NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Started Aug 2, 2017 | Discussions
Diafine Forum Member • Posts: 96
NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution
1

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.

lightandaprayer Senior Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

This has been posted for a day already and no replies?  I guess that you need to add the terms "Lightroom" or "Aperture" to the title to grab the attention of people. . .

Thanks for the heads up about NeoFinder . I'm also going to read Beyond Lightroom: How one Mac power user found the Holy Grail of media asset management to see how the author used NeoFinder to solve his need for a powerful DAM solution.

I'm still using Aperture but I know that they day is coming when I will need to move to another solution. I'm really glad that I went with referenced masters when I initially configured my Aperture library. It should make moving to something like NeoFinder easier to do.

OP Diafine Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

lightandaprayer wrote:

This has been posted for a day already and no replies? I guess that you need to add the terms "Lightroom" or "Aperture" to the title to grab the attention of people. . .

Thanks for the heads up about NeoFinder . I'm also going to read Beyond Lightroom: How one Mac power user found the Holy Grail of media asset management to see how the author used NeoFinder to solve his need for a powerful DAM solution.

I'm still using Aperture but I know that they day is coming when I will need to move to another solution. I'm really glad that I went with referenced masters when I initially configured my Aperture library. It should make moving to something like NeoFinder easier to do.

Maybe if I had said "An Aperture replacement that isn't Lightroom" it would have gotten more attention!

I've been using NeoFinder all day today, and it's a comfortable environment to work in. I still don't like the need to force an update of a catalog to show added or changed files. The key is to break your entire library down into catalog divisions, and only update the catalog you're working on (learned that from their tutorials.) 
Since I have work segregated by year, that makes a natural and handy way to add catalogs into the database.

I do miss versions/stacks, though.

lightandaprayer Senior Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Diafine wrote:

lightandaprayer wrote:

This has been posted for a day already and no replies? I guess that you need to add the terms "Lightroom" or "Aperture" to the title to grab the attention of people. . .

Thanks for the heads up about NeoFinder . I'm also going to read Beyond Lightroom: How one Mac power user found the Holy Grail of media asset management to see how the author used NeoFinder to solve his need for a powerful DAM solution.

I'm still using Aperture but I know that they day is coming when I will need to move to another solution. I'm really glad that I went with referenced masters when I initially configured my Aperture library. It should make moving to something like NeoFinder easier to do.

Maybe if I had said "An Aperture replacement that isn't Lightroom" it would have gotten more attention!

You got it!  Too bad it's too late to edit the topic!

I've been using NeoFinder all day today, and it's a comfortable environment to work in. I still don't like the need to force an update of a catalog to show added or changed files. The key is to break your entire library down into catalog divisions, and only update the catalog you're working on (learned that from their tutorials.)
Since I have work segregated by year, that makes a natural and handy way to add catalogs into the database.

I do miss versions/stacks, though.

You should send the developer a feature request re those catalog updates. It shouldn't be hard to accomplish. Heck, I would mention versions/stack too. . . You have nothing to lose. I always say "If you don't ask, you don't get." It works more than people think it does. . .

OP Diafine Forum Member • Posts: 96
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution
1

lightandaprayer wrote:

Diafine wrote:I've been using NeoFinder all day today, and it's a comfortable environment to work in. I still don't like the need to force an update of a catalog to show added or changed files. The key is to break your entire library down into catalog divisions, and only update the catalog you're working on (learned that from their tutorials.)

Since I have work segregated by year, that makes a natural and handy way to add catalogs into the database.

I do miss versions/stacks, though.

You should send the developer a feature request re those catalog updates. It shouldn't be hard to accomplish. Heck, I would mention versions/stack too. . . You have nothing to lose. I always say "If you don't ask, you don't get." It works more than people think it does. . .

I plan to!

myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Diafine wrote:

I do miss versions/stacks, though.

You should send the developer a feature request re those catalog updates. It shouldn't be hard to accomplish. Heck, I would mention versions/stack too. . . You have nothing to lose. I always say "If you don't ask, you don't get." It works more than people think it does. . .

I plan to!

The developer is very responsive to requests for help and suggestions for improvement.

And, as you said, a very good program.  It's simplicity hides how powerful it is.

