I have been seriously looking for an alternative to Lightroom Classic (yes, I know, I’m hardly alone in that) and have been spending quality time with PhotoLab 6 reworking some of my past images to see what works and what doesn’t, for me.
I’m finding PhotoLab to be very good and it changes some of my previous approaches to adjusting images. For one thing, I’m not missing AI Masking nearly as much as I thought I would.
But there are a couple of things that bother me about PhotoLab that I haven’t figured a way around, yet:
There are no metadata presets. I use them often to assign location data from my list of presets or copyright information.
There are also no print presets. In Lightroom, I can set up various papers in various sizes and just pick one when I’m ready to print.
Because PhotoLab does not display images in subfolders, I can’t seem to filter across my image library. For instance, I’d like to display all my 5-star images.
My workflow prefers getting things done in a single application. I know that many use a separate DAM at the front and a print-focused application at the end of their workflow.
Have PhotoLab users developed any methods that might help work around the ‘shortcomings’ above?
There are no metadata presets.
→ no workarounds I know of.
There are also no print presets.
→ no workarounds I know of.
PhotoLab does not display images in subfolders,
(I can’t seem to filter across my image library. E.g., I’d like to display all my 5-star images.)
→ after indexing the photo library from its root, search covers the whole library.
(depending on the size of the library, indexing can take quite a while - think hours)
Please note that PhotoLab’s database (catalog in lightroom’s words) misses a few important maintenance services. Depending on what you do outside of DPL, its database can differ considerably from what’s in your library. Beware of renaming, moving or deleting images!
I use adobe bridge which is free when you are sign in adobe.
I have in preferences of dxopl write metadata off. (when i want to change something i use bridge. Only thing i add in dxopl is geodata of googlemaps. Which i do that i use the manual command export metadata to selected images. This way you don’t mess up the xmp files too much by the use of two captains on one ship.
You can also start project from bridge to export to dxopl. Select multiple images in bridge and open those in dxopl.
There is the display hide show list and a search tool. Which can be used for shuttertime, focal length, keywords, aperture and such.
Together better then bridge which seems to be one folder only.
The answer is blowing in the wind…
It’s in the pipeline, we are debating about the road we will taken for the solution…
In the mean time feel free to delete the database from now and then.
Be aware of deleting then also projects.
Use xmp’s and turn off auto write of metadata if you have adobe keywords structure in preferences. Use manual selected images and manual export command instead so yo can control which and what. Use read only modes for keywords.
(i am better save then sorry knowing not very much about the xmp and other hieracical structures which can be fu…ed up beyond repair by mismanagement or different ways of management in two applications.
As long as i need bridge for templates and start keyword tagging also there i keep dxo away from updating xmp file’s in automodes. Just to be sure.
I don’t find it that onerous and it does mean that, if I want, I can keep the TIFF ready for printing without having to go through all the setup again. If I don’t want to print it again in the near future, I can simply delete it and re-export when I do.
I have a Canon Pro 1000 A2 printer, which comes with its own print manager, which is far more sophisticated than using the standard print dialog from any app.
DXO PhotoLab is closer to Adobe Bridge than Adobe Lightroom when it comes to images being viewed and ready to work on. I personally used to use Lightroom for cataloging but found myself a hostage when I wanted to use Capture One or any other programs, because every catalog seem to be somewhat prosperity. Once I got burned like that I now use just plain old fashion folder structure and no matter what program I use they all read it as it should be. My personal recommendation is to consider that for the future in case you want to use other programs. But that is just my experience. Since I don’t work on large collection of images at the time and use other programs for management of images. I like how DXO is ready to work by simply opening it and browsing the folder. On windows there is an option to right click on an image and open up the location in DXO so its really easy and fast to start working. I prefer that over having to import everything first.
That being said there are dedicated image database programs out there that specialize in large image collection search and all that. So maybe that is another alternative. It requires additional program, but I don’t know what kind of photography do you do, because some photographers shoot only few dozen shots and some shoot thousands, so different needs.
Rename files with PhotoLab open and with PhotoLab (bulk) rename → avoids issues
Rename files with PhotoLab open and with Finder (bulk) rename → avoids issues
Rename files with PhotoLab closed and with Finder (bulk) rename → causes issues
Move files with PhotoLab open by dragging files in DPL to folder in DPL Library → causes issues
Move files with PhotoLab open by dragging files in Finder → causes issues
Move files with PhotoLab closed by dragging files in Finder → causes issues
Please note that
Re-indexing (parts of) your photo library will NOT fix issues, but might make them worse.
→ The only reliable way to fix the DB is to trash the DB and re-index the whole lot.
→ Manual DB backups help against crashes, but not against issues caused by e.g. renaming.
PhotoLab will NOT import or apply any developments you did with RAW files in Lightroom.
PhotoLab will only import metadata edited in Lightroom iff these changes have been saved in the source files (JPEG, TIFF, DNG) or .xmp sidecar files (RAW)
Switching from Lr (or any other RAW developer) to PhotoLab is … best done e.g. if you decide to switch gear from Pentax to Sony. Leave your Pentax files in Lr and do Sony files in DPL.
I usually customize images over and over again, so the loss mentioned in 2. above is therefore not that terrible for me. But any issue with metadata is. YMMV!
Also check your cost of ownership over a few years with DxO’s current upgrade pricing policy.
Cost of first license + upgrade costs if you upgrade every year (best upgrade price)
Cost of first license + upgrade costs if you upgrade every 2nd year (good upgrade price)
Cost of first license + upgrade costs if you upgrade every 3rd year (buy new license instead)
All of the above vs. Adobe subscription. DxO and Adobe can offer discounts e.g. for black friday!
What’s the price difference vs. the balance of (evolving) capabilities?
New gear is available in the current and current-1 versions of DPL - with DxO’s current update policy.
Photo Mechanic appears to be fine software, and often used. But it’s expensive and something else to learn and manage. My photography leads to a few images for a while and then dozens in a short period.
PhotoLab is evolving and has added the PhotoLibrary ‘recently,’ so it’s hard to say what direction it may go in v7. I can only hope for improved DAM features. Or, if I can’t live with the limitations, go back to Lightroom Classic or ON1 Photo RAW.
Yes. I think this is in part why DXO can export Linear DNG’s for those who still rely on other programs like Lightroom or Capture one or On1, but want the image processing ability of DXO. The downside is duplicate files and larger file size off course, but it still a crossover option I guess.
It seems to me that PhotoLab’s lens corrections and denoise technology are the best in the business. Are there other stand out abilities I’m missing.
Lightroom and Photo RAW are very competent programs themselves. They use the built-in lens correction data in modern cameras – very good, but not as good. Their denoise algorithms are very good, but not as good. And the gap is narrowing.