Gee, thanks - I often don’t know the right question until I start getting “wrong” replies, which really are the right answers to the question I ought to have asked.

Just one tiny thing to make contribute here - there’s a program I have been using for as long as I can remember, PhotoMechanic, that was introduced in 2004. Since then it has grown, and there is a new release that might help with the things that you’re looking into.

I use PhotoMechanic to ingest my images in an organized way onto my computer. I haven’t yet used the other features that have been added, such as “keywords”. It might be useful to you, and they have some wonderful people who are glad to discuss things over the phone if you want direct answers.

Not sure if it will or can in any way help you, but I’ve been using it for as long as I’ve been shooting “digital”. Hope this may be of help to you.

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Thanks, Mike. I’ll check it out, for sure.

When I finally realized I had to pay for software because I had maxed the limits of camera and freeware, I did the trials of a lot of different products. This led me to Photolab. My journey was pushed by a combination of needs/wants. Primarily, I had a couple astro/Milky Way photos that had potential to be good, and hummingbird shots taken after weeks of patient stalking. In both cases, there was enough noise that I needed to process raw. And here I am.

I had not taken the time to truly try to organize my collection other than by date and occasionally event. But I am maxing the limits of what I’ve done here as well.

@arkansawyer, maybe you can get a few hints from reading through this:

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I would NOT index a cloud drive! You cannot be certain how it is implemented and it could change at any time and break your database. The underlying storage may not be compatible with what PL may need to do to the files too.

My recommendation: only index locally connected drives. Even portable USB drives can cause issues if the drive letter changes for spme reason.

Until PL provides a mechanism for locating files that have moved then be careful of removable media. Lightroom actually did a great job on this area and I have not found anything that can do what LR does with regards managing the database. Photo Mechanic Plus comes close but cannot write match LR although it does have the option of using multiple databases simultaneously!


Amen to that brother! And I would add do not work on images on a cloud drive.

Cloud drives are virtual drives that are synchronised according to some algorithm but that cannot be relied upon to have a proper copy of a file at any given time.

If you want the cloud drive for backup purposes, no problem, as long as you use a locally connected drive for working from and backup to the cloud and restore from the cloud when necessary.

I run a Mac and only use my iCloud storage for files that I might want to access from my iPhone, iPads and Mac. Otherwise, I make a clone of my main disk to an external disk every so often but have an external TimeMachine drive running all the time, which automatically saves versions of files as they are created and edited.

If you have too many files to keep on an internal drive, I suggest buying two external drive and cloning one to the other every so often. I had a bad experience with a mirrored drive once, when the FAT on one of the disks corrupted and the mirroring dutifully corrupted the second disk to match. I lost thousands of images but managed to recover some of them.

Running two external drives also doesn’t cost you anything every month.

And a final note - do you really need to keep that many images anyway? :wink:

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Just for fun, I copied the folder with my test images to iCloud and worked on them a few times and alternatingly on iMac and M1 MacBook Air. All changes (except rating and possibly others that I didn’t test) I made on one computer turned up on the other - when I imported and exported sidecars manually. With auto-import, a few sidecars were not read every time. Bonus: I never got any virtual copies!

As always, getting rid of the files in both databases was more complicated than I like it - and the procedure does not necessarily work on other platforms.

  • Mac #1: Delete images in DPL, quit DPL, move images back from the trash
  • Mac #2: Delete images in DPL, quit DPL, empty trash

Apart from the known shortcomings (rating, DB maintenance functionality), everything worked as expected (some lag, but no issues) in this short test with DPL 5.1.1 on macOS Big Sur 11.6.3.

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Last year, I was working with an external drive. And the drive letter thing + renaming of files and folders may have broken the database in PL. At that point, I guess I didn’t much care because the database meant nothing to me. I knew where the files I wanted were and if it wasn’t reflected in the database, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t using the DB anyway. Finally - I am working with a laptop, and I’d only use the external drive to copy a folder to my SSD and do edits there. That becomes quite … bothersome … because now I have duplicates of folders and maybe even more folders where I export to. I actually got into the habit of exporting to a folder on MS One Drive so it was seperated from everything else, and then I could save individual images to my phone for posting on Instagram, etc.

Now I’ve come a ways and sorted out some of that, and now I have a mapped drive that presents all my files and folders in a “windows native” way as if they were local except for some added lag time as they load into cache, I thought I’d try this indexing thing out.

I’ve given this some thought. One drawback for me is that I have a multi-terrabyte portable external drive that I can connect via USB. When I take the time to do so, it works great. But my workstation is a laptop and portable and unless I am travelling and need the external I tend to leave it at home and most of the time not connected (it’s safer than knocking it about in my travels). If I add another to that flow then I have two portable devices, two cables, two etc. I find having a local copy to be comforting but having used Google Drive as a backup repository for a number of years and having it in a standard file/folder format, it seems natural to me to use it because I can be on the network at my wife’s clay art studio, or at home, or whereever, and I am not carrying small devices back and forth to get damaged.