Cheers,

Graham

robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 6,057
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution
1

I used Neofinder way back when I had to manage lotsa archived PDFs and .doc files on CDs (I suspect the multiple catalog structure is a holdover from the days when we had boxes of CDs). It was nice (we moved to Devonthink instead though). So, curious, I fired it back up, and while I'm impressed you can actually edit photo metadata, it's very meh as a replacement for Aperture, Lr or Photos. . You can't even move stuff about, maybe because of that history of CD storage. Frankly other than previews for offline images, I couldn't see that it would be that helpful over any of a whole mess of Finder alternatives (and there are other cataloguers, like Tri-Edre's, but it's more expensive, although I think it does more).

If it works for your workflow, great. But I don't think it's gonna woo over many users of more photo-centric DAMs.

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myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

robgendreau wrote:

Frankly other than previews for offline images, I couldn't see that it would be that helpful over any of a whole mess of Finder alternatives (and there are other cataloguers, like Tri-Edre's, but it's more expensive, although I think it does more).

If it works for your workflow, great. But I don't think it's gonna woo over many users of more photo-centric DAMs.

I am interested in what finder alternatives offer cataloging, and what you have identified that Tri-edre does that Neofinder doesn't.  It's not that clear from the manual what the Tri-edre  database does.

I realise I will need to download the trial, but it would be useful to hear where you see as its advantages.

Thanks,

Graham

lightandaprayer Senior Member • Posts: 3,082
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

robgendreau wrote:

I used Neofinder way back when I had to manage lotsa archived PDFs and .doc files on CDs (I suspect the multiple catalog structure is a holdover from the days when we had boxes of CDs). It was nice (we moved to Devonthink instead though). So, curious, I fired it back up, and while I'm impressed you can actually edit photo metadata, it's very meh as a replacement for Aperture, Lr or Photos. . You can't even move stuff about, maybe because of that history of CD storage. Frankly other than previews for offline images, I couldn't see that it would be that helpful over any of a whole mess of Finder alternatives (and there are other cataloguers, like Tri-Edre's, but it's more expensive, although I think it does more).

If it works for your workflow, great. But I don't think it's gonna woo over many users of more photo-centric DAMs.

Rob, what do you think about using DevonThink as a basic DAM?   It obviously won't have all the features of even something like Photos. But how about for someone like me who already has their Aperture images as referenced masters, stored as a basic Finder folder structure on an external drive?

I already use DT for all kinds of files. . . I know some people who use it instead of the Finder to manage files.  It's a very powerful piece of software, as you already know.

Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,988
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

lightandaprayer wrote:

I've been using NeoFinder all day today, and it's a comfortable environment to work in. I still don't like the need to force an update of a catalog to show added or changed files. The key is to break your entire library down into catalog divisions, and only update the catalog you're working on (learned that from their tutorials.)
Since I have work segregated by year, that makes a natural and handy way to add catalogs into the database.

I do miss versions/stacks, though.

You should send the developer a feature request re those catalog updates. It shouldn't be hard to accomplish. Heck, I would mention versions/stack too. . . You have nothing to lose. I always say "If you don't ask, you don't get." It works more than people think it does. . .

Had a look at that myself, but I agree with others here, it's too general, and not photo specific enough I think. Of course I'm used to the fully integrated and managed Photos library system.

NeoFinder certainly could be a promising alternative for those still preferring a more manual setup. However, it seems to me that there are still far better offering, and for similar costs.

It offers a link to GraphicConverter, for example, so as to be able to create better quality previews and thumbnails, but when I tried it out, the function did nothing at all (GC launched, but no image was transferred).

On that note, it seems apparent that for similar money to NeoFinder, GraphicConverter actually offers a far more complete solution for managing and editing images.

It has similar Finder folder based management to most other software, and can access Photos, iPhoto and Aperture libraries directly, can edit Raw non-destructively, convert to a plethora of formats, and may even cover the OPs need for vector image support (it imports just about every known image format that has ever been, from Sinclair and Atari native formats, to weird proprietary application formats, and to the latest iPhone raw formats).

There is an almost endless list of tools and functions on offer for what is a ridiculously low price.

Personally, I'd be looking towards that instead (nothing against NeoFinder per se'), if you don't want (or can't use) one of the more common DAMs.

https://www.lemkesoft.de/en/products/graphicconverter/key-features/

To be honest, I'm pretty close to doing that myself, if it wasn't for the amount of time and effort already invested in my Photos library.

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myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Andy Hewitt wrote:

However, it seems to me that there are still far better offering, and for similar costs.

Such as what? Tri-catalog suggested earlier is a considerably more expensive, and I still have't worked out what it does, and Graphic Convertor just has  browser tools.

