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Author Topic : 4 Photo Managers Quick Review: Lightroom, ThumbsPlus, ACDSee, IdImage - Digital Asset 

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: Cheltenham
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Apr 30, 2005
Posts: 2031
Views : 3084  Feb 11, 2015 4:42am

OK, so I had been a user of ThumbsPlus for years and for the last 3 years I've been dedicated to ACDSee.   Like all of the DAM's listed, it catalogues your images, lets you add keywords, do general editing and file management.

But Lightroom made me have a re-think of what I was using DAM for, how it fitted in my workflow and so on.

So, firstly, here's the things I want a DAM to do:

1) Access my file system directly – not have a separate import catalogue

2) Let me preview, rate and select files very quickly

3) Carry out batch processing for resizing in particular, but other things too

4) Let me post direct to my blog, to FaceBook, to my website for client albums

5) Create effective slideshows and/or export to external slideshow creator

And I need it to work in the context of a typical shoot being between 500 – 2,000 images and nearly a Terabyte of image store.

So, I've been having a bit of a look at all of the likely contenders are here's where I've got to.  None of them do what I want, but some are closer than others.


OK, this was my long standing tool, so I'm very familiar with it.   It does (1-File System), (3-Batches) very well.  (2-Selection) is OK, but it doesn't support ranking.   It doesn't do any kind of external posting. Finally it fell behind the wayside in terms of editing functionality.


Fails at the first and second hurdles (File System and Fast Preview) completely for me.  I really want to like Lightroom, I recognise that the whole "Develop" thing is great.  But for me the tedious and clunky import and the really slow previews make this unusable for me.

If you don't get what I'm talking about, any of the other products you just open your file system and the catalogue is built while you watch – in seconds – then you can zap through previews at any size instantly.

Then finally there's the clunky export at the end.


I've been using ACDSee for 3 years now and is my firm favourite.  It deals directly with the file system, lets me preview and rate files quickly either by tag or by rating – I've been able to customise it to use the same keystrokes as other apps so my muscle-memory still works.

The batching doesn't quite do what I need – it has batch processes, but they don't offer the same flexibility and programmability of ThumbsPlus.

It does do some posting direct – so I can get to website and Flickr, but not to FaceBook.

It does have a slideshow option, but I don't use it - preferring ProShow Producer instead.

What I have liked in using it is (a) it's very quick, quick to preview at any size, quick to scan a folder, quick to move around in.   I also like the develop module – not as sophisticated as LightRoom, but in particular some quick exposure fixes and cropping are all I really I want. In the latest release this has become much more sophisticated and is getting closer to rivalling Lightroom


Not played with this so much, but it does handle (1-File System) and (2-Previews) well.  Haven't explored (3-Batches) yet.

It does handle posting to FaceBook as well as other sites and websites.   The FaceBook thing is a big plus

It also creates slideshows, but I've not investigated thoroughly yet.


At the moment, ACDSee is my go to DAM. New features have really brought it up to spec for me. I still miss batch processing, but these days I've built a workflow that gets round that. You can apply a single develop action to multiple files - which is close enough to batch processing.

Lightroom amazes me – just how crap the whole file management and previewing side is – it's just so horribly slow and grotty (and yes I've tried it on more than one machine).  I can only assume that people who think its great have never used anything else. It has to be said that the Develop module is still the best of them all. I can see why with just Lightroom you might never need to go to Photoshop

ThumbsPlus – much as I love it – it doesn't cut the mustard any more, the single exception being it's batch processing which is great – I have pre-programmed batches for building websites, CD's for clients, presentations and all sorts and at the moment I can't see a way of replicating that in any of the others.

Your Views?

Would any users of other DAM apps - especially NOT lightroom which is so well covered - like to chip in and add their thoughts?

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City: Nr Nottingham
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 30, 2002
Posts: 64

I would go back and look how you set up LightRoom

I use it daily and do not have the problem you mention, to me it is a super piece of software that can do all you ask for and more.

Give it a second look - trust me it is worth it!

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