I got a message that Photolab 2.1 was available for download and installed it. I am disappointed that except for support of a couple of new cameras and some bug fixes there is still no upgraded or new functionality. When many of us complained that PL 2 was hardly different from PL1.2 we got the impression from Svetlana that a new release would be available before the end of the year and that going forward there would be actual functionality improvements in the point updates. Unless there were enhancements not mentioned in the release notes I am frustrated that Photolab’s functionally continues to stagnate in this new release, While the results I get with PhotoLab are wonderful, with regard to the feature set you are falling more and more behind your competition. I hope for my sake and yours that you will surprise us very soon with some significant updates and new features. But unfortunately my expectations for that happening are low.
Please, do not get upset. Yes, I remember I said that 2.1 would have some more features except for the camera support. But as 2.1 was divided into 2 parts (2.0.1 and 2.1 as we wanted to deliver the search history and search by a folder name as soon as they are ready) 2.1 has less content (and that’s true, we planned one more big feature but had no time to complete it before this release). But it does not mean that is it and you won’t have any new features in PL2.x. And you know that PL updates are systematic so you will get more and it’s just a matter of time.
My concern is that Photolab, in spite of its generally superior output, is continuing to fall behind functionally. When your various competitors release new versions they include a significant number of upgraded and new features. If you can not step up your game your loyal users will eventually get frustrated and seek alternatives. I would hate to see that happen. Sporadic minor enhancements just won’t cut it. We need to see significant improvement and we need to be confident that you have a serious development road map. I say this not only as a faithful user of all your software products but as a retired software developer.
So this means the keyword functionality will not come this year and the DAM feature set is taking up more resources than expected leaving us behind with the urgently expected improvements in PLs non-DAM functionality?
Actually not, as we are doing in parallel DAM and improvements required exactly by you - users. We made the global analysis of your “Improvement list” and added stories for that. And now we are working on both DAM and improvements. So you will have both.
This was, after the last two updates, the first time in the many years using the program I felt no point in even bothering to download and install this new version. Whatever the “promises” the direction has taken development away from improving the program, sorting out old bugs etc into miner tinkering and the new DAM.
As Svetlana said, our roadmap isn’t fully focused on DAM and DAM only, nore it is dedicated to only one or two big features that will take all our time, leaving lots of small and long time requested improvements on the road.
We have choices to make, keeping in mind that time and resources are somehow limited.
Nonetheless, I can assure you that our teams are working at the moment on a balanced load of tasks, tackling users requests, UX improvements, as well as new features, including DAM functionnalities.
On top of that you can add the general maintenance and bug fixes, and you can easily understand, beyond the frustration we all can have sometimes (or constantly), that it takes time, though we’re passionate about what we do.
So yes, you’ll see in the next updates the embodiments of all those efforts, and I hope, the relief of finally be reassured that we’re hearing you.
Since we have seen versions 2.0 1 and 2.1 released in the last several weeks how long will it take for a release with something meaningful in it? Three months? Six months? Later than that? Earlier than that? It is not clear what you mean by the “next updates”, but when that update does arrive if the fundamental improvements are to the DAM don’t be surprised if you receive very unhappy responses from your loyal users.
I’m sure the developers are trying their best. Perhaps your Mac, PC and Nik teams are just too small, compared to your competition, for us to reasonably expect faster development and implementation of new features.
Since adopting PL my experience has been very much uphill. I have really struggled to get results as good as LR but I now seem to have turned the corner and can at least equal those results more or less. The difficulty with PL is getting to grips with the way it works compared to the likes of LR. It is not easy and but for the superb help I have had from this forum I might well have given up. Trouble now is that I know not where PL is heading. It has a browse module which is brilliantly fast. It is really great for nipping through loads of images (it is on my Mac anyway) and it has search capabilities that are really quite good, if a little hidden, but nothing else that makes it remotely like a DAM. I still need LR or Bridge or something as my DAM for I cannot even create new folders in PL (unless they are project folders). I accept that I have probably not got my head around Projects yet but I prefer the file manager the way LR/Bridge does it. And I have not mentioned exif, keywords etc. So time is being spent on the DAM but in the meantime the competition are getting away with their selective editing methodology and user interface enhancements. Luminosity, colour range masking is common and add to that LUTs and the like and there is a way to go. IT does raise the question of does one stick with the development curve or just default to one of the many editors out there that are staying with, if not ahead, of the curve.