It offers a link to GraphicConverter, for example, so as to be able to create better quality previews and thumbnails, but when I tried it out, the function did nothing at all (GC launched, but no image was transferred).

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

On that note, it seems apparent that for similar money to NeoFinder, GraphicConverter actually offers a far more complete solution for managing and editing images.

Not sure how this can be a more complete solution when GraphicCoverter (unless I am just missing them) doesn't offer core DAM features such as indexing, smart albums etc.

Personally, I'd be looking towards that instead (nothing against NeoFinder per se'), if you don't want (or can't use) one of the more common DAMs.

There aren't that many DAMs about to choose from, and as an aside the latest version of NeoFinder can index Capture One library files (not tried it yet) which is one up on Phase One's own DAM (Media Pro) which cannot integrate with Capture One Libraries in any way.

I guess I must just be looking for something different from everyone else in a DAM, as I am finding NeoFinder to do pretty well everything I want, for a very low price, and I would have thought an ideal companion to an editor that didn't offer any DAM features of its own. As such Neofinder AND GraphicsConverter would seem a useful pairing, but I can't see how GraphicsConverter is an alternative to NeoFinder.

Cheers,

Graham

robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 6,057
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

myotisone wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

However, it seems to me that there are still far better offering, and for similar costs.

Such as what? Tri-catalog suggested earlier is a considerably more expensive, and I still have't worked out what it does, and Graphic Convertor just has browser tools.

Tri-Catalog is like Neofinder in that it indexes other volumes, and creates previews of the image files (that's kinda like what Aperture etc do too). You have more control over preview size and IIRC it has some other more advanced features.

If you haven't tried it, Adobe Bridge is a great organizer. For free. And XnviewMP. And Lyn. And so on. Yeah, they're browsers, but unless you have offline images you need to catalog they work better than Neofinder.

On that note, it seems apparent that for similar money to NeoFinder, GraphicConverter actually offers a far more complete solution for managing and editing images.

Not sure how this can be a more complete solution when GraphicCoverter (unless I am just missing them) doesn't offer core DAM features such as indexing, smart albums etc.

You can manage your digital assets with a browser-type application as well as one like Neofinder. Neofinder has very few management tools. It does make previews of indexed files, but unless you've gotta lot of offline media that doesn't really help much. At least with GC and other you can move files, do more metadata manipulation, convert, export, edit non-destructively, adjust, use different RAW development than Apples, and on and on and on.

But no, it doesn't do albums. But you can search/filter by keywords, exif, and all sorts of other criteria, and then save those searches, so they act like smart albums.

Personally, I'd be looking towards that instead (nothing against NeoFinder per se'), if you don't want (or can't use) one of the more common DAMs.

There aren't that many DAMs about to choose from, and as an aside the latest version of NeoFinder can index Capture One library files (not tried it yet) which is one up on Phase One's own DAM (Media Pro) which cannot integrate with Capture One Libraries in any way.

I guess I must just be looking for something different from everyone else in a DAM, as I am finding NeoFinder to do pretty well everything I want, for a very low price, and I would have thought an ideal companion to an editor that didn't offer any DAM features of its own. As such Neofinder AND GraphicsConverter would seem a useful pairing, but I can't see how GraphicsConverter is an alternative to NeoFinder.

Hey, if it does what you want, great. Problem solved. Most people need a lot more, or at least don't wanna pay for something that doesn't have the features they need and want. In fact, I still haven't seen what Neofinder can do that Photos can't for free, other than edit more of the metadata.

I once had hopes I could use something like Neofinder to do this but as my needs increased I found I needed more tools. Someone asked about Devonthink, and I love that application. We used it extensively for a whole document system at work. But it kinda stinks with photos, except for just making them accessible by indexing or cataloguing them. That's mostly because it doesn't show exif or IPTC easily, nor can you edit that info. Pity.

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Hans de Zomers Regular Member • Posts: 326
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

I have 200+k photos in my Photosupreme catalog and it's still fast. Maybe you didn't ever compact the catalog? Try Tools/Catalog from the main menu

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myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

robgendreau wrote:

Such as what? Tri-catalog suggested earlier is a considerably more expensive, and I still have't worked out what it does, and Graphic Convertor just has browser tools.

Tri-Catalog is like Neofinder in that it indexes other volumes, and creates previews of the image files (that's kinda like what Aperture etc do too). You have more control over preview size and IIRC it has some other more advanced features.

