After a recent trip, I am again faced with the task of organising, viewing, and showing the pictures accumulated. For the organisation during the trip, I just used ACDSee via BootCamp and/or Parallels. But that's no good. I want to be finished with Windows! (Though I still have the issue of Winamp being superior to iTunes, but I have accepted that, at least for the time being...)
I have already expressed my displeasure with iPhoto. I like the slideshows (because of the automatic Ken Burns Effect), and it does look pretty, but I absolutely hate the way it tries to organise everything for you, and everything must be imported. I keep most all data on the network attached storage, and I have definitely gotten fed up with the way most Macintosh software wants everything to be on your local drive. It is faster, but that's not as secure and lacks central organisation.
The problem with Apple's products (Aperture and iPhoto) is that they all want to bring all your pictures onto your local drive, and at the very least create large database files on your local drive. This is so that they perform their pretty functions quickly, but ACDSee can somehow manage to access everything on a network drive with comparatively stunning speed.
The problem with basically every other programme is just that. They are far too slow to be useful. I have tested several more programmes and will relate my experiences.
1. FFView - The website said it was meant for viewing comics, but I could never get it to view anything! It also had an odd voice command module that comes up when you start it and of which you cannot rid yourself.
2. Graphic Converter - It looked so promising! It had a very similar layout to ACDSee, and looked liked it would be wonderful! It worked pretty well on the local drive, but every time that I try to browse a network drive with it, or open a picture from a network drive, it freezes and you have to Force Quit the programme to terminate it.
3. iView Media Pro - I saw many favourable reviews of this product in forums, but all were concerned with the product prior to it's aquisition by Microsoft. When I downloaded it and began to ran it, it appeared to be indexing everything you view! Unacceptable!
4. JView - This one is just lacking. It doesn't have a browser feature (it will only display individual pictures, i.e. a replacement for Preview) and it is very slow to access the pictures off the network drive.
5. Photo Mechanic - Another programme that looked promising, but disappointed. It has the browser feature, but doesn't appear to have any editing features. It also was just too slow. Plain and simple.
6. Picture Arena - I have already spoken briefly on this one, and I must say, I think it is the best of all the others I have tried. It has the browser, but it does lack editing. However, at this point I would almost be willing to accept this lack of feature, but it is still too slow. I believe it is faster than the other programmes (for the most part), but still quite a bit slower than ACDSee.
7. QPict - Another indexer. It tries to imitate iPhoto, which I certainly don't like.
8. Xee - I think this may be the fastest viewer I tried, but it is still slow! It also has no browsing feature; it is just for viewing. Another Preview alternative.
Just for the heck of it, I will throw in...
9. Preview - No browsing feature, and it loads pictures far too slowly.
10. Gimp - An editing programme, not a browser or viewer. It also irks me that it must run through X11 and you have to manually start X11 before you can start Gimp.
11. Aperture - Again with the databasing, it is also pricey.
To be fair, most of the pictures I am trying to view are rather large, from a Nikon D200 or D300, but even the pictures from smaller cameras like the Sony P10 or P200 load just as slowly in the programmes. The moral of this experience is, ACD Systems, please, please, PLEASE make a Mac version of ACDSee! You did once before (though I heard mixed reviews of it), give it another go. The Macintosh community is growing. The time has come.
Quick Note: I feel I should mention that I am running ACDSee 7.0. I have not tried the newer versions. However, I have seen some grumbling in the forums about ACDSee becoming more bloated in recent versions, but I cannot personally attest to this.