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Macworld SF 2001 Trend: Photo Catalogs

Missing from Apple’s statement of support for the digital lifestyle was an emphasis on digital photographs. I could easily see an iPhoto or iPicture from Apple at the next Macworld Expo – something to categorize and organize digital photographs, print and export them in useful ways, and easily create Web pages with your photos for viewing by your friends and family. Luckily, there were a number of photo cataloging applications at Macworld Expo, including iView Multimedia’s $45 iView MediaPro, Canto’s $90 Cumulus Single User Edition, the $100 Extensis Portfolio Desktop Edition, and ACD’s $40 ACDSee.

These programs are perhaps more similar than different – here’s my current take on them, although I haven’t had time to do a detailed comparison:

  • ACDSee 1.5 is the cheapest at $40 and perhaps the most consumer-oriented, but it comes up lacking in a number of ways. You can’t modify the page design for HTML exports, you can’t easily categorize images other than via the Finder, and its interface combination of panes and windows is clumsy. ACDSee is more of an image browser than a photo cataloger, and I worry that it wouldn’t stand up to frequent use with many photographs.

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  • iView MediaPro 1.0 is the best combination of a fast, svelte image cataloger that’s easy to use, sports a true Macintosh feel with a well-designed single-window interface, and offers all the features anyone is likely to want. You may need to refer to the documentation for some of its more obscure details, but overall, I’ve been extremely impressed with the program. It does well at exporting to HTML, and you can edit its templates to achieve the look you want. At $45, it’s a good deal.


  • Cumulus 5 is a big, complex application that’s clearly aimed more at the professional than the consumer. Although it seems to have all the features you could want, finding them proved somewhat daunting. It also relies on a number of integrated applications for its functions, which adds to the confusion, since some menu commands launch separate applications. Cumulus can export to HTML, and it appears to support templates. At $90 to $100 (download versus boxed), it’s a bit expensive, but will clearly do the job.


  • Extensis Portfolio started life many years ago as Aldus Fetch, and is also aimed more at the professional user than the consumer, with features like password protection, sophisticated cataloging options, flexible keywords and categories, and more. It can export HTML with template control, though it’s not clear at first blush if you can export full-size images as well as thumbnails. At $100 it’s on the high-end for these programs, but it looks fully functional and has a strong Macintosh feel.

< indexDesktopEdition.html>

There are other photo cataloging applications out there that I didn’t see at Macworld; a few have been mentioned in TidBITS Talk. I’ll be looking at this space more in the future, so if you want to make sure I don’t miss your favorite, be sure to send it in to TidBITS Talk.


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