If you haven't tried it, Adobe Bridge is a great organizer. For free. And XnviewMP. And Lyn. And so on. Yeah, they're browsers, but unless you have offline images you need to catalog they work better than Neofinder.

Thanks for this,  I obviously need to look at this again, and think in more detail at what I want/need. I am primarily looking for a Global cataloging solution to supplement my Capture One catalogues that are built on yearly basis. I currently use Media Pro for this, but for various reasons I am a unhappy with it, and for various other reasons I am very pleased with it, but I don't see it as a long term solution.

I have tried browser based options in the past,  but found them slow to search because of the lack of indexing and slow to preview as they don't build their own catalogue of large format previews.

I actually use Bridge as a browser on occasions, and used XnView for years when I used to use Windows.  Lyn I had heard of, but never looked at it.  I did try Fotostation, which is a kind of a half way house as it indexes metadata, but other than that acts as a browser and builds previews as you work. It was unusably slow  on my Mac, but had a lot of nice features.

I will have a look at the options you suggest, including investigating Bridge in more detail and see how well they work for me.

Thanks,

Graham

myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Hans de Zomers wrote:

I have 200+k photos in my Photosupreme catalog and it's still fast. Maybe you didn't ever compact the catalog? Try Tools/Catalog from the main menu

I had the similar issues as Diafine, slow scrolling through of thumbnails.

This was when I was comparing it with Media Pro. Thumbnail rendering was instant in Media Pro and I could scroll through thousands of images without thinking about it but I had to keep stopping to let Photo Supreme to catch up.

Same set of photographs in both programs, and newly created databases in both.

I don't think my experience was as bad as Diafine's, as Photo Supreme would have been acceptable, if a bit annoying,  if I didn't have Media Pro as direct comparison.

Cheers,

Graham

Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,988
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

myotisone wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

However, it seems to me that there are still far better offering, and for similar costs.

Such as what? Tri-catalog suggested earlier is a considerably more expensive, and I still have't worked out what it does, and Graphic Convertor just has browser tools.

As a photo DAM, there are lots of options - Lightroom, PhotoMechanic, Lyn, Lightzone, RawTherapee, darktable, DxO, OnOne, CaptureOne, Photos, Bridge, and so on.

Most of these, although not necessarily all DAMs in the strictest sense, do offer much more than simple folder browsing functions, most offer at least rating, tagging/keywording and some EXIF editing.

GraphicConverter is way more than just a browser. I'd suggest having a try, and a look in the manual before making such claims.

It offers a link to GraphicConverter, for example, so as to be able to create better quality previews and thumbnails, but when I tried it out, the function did nothing at all (GC launched, but no image was transferred).

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

I found it almost immediately.

On that note, it seems apparent that for similar money to NeoFinder, GraphicConverter actually offers a far more complete solution for managing and editing images.

Not sure how this can be a more complete solution when GraphicCoverter (unless I am just missing them) doesn't offer core DAM features such as indexing, smart albums etc.

To be fair, there's a fair mix of such functions throughout all the options available, however, they do all appear to have something that enables similar features. Even just plain Finder can manage some basic sorting and searching tools, and even some Smart features if you so wish.

GraphicConverter can also use sidecar files, and non-destructive versions too.

Personally, I'd be looking towards that instead (nothing against NeoFinder per se'), if you don't want (or can't use) one of the more common DAMs.

There aren't that many DAMs about to choose from, and as an aside the latest version of NeoFinder can index Capture One library files (not tried it yet) which is one up on Phase One's own DAM (Media Pro) which cannot integrate with Capture One Libraries in any way.

As pure DAMs go, you're not far off I suppose, but softwares that offer the ability to manipulate, organise, search tag, edit, and output to various destinations, there are plenty of options. A lot depends on how much automation you desire, or whether you prefer a more hands-on approach to organising.

I guess I must just be looking for something different from everyone else in a DAM, as I am finding NeoFinder to do pretty well everything I want, for a very low price, and I would have thought an ideal companion to an editor that didn't offer any DAM features of its own. As such Neofinder AND GraphicsConverter would seem a useful pairing, but I can't see how GraphicsConverter is an alternative to NeoFinder.

That's fine. I was of course only adding my own comments, and my own preferences. Personally I look at the entire 'workflow', and mucking about with separate apps is not a way I want to operate. I do like the single DAM approach, although I do use Photos Extensions when needed, but any editing done with those is neatly handled internally in Photos.