I absolutely adore PL and will stick with it but I do not like having to use more than one piece of software when I know there is software out there that gives the complete service.
Since starting this diatribe I have played with Projects and that does give more control but nothing like in the LR/Bridge file manager.
Except for new camera support (including something that is actually a new product), I have to agree - “2.1” isn’t as major an update as I expected from the version number. Most of my excitement about PhotoLab right now is from adding FilmPack 5 Elite to it - a truly significant upgrade which, along with ViewPoint, makes PhotoLab much more complete. Most of my frustration concerns minor user interface bugs and major demosaic/auto-sharpening flaws that I can’t work around. Halos are still a problem, despite the hype about Clearview Plus. (I created support tickets for these issues. Not getting fixed any time soon.)
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…Most of my excitement about PhotoLab right now is from adding FilmPack 5 Elite to it - a truly significant upgrade which, along with ViewPoint, makes PhotoLab much more complete. …
I been praising the addition of both of those add-ins to the Elite version of Photolab since I become a DXO user last December. I agree 100% with your assessment and am glad you added both Viewpoint and FilmPack to you tool set. While I find I use them only rarely as standalone programs, I know some people use them regularly that way. I tend to use them as PL plugins most of the time. Additionally, users not familiar with Filmpack 5 should know it has a lot more functionality then just film emulations.
I still am or indeed I have given up PL as a production environment. As I said, I can get results similar to LR but with a lot more effort and LR has a decent DAM. PL as is is far too geeky and lacking in ease of use functionality. If it does not change then I am off. I will certainly not take any paid upgrades. As things stand LR/PS is my main editing interface, I just run a few bits through PL to see what I can achieve as I like playing with software. So I guess you misunderstood
My comment was based on your statement posted earlier today and quoted below. It seems inconsistent with what you are now saying especially since your earlier statement was simple, unambiguous, and difficult to misinterpret. In any case I’m sorry you remain unhappy with PhotoLab.
“I absolutely adore PL and will stick with it but I do not like having to use more than one piece of software when I know there is software out there that gives the complete service.”
Well there you go - I do adore some of the attributes and the ambitions of the devs so I shall stick with it (as an exercise in enjoying new software) but will remain with the one stop shop solution. So to clarify, I am sticking with it out of interest and a desire to see DxO succeed in a market that may well now be too far in front. Maybe its strength is/was as a pure raw developer but there-again maybe that is a market of the past. Like others I think the dam development is a mistake - there is more pressing stuff to do.
While I completely agree with your concerns about the current focus on the DAM, I researched the issue a bit with regard to the competition and it seems that a functional DAM is very important to a lot of people, and the subject of limited or poor DAM functionality in their competitor’s software is mentioned in reviews far more than I would have expected. As a result I think DXO is taking it’s cue for the need for a robust DAM from its competitors, their users, and reviewers at least as much as from us. The issue, of course, with this current release is the lack of any functional changes which would warranted it being called version 2.1 and should have been designated 2.0.2
We certainly agree on that, although I suspect the majority of those dissidents are related to the I hate Adobe brigade, of which I am not a member. PhotoLabs strength is its raw development capability. Expand the functionality and give the front end a more flexible image browser and I reckon the world is DxO’s oyster. And what is happening re Nik?
I appreciate that is not a one stop shop a la Lr but it will provide a nice clean workflow that can bolt onto a stand alone DAM or the DAM can come later in the workflow for storing finished images.