Michael's article on image processing and cataloging software was timely, as I'm trying to decide what to do with my vast and growing catalog of images, and how to integrate the various programs that purport to help you make sense of it all. Opinions and experiences invited!
My workflow: 90% medium-format film, 10% digital RAW. The film gets scanned to TIFFs, the RAWs stay RAW, and all files are renamed, keyworded, and metadata-templated before or in Bridge. My filing system is largely keyword-based; all digitized images from any source are assigned date-based filenames so that I can see at a glance when they were shot, and relate the TIFF's to my filed film originals. (Aren't you all-digital people jealous?) It is more cumbersome to describe than to do it, and my output is small enough that this works fine for now w/o tying my hands against future expansion.
I had previously used Portfolio v.6/7 for cataloging before Bridge's advent; but it did not play well with Bridge (see below); and given that Bridge's interface is easier to use in some respects (while Portfolio is more powerful and faster on searches overall) I have not updated my Portfolio catalog in some time. It's time to decide whether to upgrade to Portfolio 8, to switch to iView Media Pro, or to just stick with Bridge.
Main problem I had had with Bridge and Portfolio in the past is that the .xmp sidecars produced by Bridge for RAW images weren't read properly in PF, and catalog data for RAWs generated in Portfolio weren't read by Bridge. Data imbedded in TIFFs is fine for the most part going either way; but for certain RAW data Portfolio, even v.8 (I have trial version) seems blind to certain metadata added by Bridge; and vice versa. I have also tried iView Media Pro 3, and it seems no better. Thus the latest versions of these two programs seem still not to be fully integrated with Bridge.
Not sure that Photo Mechanic would give me much at my production level that Bridge hasn't, so it's low on my buy list; but I would like a more capable overall image cataloging program than Bridge alone, for various reasons. Any thoughts/observations, especially about how iView Media Pro and Bridge get along with respect to RAW files, and whether iView 3 (ca $170 competitive upgrade) or Portfolio 8 ($99 upgr) might be a better choice. If anyone can see a role for Photo Mechanic in a setup like mine, I'd love to hear it. Thanks in advance for your input.
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