Depending on how you prefer to work, and your needs, of course there are many pros and cons to whether you use a full DAM, and its proprietary database, or whether you use a more open method of managing your image files.

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myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Thanks Andy, as you will have gathered I have not really thought through the browser options or capabilities. The core of what makes a DAM a DAM, for me, is the index/cataloguing tools.

As a photo DAM, there are lots of options - Lightroom, PhotoMechanic, Lyn, Lightzone, RawTherapee, darktable, DxO, OnOne, CaptureOne, Photos, Bridge, and so on.

Most of these, although not necessarily all DAMs in the strictest sense, do offer much more than simple folder browsing functions, most offer at least rating, tagging/keywording and some EXIF editing.

I use PhotoMechanic a few times every week for file ingestion, manipulation, key wording, and i love the program, but it isn't any use as a DAM. In terms of photographs, I am actually happy with the idea that LR and Capture One qualify as DAMs, but not DXO, and I don't know about the others

GraphicConverter is way more than just a browser. I'd suggest having a try, and a look in the manual before making such claims.

OK, I admit I hadn't realised the GraphicConverter could save searches, which dramatically increases it's usefulness, but I'm not sure how this lifts it much above being "just a browser". I haven't used it at all for a long time (not upgraded beyond V9) so I will have a look at what "advanced" browsing features it offers. I've only ever used it for file conversions and quick edits,

It offers a link to GraphicConverter, for example, so as to be able to create better quality previews and thumbnails, but when I tried it out, the function did nothing at all (GC launched, but no image was transferred).

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

I found it almost immediately.

I still can't find this

I guess I must just be looking for something different from everyone else in a DAM, as I am finding NeoFinder to do pretty well everything I want, for a very low price, and I would have thought an ideal companion to an editor that didn't offer any DAM features of its own. As such Neofinder AND GraphicsConverter would seem a useful pairing, but I can't see how GraphicsConverter is an alternative to NeoFinder.

That's fine. I was of course only adding my own comments, and my own preferences. Personally I look at the entire 'workflow', and mucking about with separate apps is not a way I want to operate. I do like the single DAM approach, although I do use Photos Extensions when needed, but any editing done with those is neatly handled internally in Photos.

Depending on how you prefer to work, and your needs, of course there are many pros and cons to whether you use a full DAM, and its proprietary database, or whether you use a more open method of managing your image files.

When you say a "single" DAM approach, I assume you mean editors/raw converters with a built in DAM, which is obviously ideal. but I don't think that is what this discussion is about, as its based on using NeoFinder for editors that don't have a DAM. Or for me personally, with Capture One, using NeoFinder as a global DAM to integrate managing files across multiple Capture One catalogues.

In terms of workflow, sluggish computers over the years have driven me down a multiple program approach. I've use Lightroom since version 1, and always found it slow. Which led me down the route of firstly PhotoMechanic for file ingestion, browsing etc, and then to what was iView media (now Media Pro) as a DAM. As my computers improved, Lightroom became a bit more useable, but was still uncomfortably slow compared to PhotoMechanic and Media Pro.

Although, Capture one (which I now use instead of LR) now also has DAM features, its still a bit clunky, but OK. However, I am still looking at an external DAM as well. Media Pro now has its own problems as its little changed from the program it was 10 years ago, or there abouts, when it was bought by Microsoft and then Phase One, with neither of them adding much improvement or updates.

My experience with Photo Mechanic which uses a Browser approach had made me dismiss other programs that took a similar approach as being suitable as a DAM (confirmed by my FotoStation trial), but after this thread I may revisit this. So this has been a useful conversation, thanks.

Graham

Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,988
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

myotisone wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

Thanks Andy, as you will have gathered I have not really thought through the browser options or capabilities. The core of what makes a DAM a DAM, for me, is the index/cataloguing tools.

I couldn't disagree with you there, for sure the requirement of any management tool is to be able to organise and find things quickly.

As a photo DAM, there are lots of options - Lightroom, PhotoMechanic, Lyn, Lightzone, RawTherapee, darktable, DxO, OnOne, CaptureOne, Photos, Bridge, and so on.

Most of these, although not necessarily all DAMs in the strictest sense, do offer much more than simple folder browsing functions, most offer at least rating, tagging/keywording and some EXIF editing.

