DAM Recommendations

treben

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So after having a rough time with my current DAM/Raw Developer, On1 Photo Raw 2020, I'm looking to switch things up. I'm currently looking at DxO Photolab 3. I was wondering what people's experiences are with it. It now has keyword support in Windows for version 3.1 but from my limited research it seems the keywords can't be written to an xmp sidecar? Also, I see it's currently on sale for $150 for the elite version until the 16th. What are the chances it will have a better discount later in the month? Is there some other DAM that would be more highly recommended at a similar price other than lightroom? Thanks!

Edit: I realized that I should add some info on what I'm looking for in order to get a recommendation. I only need basic DAM capabilities, keywording, culling, flagging, batch rename etc. Of course, non destructive as I use xmp sidecars for my metadata. On the raw processing side I'm looking for a program that is intelligent and professional in its tool's algorithms. Looking for quality results. Panorama merging and HDR merging would be preferable as well as good noise reduction, sharpening and intelligent masking.
 
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mcasan

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I often use Photo Mechanic 6 before having PR20 update the Browser with the new images. In Photo Mechanic I have more tokens to use in defining the target folder structure and names to be used. The same goes for file renaming as part of importing. PM is also a quicker place to cull unedited images. On1 has been asked repeatedly over the years to enhance Browse by adding more of the folder and file naming tokens to something closer to parity to Lr. So far....no traction.
 

Repp

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I’m still waiting for a seamless mobile/desktop integrated DAM. LR just doesn’t cut it unless you drop LR Classic for CC and buy into a lot of CC cloud storage (no thanks). I had hope for Luminar, but it’s a pretty lackluster DAM, though an iPad version is apparently in development or on the short list according to one of their engineers. I dislike apple photos... so that leaves ? Maybe the DS 7.0 DAM coming out next year from Synology? Could be ok since I use their NAS already.
 

JLGF1

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Also, I see it's currently on sale for $150 for the elite version until the 16th. What are the chances it will have a better discount later in the month?
Hmmm, since PL-Elite was just on sale for $99, less than two weeks ago, that would be anyone's guess.

Edit: I realized that I should add some info on what I'm looking for in order to get a recommendation.
BTW, the DAM and the Raw developer need not be coupled together, but you imply that they need to be. You will have more choices, and more flexibility, if that is not a pre-req. Examples in that category would be iMatch, ACDSee-STD, DigiKam, PhotoMechanic, PhotoSupreme.
 
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treben

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I’m still waiting for a seamless mobile/desktop integrated DAM. LR just doesn’t cut it unless you drop LR Classic for CC and buy into a lot of CC cloud storage (no thanks). I had hope for Luminar, but it’s a pretty lackluster DAM, though an iPad version is apparently in development or on the short list according to one of their engineers. I dislike apple photos... so that leaves ? Maybe the DS 7.0 DAM coming out next year from Synology? Could be ok since I use their NAS already.
Supposedly On1 is working on something kind of like this with their new On1 Sync and mobile apps. It looks like they pushed back the release of these a few months in order to fix the large number of bugs in photo raw 2020. I like the idea of this but my experience with On1 had it destroying my metadata, so a sync client needs to be extremely stable and bug free in order to not wreak havoc on my photo library.
 

threeOh

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I’m still waiting for a seamless mobile/desktop integrated DAM. LR just doesn’t cut it unless you drop LR Classic for CC and buy into a lot of CC cloud storage (no thanks). I had hope for Luminar, but it’s a pretty lackluster DAM, though an iPad version is apparently in development or on the short list according to one of their engineers. I dislike apple photos... so that leaves ? Maybe the DS 7.0 DAM coming out next year from Synology? Could be ok since I use their NAS already.
What functionality are you waiting for? I was always quite anti-Adobe. Aperture and C1 user. I travel a lot, so iPads and away from main computer. After seeing what Adobe CC provided for mobile/desktop (LR Classic) integration, I jumped on a subscription. I must not be using functionality you are using or looking for.
 

Repp

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Keywords from LR Mobile can’t sync back to LR classic. That’s currently my biggest hold up. Smaller things would be as follows:
1. Allow for wired transfer or even WiFi... cloud sync is too slow.
2. Allow for you to key/sync your catalog to LR Mobile from classic. In the age of 1TB iPads and 2tb SSDs (4tb+ spinners) we can travel with most of our photo library with us.
3. Sync smart collections.
4. Rename photos on import.

probably more, but that’s the short of my wish list.
 
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the near far nord, eh!
I’ve been using ExposureX5 as my main DAM for the last few years, after switching from experiments with LR, ON1, Luminar etc. (Having purchased all of them at one time or another)

Been very pleased as it offers a finder based file system, non-destructive editing, and is not tied into a library system of storage. If there are other options, like the Panos and HDR merging you require, I would use the very powerful Affinity Photo... imo it’s just as powerful a combo as the Adobe LR/PS combo... and less expensive too. ExposureX5 has a 30 free trial and usually goes on sale for around 30% off during holidays or events like Black Friday. Affinity just had a sale on but it’s so inexpensive to begin with I’d just outright purchase it... it has an iPad version that may very well be the most powerful mobile photo editor on the market.

both apps worth a look imo
 

threeOh

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Keywords from LR Mobile can’t sync back to LR classic. That’s currently my biggest hold up. Smaller things would be as follows:
1. Allow for wired transfer or even WiFi... cloud sync is too slow.
2. Allow for you to key/sync your catalog to LR Mobile from classic. In the age of 1TB iPads and 2tb SSDs (4tb+ spinners) we can travel with most of our photo library with us.
3. Sync smart collections.
4. Rename photos on import.

probably more, but that’s the short of my wish list.
1. LR Mobile does sync back to LR Classic. Scroll down, look in Collections, the “From Lightroom” collection set. That's what's in your cloud. Create a folder in folders wherever you want it on disk (above, right-click, create folder in...). Drag images in “From Lightroom” into new folder and they download and populate the folder you just created. If you are looking for an automatic sync it’s not there. Fortunately Adobe gives you control of this action.
2. My Lightroom CC has all of my key folders in it from Classic. I have no idea how they got there it was not something that required thought. Look at the Lightroom CC app. That's likely where I populated Lightroom CC.

