NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Started Aug 2, 2017 | Discussions thread
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Diafine Forum Member • Posts: 96
NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

A year or so ago I went on a quest to replace Aperture. While I loved the app (I was an early adopter, back in the days when it was several hundred dollars), as we all know it’s gotten long in the tooth. I was having issues with it (most of which were caused by the Apple TIFF debacle) and knew it was living on borrowed time.

At the same time, I had moved to using standalone apps for RAW development (DxOptics Pro) and image manipulation (Affinity Photo). DxO produced far better RAW development than Aperture ever did, and I got to the point that I could do more, faster, and with better results in Affinity Photo. As I got more comfortable with those packages, I found I was only using the DAM functions in Aperture. So, I went looking for a suitable replacement.

As I looked, I decided that I never wanted to go through this again. I wanted an “open source” solution, one which wasn’t tied to any particular app. In Aperture, for instance, all the non-destructive work I’d put into developing my images was lost going to any other application. The only way to do it was to output to TIFFs, but then again if I wanted to make a small change I had to start over with the RAW file.

Basing a DAM on the OS X file system and image metadata, plus a common image format, seemed to be the way to go.

I tried a number of products and initially settled on Photo Supreme. It seemed to do exactly what I wanted, but after putting my whole image catalog into it (and adding more every week) I discovered that PhSu really slowed down as the image count increased. Where Aperture (and most of the other replacements I auditioned) would scroll through the whole catalog quickly and easily, Photo Supreme just bogged. Scrolling through images was painfully slow as I waited for it to display thumbnails.

What’s more, I never really warmed up to the their interface. It’s not intuitive, and even after nearly a year’s use I still have to stop and think how to do common tasks. Some things were tedious, and sometimes it failed to import everything it was supposed to. Updating the library was a hit-and-miss affair. Its image editing features were useless to me and they no doubt contributed to the code bloat which slowed the app down.

Eventually I got frustrated and went looking at anything else I hadn’t yet tried. I found a few apps, but none of them were particularly good. Some of them were ridiculously expensive.

Then I ran across an article on ZDNet titled "Beyond Lightroom: How one Mac power user found the Holy Grail of media asset management”. The author was having some of the same issues I was (though coming from a completely different place) and he detailed his search for a good DAM.

The article introduced me to a product called NeoFinder, which I promptly downloaded. NeoFinder is a file cataloging application; it doesn’t care what the file is, it’ll catalog and organize it using common metadata and the OS X file system. It’s been around, continually updated, since 1995.

I’ve been running it hard for a couple of weeks now, and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s intuitive, fast, and handles everything — it even recognizes the native Affinity Photo and Designer files.

It’s not perfect (no software ever is); it doesn’t do versions/stacks like PS/Aperture did, for instance, and it doesn’t instantaneously update folders the way other apps do (you have to manually invoke an update routine, which takes a few minutes to run.) But those are minor quibbles, because everything else I need in a DAM is there and works very well. And, should they go out of business in a year, I've lost no functionality because all of the data is stored in the image files themselves.

It’s definitely worth far more than the measly $40 the author asks.

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