I use PhotoMechanic a few times every week for file ingestion, manipulation, key wording, and i love the program, but it isn't any use as a DAM. In terms of photographs, I am actually happy with the idea that LR and Capture One qualify as DAMs, but not DXO, and I don't know about the others

For sure, there are DAMs, image editors, and image editors with some DAM functions, and variations in between.

GraphicConverter is way more than just a browser. I'd suggest having a try, and a look in the manual before making such claims.

OK, I admit I hadn't realised the GraphicConverter could save searches, which dramatically increases it's usefulness, but I'm not sure how this lifts it much above being "just a browser". I haven't used it at all for a long time (not upgraded beyond V9) so I will have a look at what "advanced" browsing features it offers. I've only ever used it for file conversions and quick edits.

It offers a link to GraphicConverter, for example, so as to be able to create better quality previews and thumbnails, but when I tried it out, the function did nothing at all (GC launched, but no image was transferred).

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

I found it almost immediately.

I still can't find this

I have since deleted NeoFinder, having found it of little use to me, so can't recall exactly how I did it, but I seem to remember it being a quickly found item that said something like 'create previews in GraphicConverter'. I selected it, GC launched, but nothing else happened (tried it a couple of times).

I guess I must just be looking for something different from everyone else in a DAM, as I am finding NeoFinder to do pretty well everything I want, for a very low price, and I would have thought an ideal companion to an editor that didn't offer any DAM features of its own. As such Neofinder AND GraphicsConverter would seem a useful pairing, but I can't see how GraphicsConverter is an alternative to NeoFinder.

That's fine. I was of course only adding my own comments, and my own preferences. Personally I look at the entire 'workflow', and mucking about with separate apps is not a way I want to operate. I do like the single DAM approach, although I do use Photos Extensions when needed, but any editing done with those is neatly handled internally in Photos.

Depending on how you prefer to work, and your needs, of course there are many pros and cons to whether you use a full DAM, and its proprietary database, or whether you use a more open method of managing your image files.

When you say a "single" DAM approach, I assume you mean editors/raw converters with a built in DAM, which is obviously ideal.

Yes.

but I don't think that is what this discussion is about, as its based on using NeoFinder for editors that don't have a DAM. Or for me personally, with Capture One, using NeoFinder as a global DAM to integrate managing files across multiple Capture One catalogues.

Capture one and Photo Mechanic have always been a bit pricey for my budget (and excessive for my needs).

I understand regarding NeoFinder as a DAM for standalone editors. It's certainly a process I have considered, and did use when I very first started with digital photography (before iPhoto and Aperture existed in fact).

I also fully appreciate the reasons behind using separate DAMs and editors, with the desire to keep edits and management in a more flexible and future proof setup - although the DAM part of that is inherently going to be closed into a proprietary database at some point.

There are some suggested solutions that are less than perfect, for example xml and DNG files. But, although they are a 'standard' file format, the contents of them are not standardised.

The only truly future proof system is going to be a standard Finder folder structure, with a manual method of filing master images with edited versions. This of course leaves a full trail of edits, and all images are available to any application than needs them.

However, that does of course leave you with only unadjusted master images, and fixed output image files (be it TIFF, JPEG or whatever). You lose any kind of non-destructive workflow - some apps can offer non-destructive edits, but only as proprietary files (Graphic Converter and Luminar, for example, save TIFF than can be re-edited, but they contain proprietary data unique to each app).

In terms of workflow, sluggish computers over the years have driven me down a multiple program approach. I've use Lightroom since version 1, and always found it slow. Which led me down the route of firstly PhotoMechanic for file ingestion, browsing etc, and then to what was iView media (now Media Pro) as a DAM. As my computers improved, Lightroom became a bit more useable, but was still uncomfortably slow compared to PhotoMechanic and Media Pro.

Lightroom is pretty poor here too, I have v6, and in the main it's OK, apart from it takes an eon to load up, and browsing through images is just painfully slow.

Although, Capture one (which I now use instead of LR) now also has DAM features, its still a bit clunky, but OK. However, I am still looking at an external DAM as well. Media Pro now has its own problems as its little changed from the program it was 10 years ago, or there abouts, when it was bought by Microsoft and then Phase One, with neither of them adding much improvement or updates.

My experience with Photo Mechanic which uses a Browser approach had made me dismiss other programs that took a similar approach as being suitable as a DAM (confirmed by my FotoStation trial), but after this thread I may revisit this. So this has been a useful conversation, thanks.

