IMatch 5 available... brief review...

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
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fuego6
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IMatch 5 available... brief review...
5 months ago

Hi.. thought I'd do a brief review of IMatch 5 now that it has (FINALLY) been released. After what seems like 20 years (probably only 3), Imatch 5 is now available as a Demo and for purchase.

I like to think of IMatch as a "hardcore" DAM suitable for those photographers that like to get "down and dirty" with their metadata. While the everyday home photographer will get benefit from it, I feel it is geared to a very specific audience - and with a price tag above even Lightroom - I believe only a select group of users will truly make this purchase. The software is brimming with details, options and automation that puts many so called "photo organizers" to shame... even the best products that I use have many gaps and holes that IMatch seems to fill.

Having said all that - I will admit to really liking this new version. While the "core" ideas have been kept from older versions, the UI has been given a much needed overhaul and feel modern and fast.

For the tinkerer - you'll be pleased to find that you can customize just about EVERYTHING in the software... from colors, to fonts, to workspaces and beyond. Add in a robust scripting engine and anyone who values detailed software will be pleased.

I took the software for a spin with 1000 images... the majority contained metadata from a variety of other software I use (Idimager, LR, ACDSee Pro). Some, had already established GEO data as well.

In general, the software performed really well - hierarchical keywords were read in and correctly displayed. Assigning keywords was relatively easy via the Keyword panel though there are a few enhancements that I hope make it into a future version (keyword sets for example).

Finding images is a bit convoluted with the "Filter Panel" - not sure why a simple google style search box wasn't used instead (Idimager's Photo Supreme excels here) - but once you get used to it, again - there is power upon power for the super user.

Catalog and Image data is kept in sync remarkably well and turning on the auto synching option seemed to work flawlessly - this feature is something I wish worked well in other programs - most either don't offer auto-syncing or it is a hit or miss operation that can be quite slow. IMatch seems to handle catalog edits -> file edits very well and I didn't notice any errors from my testing.

The Help system had some real effort put into it - the program is very complex and with so many options - things can get very confusing. While there are tons of "hidden" options all over the place (Ctrl-Drag @Builder to create a new category for example - why no easy right click option?) - the help file does explain it all quite well if you take the time to read it.

There are a few bugs that I did find while testing... GPS reverse location doesn't seem to work and there are some auto-categories that are not updating correctly - but it seems all those years of closed alpha/beta testing has paid off because the rest of the program is pretty good.

The scripter is a powerful option that will let advanced users augment the program with their own scripts using the obscure "WinWrap Basic". Like Idimager however, I doubt very many users will be able to take advantage of it... documentation is needed that highlights all the methods and objects available and when to use them and while the sample scripts are helpful - they won't enable all but the most advanced user to participate. Even with knowledge of this language syntax - you need to have access and fully understand the catalog "pieces".... and this is not fully documented at this time.

I was surprised to not find any "social media" sharing options built into the program either. While there are export options for "email" and "html reports", the lack of some simple Flickr, Facebook and other options is a big omission and again points towards the power user rather than the home hobbyist. Also missing is any sort of "portfolio" option with online galleries... again, LR and Photo Supreme excel here allowing you to maintain your galleries right from your catalog and keep both in sync from a single source. Hopefully, these type of options will be added down the road.

So... to sum things up: Speed: A-, Power: A, GUI: B+, Help/User Guide/Forum: B, Price: C

For those users looking for power and then some, check out the Demo and see if this software will fit your workflow. I was surprised to see a price tag of over $100 for it... I think this is going to turn away all but the most hardcore DAM users as the feature set is just way overboard for the average photographer who just wants to tag, rate and share their photos. More impact could have been had with a $49 price point - while the software is good at what it does - it IS just an organizer after all (No editing options). I think they missed the mark - software is getting cheaper and cheaper these days and there are many other programs that are quite capable for a lot less (Photo Supreme, Daminion, ACDSee, Picasa, and even LR). Perhaps I am wrong and I do hope the software is successful because though it has taken a long time for this version to get out there... it is quite robust and I will think long and hard at spending quite a bit to own it. Also was happy to see a nice user forum which is something lacking these days... software needs forums to ask questions and share ideas and a lot of programs miss the mark here. I was surprised to see that you must OWN the software in order to participate in the forums though as a code is needed. So, there is no way to ask questions while in Demo mode which is very disappointing and surprising since this restriction wasn't there in the last version.

Anyway - I hope this quick look helps others.... please let me know if you have any questions I can answer and I'd love to hear your opinions as well. Sorry for the long post...  guess this wasn't really brief! 

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with IMatch... just a photographer who enjoys testing and using DAM software!

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