What I need in a photo workflow package

As I advance in digital photography, the need for a proper photo workflow manager is becoming clear.  I haven’t yet found one I really like.


Here are some things it needs to do well:

  • Import from camera
  • Manage, group, sort, and tag photos
  • Read Canon RAW format (CR2) files
  • Display image metadata correctly
  • One-touch correct exposure data (white/black/color balance)
  • Quickly crop to standard aspect ratios
  • Display picture region guides (like four thirds, golden mean, etc.)
  • Edit photos nondestructively
  • Export as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF
  • Create and use HDRs
  • Have basic effects tools like sharpen, blur, etc.
  • Have zone-based lighting correction (to fix lens flare and sun bleaching)
  • Maintain proper photo workflow
  • Run under OpenSuse and Ubuntu Linux.

So what fits the bill?

Canon EOS Utility

It’s the professional photo workflow software that comes with the camera body.  It works great but is Windows only, which doesn’t work for me.  It’s rated as “Garbage” in Wine’s AppDB.  It installs with errors and won’t launch.

Google Picasa

Not professional quality but does most things well.  It doesn’t display picture region guides and can’t handle HDRs.  It also has no zone-based lighting correction but then, I haven’t found a tool that does except GIMP and Photoshop.  Google stopped supporting Picasa under Linux but there’s nothing broken about it and the Windows version still runs fine under Wine (which is all Google ever did anyway).

Darktable

The closest thing I’ve found to professional photo workflow software in Linux.  It has lofty goals and would be absolutely perfect if it all worked as intended.  Right now, it’s very slow, buggy, and unstable.

Rawtherapee

Another great Linux workflow app but the author hasn’t kept up maintenance of it so it’s a bit dated.  I don’t know if it will read the latest revision of the CR2 format.

Bibble

Hands down, the best photo workflow suite ever.  It’s what the pros use.  It also costs $200.

Corel AfterShot Pro

On par with Bibble in quality and price.

F-Spot

GTK-based iPhoto clone.  What is does, it does well.  Doesn’t support RAW files or do any exposure correction at all.

Shotwell

Much better GTK-based software.  Does exposure correction and basic editing and would work wonderfully if it supported the latest CR2 format.  It doesn’t.

Digikam

Awesome KDE photo management software that’s got all the features I want and reads CR2 files with no problems.  Lacks a bit in the editing department but for that I can tag the images I want to do further work with and pop over to GIMP to do that.

 

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