I just decided to ditch everything and stick with Photos, and a good set of extensions. It's not perfect for sure, but then I can't came up with a solution that is. This just seems to tick the most boxes for me - I need HomeSharing to work, as I don't use any cloud storage as a main method of viewing and sharing my images (I do use my iCloud account for a handful of recent images, but my main collections are viewed at home, or I send sets of images to individuals as required). One way or another, I will need to get images into Photos at some point, so I just decided to work with it as my main DAM and editor.

Of course some of this might detract from the original posting subject, but to a great extent I think it's all relevant, as it's all about how we manage and edit our photo collections.

Nonetheless, likewise, I found this discussion useful and interesting, as it do tend to at least try out alternative solutions, out of interest if nothing else.

Cheers.

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Andy Hewitt

 Andy Hewitt's gear list:Andy Hewitt's gear list
Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II +6 more
myotisone Senior Member • Posts: 1,905
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

Andy Hewitt wrote:

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

I found it almost immediately.

I still can't find this

I have since deleted NeoFinder, having found it of little use to me, so can't recall exactly how I did it, but I seem to remember it being a quickly found item that said something like 'create previews in GraphicConverter'. I selected it, GC launched, but nothing else happened (tried it a couple of times).

I suspect this might have been changed, as there is now simply an option in preferences to choose the preview size. And it would seem there have been a lot of changes in the program recently.

Capture one and Photo Mechanic have always been a bit pricey for my budget (and excessive for my needs).

Yes, they are pricey, and not sure if I could afford them now, but I can keep up with the upgrades

I understand regarding NeoFinder as a DAM for standalone editors. It's certainly a process I have considered, and did use when I very first started with digital photography (before iPhoto and Aperture existed in fact).

I also fully appreciate the reasons behind using separate DAMs and editors, with the desire to keep edits and management in a more flexible and future proof setup - although the DAM part of that is inherently going to be closed into a proprietary database at some point.

There are some suggested solutions that are less than perfect, for example xml and DNG files. But, although they are a 'standard' file format, the contents of them are not standardised.

Fortunately, I have always used XMP sidecar files and referenced databases, rather than managed, regardless of the programs I have been using (which actually made Neofinder a non starter for me until recently when it added full XMP integration and editing).

The only truly future proof system is going to be a standard Finder folder structure, with a manual method of filing master images with edited versions. This of course leaves a full trail of edits, and all images are available to any application than needs them.

However, that does of course leave you with only unadjusted master images, and fixed output image files (be it TIFF, JPEG or whatever). You lose any kind of non-destructive workflow - some apps can offer non-destructive edits, but only as proprietary files (Graphic Converter and Luminar, for example, save TIFF than can be re-edited, but they contain proprietary data unique to each app).

Maybe because I come from the days of darkrooms and negatives, I don't see this as being a massive problem, as long as I have a reference final copy.  With film negatives you always needed to start from scratch. For my personal photography, however, I don't think I would ever want to re-edit an image I produced earlier, and would alway want to start from scratch.

If I was still a professional photographer, it would be different, as clients could reasonably expect a print produced today, should match the one they bought 6 months ago, or if they come back and say they are happy with a print, but would like a minor change made, it obviously makes sense to be able to re-edit the original. But

I just decided to ditch everything and stick with Photos, and a good set of extensions. It's not perfect for sure, but then I can't came up with a solution that is. This just seems to tick the most boxes for me - I need HomeSharing to work, as I don't use any cloud storage as a main method of viewing and sharing my images (I do use my iCloud account for a handful of recent images, but my main collections are viewed at home, or I send sets of images to individuals as required). One way or another, I will need to get images into Photos at some point, so I just decided to work with it as my main DAM and editor.

I have rather ignored Photos, but I do keep thinking it would be useful to get to grips with, given its integration with so many other things.  And as its on my laptop, which isn't powerful enough for Capture One.

Of course some of this might detract from the original posting subject, but to a great extent I think it's all relevant, as it's all about how we manage and edit our photo collections.

Nonetheless, likewise, I found this discussion useful and interesting, as it do tend to at least try out alternative solutions, out of interest if nothing else.

Forum threads often go a little astray, and often into things of no relevance to anything photographic, and at least as you say, this is still all relevant and useful to thinking about how to  manage images.

Cheers,

Graham

Andy Hewitt Veteran Member • Posts: 3,988
Re: NeoFinder turns out to be a great DAM solution

myotisone wrote:

Andy Hewitt wrote:

I haven't noticed this function, but I can choose preview and thumbnail quality in the preferences and I can open files in GraphicsConverter from a thumbnail or preview in NeoFinder by right clicking on it.

