I've just started playing with the new Lightroom 3 Beta
, as well as the even newer Bibble 5 Preview 3
. I'm impressed with both, though I'm leaning toward Bibble quite a bit more for various reasons, including speed and intuitiveness.Lightroom
you probably already know about or have heard of. It's an Adobe app, and it combines both photo organizing and image "development"/editing. It's a very capable app in its current incarnation by all accounts, and version 3 seems to be making some further improvements. I don't know enough about the differences to comment in an educated way. But the beta is currently free, so it's worth a try:http://labs.adobe.co...nologies/lightroom3/Bibble
is a bit of an underdog favorite in the RAW processing world. It has a reputation for quality, power, and flexibility. Version 4 has been around for several years and was/is widely used, but its features are getting out of date, as well as its camera support. Bibble 5 has been in development for a number of years now and has something of a tarnished reputation because of its long development cycle, but within the last year they started putting out public previews of its development progress, which has helped a lot. The Bibble 5 previews show a much faster, and even more powerful app in its current state. I for one find it a lot faster and more intuitive than Lightroom thus far, though I am still testing both. You can find more info and the download here:http://bibblelabs.co...s/bibble5/index.html
Unfortunately there is no release date for either one of these as a final product. Bibble 5 has been in development for quite a while now. That being said the latest preview does seem pretty fully functional and stable, and I could see it getting finished up within the next 6 months or so. The same timeline may well apply to Lightroom 3. It's a shame that Bibble in particular is not done yet, perhaps that doesn't recommend it for your needs, but I've already found it to be better than any other app I've tried so far, even in its preview state, and I'm considering buying. It isn't particularly cheap, much less free, but it's definitely cheaper than Lightroom (about half for the Pro version), and there's a version for under $100 that I think would be well worth it.
Other options to consider are:
- DxO Optics Pro 6 (new version) - not cheap, similar to Bibble, good reputation.
- Google's Picasa 3.5 - Yes, really! If your needs are reasonably basic, it has decent RAW format support, easy adjustments, photo tagging and organizing capabilities, face recognition (fun!), upload to multiple websites, etc. and it's free. Despite my interest in more advanced apps, because I have yet to find one (and because face recognition is so cool and fun), Picasa is actually my main photo viewer and organizer at the moment. I use Photoshop when I need to do heavier or more precise editing.
- Capture One 5 Pro - I've heard good things about this too, but have no personal experience. Also not cheap.
- Helicon Filter - I have no idea how good or bad this is, but it supposedly supports RAW formats and is a decent general image editor. It's cheaper than the rest (except free options of course).
- Silverfast - Another mystery option. Tons of product options at different price points.
- Lightzone - Focused on RAW development, the most used feature I see is tone mapping, which can produce cool results but also weird and downright bad results if misused or overused. Seems to have interesting features though. It's on my list of apps to test further.
Many of these are professional-level tools and carry a price tag that reflects such use...