I can’t imagine anyone wanting Adobe to sync entire Classic catalogs to the cloud. Many of us have terabytes of images. To have selective sync capability would require an iTunes sync to devices approach with little boxes to check/uncheck, for each and every image. It’s just not feasible for even a light shooter like me. Adobe has thought this one out well, at least for me.

3 and 4 is functionality don’t use so, no idea.
 

John M Flores

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This is my issue with integrating LR Classic with the cloud-based LR. Years ago, I split up my single LR catalog into multiple catalogs because I have so many photos and it was bogging down.
 

bassman

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Keywords from LR Mobile can’t sync back to LR classic. That’s currently my biggest hold up. Smaller things would be as follows:
1. Allow for wired transfer or even WiFi... cloud sync is too slow.
2. Allow for you to key/sync your catalog to LR Mobile from classic. In the age of 1TB iPads and 2tb SSDs (4tb+ spinners) we can travel with most of our photo library with us.
3. Sync smart collections.
4. Rename photos on import.

probably more, but that’s the short of my wish list.
1. I guess you mean point-to-point wifi, not via the Adobe Cloud. Yes, that would help. But not a requirement for me.
2. You can sync from Classic to Mobile by defining a collection(s) and syncing them, as you say. My catalog contains 1.7TB Of images and I could not sync it entirely to any known tablet.
3. Yes. There is a kludgey workaround plugin on Jeffry Friedl’s site, regex.info. I would prefer to be also able to sync entire folders from Classic, but smart collections would be good enough.
4. Renaming files, a real folder structure - not just ‘albums’, and keywords. These are interesting, but not requirements for me.
 
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Todd Cleaver
When I came off of LR and found myself jumping around trying different raw processors I decided to decouple my DAM and raw processor. I tried several DAM's but found digiKam the most comfortable solution for me. I use DXO PL for my raw development and I know that they have now added a DAM. It may be great but for the time being I am not even tempted to try it. I find digiKam does most everything I need quite well.
 
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Jan Steinman
First off, I don't use Adobe products. John Warnock doesn't need any of my money. They are a bully, and behave as though they are a monopoly. I don't do monopolies.

I have really, really, really tried to like digikam. I just can't get it to work with reasonable performance or stability on a Mac. I suspect it works quite well on Windows or Linux. Some of the documentation alludes to not being carefully or completely ported to Mac. (Well, it blames problems in Mac libraries beyond their control.)

I'm currently using a combination of ON1 RAW and GraphicConverter 11, neither of which does the full job.

ON1 RAW is incredibly slow in searching large imagebases. (I have over 250,000 images.) And it seems to have a lot of bugs in the DAM department. My hierarchy doesn't show up consistently. Selecting sub-tree folders will often bounce me back to the top, especially for new folders. They explained it as "it may be still caching those folders," but there is no feedback or indication this is happening, which is frustrating. (At least the coffee-break searches tell you it is searching while you brew your java…)

The GraphicConverter 11 browser maintains fidelity with the file system well, but it is a very nerdly tool, and it seems to be difficult to do fairly simple image manipulations. On the other had, it has wonderful access to metadata — it is the only tool I have see that allows you to access and edit all EXIF and IPTC data.

So, I'm still waiting for the perfect Mac DAM. I really wish digikam would take the Mac platform seriously. For one thing, it lets you use MySQL for metadata, which makes it inherently multi-user and easy to use from both your desktop and your laptop, and if you're nerdly, you can search using other MySQL tools, for example. But it won't keep running long enough to do so!
 

Repp

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Ok, 2 things to address from the above.
1. The Lightroom catalogue is not your image library. Just the metadata and maybe image previews. Like if (in LR) you move photos to an external drive and then unplug it. My LR catalog is tiny compared to the 1.5tb of photos on my nas.
2. LR mobile does sync to classic, but not with keywords. So any photos I want to keyword on my iPad are useless when I get back. Meaning I have to sit there and try to remember what the name of the tiny cafe was in a remote village that I wondered through three weeks ago once I get home from my vacation.
 

junkyardsparkle

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So, I'm still waiting for the perfect Mac DAM. I really wish digikam would take the Mac platform seriously.
To be fair, this is easier said than done for an open source project if very few of the developers have Apple hardware, or a working familiarity with the idiosyncracies of the platform... in the case of darktable, there's basically one person maintaining the Mac port, and likewise for WIndows... and many of the issues being reported with the current 3.0 release candidates are specific to one of those platforms. For a project like a RAW developer, where trying to optimize the performance of the low-level code is important, it's all the more likely to encounter snags of this kind, unfortunately.
 

Dinobe

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I have recently 'decoupled' my DAM and RAW processor. This was not something I wanted to do. Until a couple of years ago, when I was still using Lightroom I didn't want to split my workflow into different programs and wanted to keep everything together in 1 tool, Lightroom.

But I've moved to Darktable and while darktable has a good build-in DAM, I recently had to find a set of images of 1 person, and then I realised that having a separated dedicated DAM would have been a better choice.

So I started using Digikam as the DAM and Darktable as the raw processor.
Performance with both tools is OK on Win10, but on Linux it seems to be (a lot) better. I'm thinking of building a dedicated Linux workstation somewhere next year for photo's and keep all the rest on my current windows machine.
 
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