I found it almost immediately.

I still can't find this

I have since deleted NeoFinder, having found it of little use to me, so can't recall exactly how I did it, but I seem to remember it being a quickly found item that said something like 'create previews in GraphicConverter'. I selected it, GC launched, but nothing else happened (tried it a couple of times).

I suspect this might have been changed, as there is now simply an option in preferences to choose the preview size. And it would seem there have been a lot of changes in the program recently.

I only tried it yesterday - just reinstalled it, and it's in the contextual menu under 'Services'.

I saw the preview settings now, and they default to 128, which seems a bit too conservative these days.

Capture one and Photo Mechanic have always been a bit pricey for my budget (and excessive for my needs).

Yes, they are pricey, and not sure if I could afford them now, but I can keep up with the upgrades

I was the same with LR, having paid for it fully some years ago, then kept up with updates.

I understand regarding NeoFinder as a DAM for standalone editors. It's certainly a process I have considered, and did use when I very first started with digital photography (before iPhoto and Aperture existed in fact).

I also fully appreciate the reasons behind using separate DAMs and editors, with the desire to keep edits and management in a more flexible and future proof setup - although the DAM part of that is inherently going to be closed into a proprietary database at some point.

There are some suggested solutions that are less than perfect, for example xml and DNG files. But, although they are a 'standard' file format, the contents of them are not standardised.

Fortunately, I have always used XMP sidecar files and referenced databases, rather than managed, regardless of the programs I have been using (which actually made Neofinder a non starter for me until recently when it added full XMP integration and editing).

I've tried using them, but in LR they only seem to be useful if you use other Adobe software (there are some others with limited support, but not much).

The only truly future proof system is going to be a standard Finder folder structure, with a manual method of filing master images with edited versions. This of course leaves a full trail of edits, and all images are available to any application than needs them.

However, that does of course leave you with only unadjusted master images, and fixed output image files (be it TIFF, JPEG or whatever). You lose any kind of non-destructive workflow - some apps can offer non-destructive edits, but only as proprietary files (Graphic Converter and Luminar, for example, save TIFF than can be re-edited, but they contain proprietary data unique to each app).

Maybe because I come from the days of darkrooms and negatives, I don't see this as being a massive problem, as long as I have a reference final copy. With film negatives you always needed to start from scratch. For my personal photography, however, I don't think I would ever want to re-edit an image I produced earlier, and would alway want to start from scratch.

I never intend to, but sometimes I've found evolution in software has meant that a  lot of older photos can benefit from some tweaking.

If I was still a professional photographer, it would be different, as clients could reasonably expect a print produced today, should match the one they bought 6 months ago, or if they come back and say they are happy with a print, but would like a minor change made, it obviously makes sense to be able to re-edit the original. But

Aye, there are of course ways and means, I can also create a duplicate 'version' and just re-edit that, and keep the original edit intact. Or you can just keep creating new JPEGs (or whatever you output as on the final image).

I just decided to ditch everything and stick with Photos, and a good set of extensions. It's not perfect for sure, but then I can't came up with a solution that is. This just seems to tick the most boxes for me - I need HomeSharing to work, as I don't use any cloud storage as a main method of viewing and sharing my images (I do use my iCloud account for a handful of recent images, but my main collections are viewed at home, or I send sets of images to individuals as required). One way or another, I will need to get images into Photos at some point, so I just decided to work with it as my main DAM and editor.

I have rather ignored Photos, but I do keep thinking it would be useful to get to grips with, given its integration with so many other things. And as its on my laptop, which isn't powerful enough for Capture One.

It isn't for everyone of course, but IMHO it's not as bad as is sometimes believed either.

Of course some of this might detract from the original posting subject, but to a great extent I think it's all relevant, as it's all about how we manage and edit our photo collections.

Nonetheless, likewise, I found this discussion useful and interesting, as it do tend to at least try out alternative solutions, out of interest if nothing else.

Forum threads often go a little astray, and often into things of no relevance to anything photographic, and at least as you say, this is still all relevant and useful to thinking about how to manage images.

Indeed so, all of this here is either all of, or part of, management and editing images. If you want to maintain a full workflow process, you should include all parts of that process.

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Andy Hewitt

 Andy Hewitt's gear list:Andy Hewitt's gear list
Nikon D5100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II +6 more
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