The cloud backup is not a “sync’d” backup. It’s a static backup. I spent weeks moving (or rather cloning) my local external drive to the Google Drive. I do not have any sync to/from local copy automatically happening - just for the reason you described. It is safe in one location. If I were to have sync setup, and delete by accident or otherwise, a year or a day or whatever, and that deletion is synchronized, then they are just gone.

I think it’s helpful to know that I shouldn’t index the drive. Even though it would make my finding things much easier. Also helpful to know that I shouldn’t be working on the copies stored there - although I am frustrated to think that the other option is to download them to local drive and do edits there. And if I want to store those edits to the cloud, I need to come up with some new way to store the edited versions - which takes away the benefit of all the time and trouble I put into the storage folder/naming/etc, as now I again have multiple copies of everything.

Noted. As I get older, I have less need to hoard every image. But in that first 5-6 years of photographic exploration, I had a lot of free time on my hand and blasted away taking thousands of photos. Maybe for every thousand photos I had 5 or 10 that were pretty good, but by looking at those I slowly got better. Anyway, I had occasion around 2008 and 2009 to compile many local photos from the prior 3-4 years into a photo book that I sold locally. With some time and distance I know that many if not most of those photos are subpar, but at the same time - for every photo there is a story. The day in February where fog was roiling over the Susquehanna River, and I turned away to snap a photo of water droplets suspended on a branch - got disgusted with my inability to focus well on it with the camera in hand and quit - later to find that the water droplets contained an inverted image of an old church in the background. I hate to throw away the stories. More than that though, I have begun to take my (new) photos more seriously, to process them, to learn more about technique, all while balancing full time job all while being my wife’s sole “volunteer employee and handyman” in her venture. If I wait another 15 years (I am about to turn 51 in a week), I can retire from my IT position and either travel a lot or sort through the archives hitting the delete key, or both. For now, I simply don’t yet have quite that much time and energy. Thus the need to find some way to organize.

I have never used Lightroom. By working with various Adobe products at work over the years (much of it document management related) I am pretty well not a fan at all. Even when I was able to get access to a low cost version of Premier and Photoshop Elements 2021 just to see how they work, they are as terrible as Acrobat and other products that I’ve used - crashing often and consuming much CPU time in the background, and I feel like not a very intuitive nature.

I detest the thought, really, of learning to use another Adobe tool that will no doubt frustrate me. Maybe, though, when I was doing the 30/60/90 day trials of a dozen or more photo apps leading me to PL in the first place, I should have included them. My kneejerk was to keep them all at a distance. I do not want subscription based products unless they are cheap. I can pay to upgrade PL year after year as long as I want to choose to do so, but if I have to do something like Creative Suite or similar with Adobe, then the choice goes away. This is not (yet) my income source - it’s a hobby, and with a little hobby income - but not even enough to cover the limited costs so far incurred.

Thank you all for sharing your guidance. I am not a good swimmer and haven’t dived into the deep end of the pool yet. I am just testing waters and figuring out what my limits are.

I took a look at Photo Mechanic and Plus and then started doing other research for other similar tools, by way of comparison. Before I even download a 30 day trial of something I want to see and know as much as I can. ACDSee has something similar that looks nice. But then I found another tool, and it dawns on me I already have installed it. An Open Source photo management product called DigiKam. I had actually updated it a while back. When I first installed it (about the time I bought into PL4), I set it up and let it search through my collections. It seems stable and powerful (I had even taken the time to recognize faces of those I know - kids, siblings, myself, other family and friends) and it added them. But then I got busy and forgot it’s existence. Since I only briefly had it open for an update and I tend to disable background scanning, I was surprised to open it up and see part of my G drive already calalogued (my recently mapped Google Drive). Since I already have it, I’ll see what I can do with it before tearing off on something new. … now that I am typing this, I see that it also remembers my (currently disconnected) USB backup drive and can find and show to me thumbnails of images it is aware of there! I had forgotten it had that capability, too.

I’ll explore that more. I may at some point want to upgrade my laptop’s drives. So far I haven’t had space or performance issues – my C drive is a 500GB SSD and my D drive is a 1TB HDD. But if I start going through my collection and create more offline data sets to process and come up with a more permanent holding place for processed photos instead of the helter-skelter approach I used over the years, then I may want more space. I was waiting for prices on good SSD tech to drop more but with Covid and the use of graphics chips and fast storage for “mining bitcoins” and related the prices have not dropped as quickly as I had anticipated a couple years ago when I bought the laptop.

