Yes a browser mode!! Thats it! simple and transparent!
Why is it ACDSee can make a SUPER fast browser, (AND they have in the past few versions added a Raw developer). So without the Catalog complexity, or even Sessions as an option, it should be no speed issue. right?
It hasn't slowed things down. In fact their database or "catalog" is hardly something you deal with. So you simply use it as you would a Windows Explorer on steroids, and super fast. I don't know if they use a sidecar, but I thought all raws have sidecars.
If many Love Sessions(the way sessions is now is much like Catalog, you STILL make a Session before you jump in!), it can be an OPTION to use. But not forced.
As soon as a software takes control in the way I work, and that to me is Catalog and even Sessions, it is a major let down.
I think I just have to work pretty much the way you describe. I have to plan to use the software, and shoot "around" it. This throws a wrench and isolates the way many people work.
But I don't see C1 making any shift away from this. Thats why I wish they would invest in the old 3.7 app and bring it up to snuff without all the extras. Just a browser with a developer. They can keep what they can, and do away with the Catalog and Sessions. Everyone is happy. C1 Pro v7, and a C1 Pro Shooter, or Pro Flex, or Pro Lite.
This is why I didn't want to use LR up until v3, as I saw the advantages....NOT OF THE Catalog features, just the developer and export features (text,watermark, sharp, etc automated). Has the cataloging made anything easier? No I am sure for many who have not thought about the way their images are structured on drives may love it, until it is corrupted, or they have an issue with it. But anyone with a good amount of content and those that give value to their images will have explored DAm, and (whats that book?) and figured a way to manage folders. It is the simplest, least resource dependent, and I think the safest and fastest way.
I do use Keywording, I would like to use it in my ACDSee app, but due to some metadata inconsistancy I also use LR.
Til now between IDImager, ACDSee, C1, LR, and even the OS, there seams to be no standard in the Rating (and likely other entries) to be recognized across the applications. I'm assuming ITPC and EXIF are the uniform standard and perhaps I have to make a Ratings of my own in one of the fields. But so inconvenient when browsing and making selects!
Search and filter I can do via dedicated DAM, so this is not a issue.
So now I need to have a THIRD METADATA info table to not see in other apps is just bonkers!
Thanks for putting things in perspective as I don't see C1 making such efforts to address what I mention above, so either I try and make my LR files just as good as C1, or deal with Sessions or Catalog redundancies in C1, along LR, along ACDSee.