Usability – Take Three

I’ve mentioned Adobe’s Lightroom application before – and not in a good light, as far as I was concerned. Admittedly, it was then in beta. It has now been released in all its glory as a fully-fledged version 1.0 application. And my verdict? I’ve given it the hook.

Its performance is still terrible, its metadata handling is poor, it costs too much and I really don’t need it.

Performance – really, scrolling through thumbnails is jerky and incredibly frustrating. There is no feel that there is a real connection between a movement of the mouse on the scrollbar and the scrolling of the images. As I’ve noted before, Google’s Picasa (a free application) has this down pat, and is an example to aspire to. Adobe doesn’t come anywhere close.

Metadata – in its favour, it does have a complete implementation of IPTC Core. However, it only reveals a few fields of EXIF metadata. Where is Orientation, for example? Lightroom seems to expose a grand total of 12 EXIF metadata fields. IDimager shows over 110 EXIF metadata fields.

I did like the Metadata browser of Lightroom – particularly the “location” hierarchy, which allowed me to identify a few metadata errors immediately. However, performance again is pretty poor, and turning on the option to enable Lightroom to update metadata directly in the image files makes it unusable – at least on my system.

All in all, Adobe’s Lightroom is not for me: overpriced and underperforming for what I am looking for. My ideal digital asset manager will be something like the offspring of Picasa and IDimager – a child having the Picasa’s lightning fast image library and search capability coupled with IDimager’s comprehensive metadata capabilities.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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