Anyhow, I am still catching up on some threads you started. I spent an hour or more reading through the sharpening thread that had 90% of posts going off on very interesting (sometimes combative) tangents, and only read through about half of it. As for me, I dropped off toward what I hope is near the end of a lot of discussion about mirrorless vs. DSLR. Some folks believe DSLR is dead, and certainly Canon and Nikon are moving away from it. Pentax has, however, dropped all mirrorless and moved the other direction, doubling down on the DSLR technology, and spent a couple years developing and testing their new flagship, the K3iii - which despite the name is not a 3rd iteration of a camera that was very similar in it’s first two iterations. The tracking, for example, may not be up to par with some of the newer lightweight bodies from other makers, but it’s a huge shift in the right direction. They redesigned the pentaprism from the ground up to be large and very visible. On the other hand, they have recently had public discussions about moving manufacturing to a more “build on demand” mode rather than mass producing, and maybe that’s good, or maybe it’s not. If I take what they say at face value, they are truly moving to invest much time and money into enhancing the classic photography experience. I hope this means they’ll update their full frame and their 645 offerings, which are still excellent cameras but both several years old. I made the shift from entry-level Canon DSLR to Pentax a couple years back when I discovered Astrotracer utility on them and wanted to be able to take astro shots with extended exposure - and two weeks later took amazing shots in western Texas in dark skies. It took me another year and a half to find Topaz Denoise and Photolab’s Deep Prime to properly process the photos, and to this day, reading yours and JoAnna’s discussions of methods makes me keep going back and revisiting the tools and techniques.

Thanks for everything. You’ve been doing this photography thing far longer and more seriously than me, but every time I login here I learn something new from you and the discussions you participate in.

Gee, thanks! Glad the discussions/debates/whatever are helping others. I’ve loved taking photos since I was a little kid, and “borrowed” my father’s Contax II rangefinder camera. For me, it’a a never-ending source of enjoyment.

I’ll have to check out what you wrote about Pentax and the new direction for them - I’m completely unaware of that.

DigiKam - never heard of it.

It’s downloading now - can you say more about what it does, and why I might want to install it?

Meanwhile, if you wish to, feel free to download any of my raw images, and edit them yourself with PhotoLab, then post your results, and ask as many questions as you wish to. I may not be able to answer them, but others will.

Oh, and while I mostly try to be “logical” here in the forum, logical for me might not be logical for others. I love my Leica cameras because they are rangefinder cameras, and I’ve upgraded to the M10, and not beyond. I think 24 megapixels is plenty good enough for me. So that leaves me with my two Nikon D750 cameras and my Nikon Df, which is a rather unusual camera, and I enjoy using it despite several people telling me my D750 is more capable. Maybe you’ve already seen the photo I uploaded earlier tonight from my 2004 Canon Powershot Pro1 camera. The way I see it, the camera is just a tool, and it’s the photographer who makes the picture. I may just charge up the battery for the Pro1 and use it again for a while. Most people think if they buy a better camera they will become better photographers. To me, that’s nonsense, regardless of how logical it sounds. :slight_smile:

I rather think that if you’re using Photo Mechanic and/or it’s plus version, you may not need it. It is essentially an asset management system allowing you to search your collection by various attributes, allowing for offline or part time folders (removable, etc) and has support for facial recognition. Beyond that, I haven’t explored much.

I am no Pentax Brand Ambassador, but this page on their Japan site is something their marketing folks came out with last year. If we accept on face value, it sounds good to me.

I upgraded to the Plus Version, but I’m only using PhotoMechanic for ingesting images in a controlled and organized manner, and then for quickly sorting through them to eliminate poor images. I can quickly view images full-screen on my monitor, and either “Tag” them or not - and then delete the un-tagged images.

I keep telling myself that I will stop for a while, and learn how to use the DAM functions, so I can more easily find my older images. First step will be to again watch their on-line tutorials, and I may call them back for a live discussion. Their tech staff is very friendly and helpful, and they have found workarounds for issues such as the tiny thumbnails created by the LEICA M8, making it difficult to sort those images when I was using that camera.

From the opening of that page:
When you take a picture with a single lens reflex (SLR) camera, the light passes through the lens, and in turn the optical viewfinder. You view the image directly with your eyes, and feel it with your heart.
This is the unique experience you get when using an SLR. Not only do you enjoy the images captured, but also the entire process of taking a picture, from deciding on what to capture and where, to observing the scene, composing the image, then finally releasing the shutter.

If Nikon foolishly abandons the SLR in favor of what I see as a cheap workaround, maybe I should immediately buy a D850, and maybe I should plan an eventual switch to Pentax.

