Better Than Picasa?
July 16, 2004 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I downloaded Picasa at the urging of Google's homepage today, but found it profoundly unuseful. What's a better photo-organizing program?

Picasa was beautifully fast, even on my crawly 400mhz laptop, but the UI was a real pain. If I'm viewing a photo, I want to be able to add keywords/description on that screen, not by going through a separate dialog. Likewise, keywords I've already added should be immediately visible next to the picture (or as a tooltip), not require me to press another button. Searching should be always-available and fast.

It would be nice if the application used native widgets instead of overly-pretty rounded corners everywhere, but I realize that may be a lost cause these days.

Does a solid-enough program for Windows XP exist, or should I continue to just use the filesystem?
posted by Aaorn to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Acdsee is solid, though a little bloated in its latest iincarnations. You might want to try the "classic" version.
Compupic is also quite good, with less features, which might be a good thing.
Neither one is free, but, well, you know.
posted by signal at 9:01 AM on July 16, 2004

Jasc's PhotoShop Album possibly does what you need, having a good and very thorough 'info' window always visible allowing you to enter (searchable) descriptions on the fly. It probably has waaaaay more bells & whistles than you'll ever need, (VCD slideshows anyone?), but what doesn't? Good built-in archiver, too, and there's a trial version available.
posted by punilux at 9:01 AM on July 16, 2004

I use Thumbs Plus, but I guess it may not be what you want because keywords are a separate dialogue. I use it mostly for running photo galleries on a website I run - nice batch processing to make thumbnails of whole folders of pictures, plus web page templates to make photo galleries with just a few clicks.
posted by dnash at 9:05 AM on July 16, 2004

Probably just a typo on punilux's part, but Jasc's product is Paint Shop Photo Album. Photoshop Album is a competing product from Adobe. There is a free starter edition available which has most of the features of the USD$50 version. (I think they now bundle it with the latest version of Adobe Reader.)

Do any of these programs organise the files for you; much like iTunes does? I've got thousands of images scattered across my machine and I'd love a program to automagically pull them into a structured directory when I import them into the catalog.

Network support would also be a big plus. I'd like to browse and add to my image catalog (sitting on a shared drive) from any networked machine. (This last feature maybe out of the realm of a $50 consumer-level package, but I can still dream.)
posted by Monk at 9:35 AM on July 16, 2004

Photoshop Album uses tags, like GMail's keywords. It's really easy to filter by tag. And you can organize by date. But it will never touch your original files. Even if you edit them, it stores the edited version in a new file.
posted by smackfu at 10:18 AM on July 16, 2004

Question about these programs... I know that resaving jpgs is bad, mmmkay, because it recompresses something that is already compressed... So does using these type of program, specifically Picasa or PS Album, cause your pics to degrade?
posted by keswick at 1:31 PM on July 16, 2004

Resaving jpegs isn't so bad if you can control the compression rate. Resaving it at 100% is an ok thing to do; I'd still keep a copy of the original if you think you might want it.
posted by o2b at 1:42 PM on July 16, 2004

I like to use Irfanview because it's nice and simple and easy on the system.
posted by inviolable at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2004

Resaving JPEGs will degrade your pictures if the image data is re-compressed. Adding tags to the EXIF or JFIF header won't re-compress the image data, unless the programmers are totally braindead, and I hope that isn't the case at Google or Adobe. Opening a file in Photoshop or PaintShop Pro and re-saving it, whether you've altered it or not, will result in re-compression.

One neat thing about JPEG is that rotating them can be 100% lossless. ACDSee does it this way. The image viewing program in Windows XP does not, from what I remember.
posted by zsazsa at 2:16 PM on July 16, 2004

Photoshop Album does as well. It's a tricky thing to get right, since they also need to rotate the thumbnail and reset the EXIF orientation byte (originally set by Canon and other cameras).
posted by smackfu at 2:38 PM on July 16, 2004

Both Picasa and Adobe Album say they never touch your original pics and any adjustments are done on copies.
posted by cairnish at 3:42 PM on July 16, 2004

So pics end up taking twice the HD space?
posted by keswick at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2004

Edited ones, presumably.
posted by cairnish at 4:05 PM on July 16, 2004

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