Back when the Pentax was known as the Asahi Pentax, I always loved their cameras, but it was a choice, and I stuck with Nikon. Of course, if Nikon now chooses to not stick with me, I can leave them behind.

Just in case anyone reading this gets the bright idea to install the Google FileStream plugin, I can confirm that I’ve had to power cycle twice now while interacting with the mapped drive. This problem may or may not go away if I erase my PL database and decline to index the G drive. The Google support forums has a long thread of user complaints over the past few months with various iterations of this problem. Apps like antivirus or heavily io driven seem to cause it to hang. Spreading a broader search looking for answers, I found this interesting blog that notes file corruption on local copies of files used by Google FileStream in addition to the observed problems. Since I am attempting to keep my cloud files as an asynchronous backup (I am NOT syncing to local drive) maybe I wouldn’t hit that problem, but I am definitely seeing other issues.

This made me go look at the Google Drive appdata cache folder. It is about 105GB total size (but windows reports size on disk of 31.6GB … maybe it’s compressing cache files?). Since this is all stored on the internal C drive (a 500GB SSD), it’s a bit concerning - that’s a huge chunk of a limited amount of space. Maybe contributing to the lockups.

All of which serves to confirm what several of you have advised - that is - do not index cloud files (no matter how pretty they may appear when presented to Windows). In theory, I really do appreciate the concept they have here of giving you the look and feel of a local drive mapped natively in Windows. It’s better than the OneDrive or other implementations I have seen (to my mind), and much, much better than the old “open drive in a browser and look at files” mode they only supported till the past year or so.

However, my best bet is to use it in a limited fashion when, and only when, I want to retrieve data and then work with it offline. I can store large files and folders on my 1TB hard drive (D:) as needed and move really intensive things like videos for editing, etc., to the C drive, and performance is pretty good.

I do still want to try to use an asset management system to try to get a better handle of my library. I can then focus on keeping the unedited original copies isolated from all the working copies.

Thanks for your feedback!

Regarding Photo Mechanic - I only upgraded to the Plus version after getting to grips with the basic one as I found it a bit confusing when I did the trial.

I have now set up a catalog per year and I think it is brilliant. I can search across all of my catalogs and hard drives in one fell swoop, even if they are not connected. It will tell me on which drive that photo is, so I can then connect it and navigate to it.

I have my photos spread over a few hard drives e.g. football on one, kitesurfing on another and all my other photos on a couple of other hard drives… and then there are all the backup drives…

Currently I don’t add images to my catalog on ingest as I prefer to delete the rubbish first, but I’m not sure if this is good or bad practice.

My 2020-present photos are stored locally till I can come to terms with how to manage the rest. For an open source project Digicam seems to be pretty robust and comprehensive so far, and i can search my disconnected usb drive as well as local and cloud storage. The interface is not brilliant but it works.

I just don’t know what I don’t know. I guess when I am comfortable with digicam maybe I’ll trial Photo Mechanic. And/or the Acdsee equivalent which at least looks nice.

I hate to waste half my trial trying to set expectations. At least having and testing digicam gives me a baseline.

Thanks for your vote to Photo Mechanic. That’s 2 referrals.

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Photo Mechanic is expensive, I think, so it took me a long time to commit to both the basic and then the Plus versions. The Plus version is the one that catalogs the images and allows you to search all drives. If Digicam meets your needs, I’d stick with that. My post was mainly to encourage Mike to make the most of his Plus version.

My primary reason for Photo Mechanic was that I needed to be able to browse and cull a lot of images quickly. Fast Raw Viewer works for that too and is much cheaper, but I preferred Photo Mechanic.

What you wrote is one of the main reasons I bought PhotoMechanic decades ago, and it allows me to very quickly go through all my photos, even if there are hundreds, and get rid of useless images. It also has the tools to rename my folders and images in any way that I want - after a lot of experimenting, I came up with something I find most helpful. I can post those renaming functions I set up if you wish.

There was a video that taught me all about this maybe five years ago, and how to use “shortcuts” to make the file listing even more helpful. I can search for that again and post the link.

Using PhotoMechanic as a DAM (Digital Asset Management Tool) is next on my list of things to do - maybe in the next few weeks. All the reviews say it is excellent, and I guess the sooner I learn this, the better.

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I purchased Photo Mechanic mainly to ingest and cull photos and then when the beta program for the plus version started I joined up and helped refine it and kill bugs. I use the plus version for cataloging my fish photos with hierarchical keywords. I also use it for managing other metadata as it is so powerful. There are variables available for all metadata tags so you can use them almost anywhere, such as renaming files based on metadata.

PMP is expensive but then is updated less frequently so your higher cost is spread over a longer period so it evens out in the long run. Minor updates for big fixes and small improvements are frequent and free though!

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