XNView is really not very Mac like. I’m something of a software geek and I struggled with XNView. The easiest way to integrate DAM with DxO Photo Lab (or any RAW developer) is to separate culling from image management. The images which need to be managed in most workflow are our finished images, not our RAW files. RAW files can be managed by the OS. Steps.
- move images from SD card to dated folder in your master Images folder (called “Pictures” on Mac): something like “/20181116-SC-Kittsee-vs-Pama”
- Triage. Cull and rate. I use FastRawViewer. PhotoMechanic is another well-known tool for this work. XNView would fit in here if you can stand the interface. Lyn would work if you just want to choose keepers (it’s rating system is not compatible with XMP based FastRawViewer or Bridge). Adobe Bridge would work but be very slow. Old versions of Lightroom won’t work for this part as they won’t be able to read the RAWs without converting to DNG which PhotoLab and many other quality RAW processing applications won’t read.
- Delete the throwaway files (less than four stars, usually about 80% of a photographer’s shots). Move the selects to a dedicated folder “Selects”.
- Point DxO PhotoLab at your “Selects” folder. PhotoLab as you know has its own very good though slow file browser. By only including selects (say 20 to 100 for an event), PhotoLab’s image browser is much more spritely.
- Process all your photos.
- Export your finished TIFFs/high quality jpegs to another folder tree - something like “Masters”. That folder tree is what will go into your DAM.
- Import the new folder into your DAM, whether it’s NeoFinder, Aperture 2/3, Lightroom 3/4/5 standalone, iMatch. You can use almost any DAM and not worry about updates as they all understand TIFFs and jpegs.
Your DAM will be managing about 7000 photos per year (based on 150/week which is about 20 finished files day). For a really busy commercial photographer that number might be 25000 per year. This certainly beats 70,000 or 250,000 RAW files per year in terms of overhead.
Most DAM programs (Aperture, Lightroom) start to struggle with performance and database consistency over 20,000 or 30,000. With the numbers I’m talking about here you can either keep a single catalogue for three to five years or at least one catalogue per year, rather than a catalogue every two to six months.
I struggle see what DxO can build as a useful DAM which would scale without creating an enormous dedicated application which would just use DxO PhotoLab as its RAW developer.
As DxO really wants to build a DAM, I’d comment that the best one which I’ve ever used in terms of speed, convenience and pleasure was Apple Aperture 2.x. If DxO just get a copy of old Aperture and copy the rating and culling system from Aperture, I’d be very interested. Aperture allowed a photographer to change (develop) a photo even while browsing. The switch between browsing/rating and developing was seamless, instant with immediately responsive controls. DxO would have to significantly improve performance to offer this incredibly immediate Aperture experience rather than the clunky Lightroom Library | Develop workflow.
What bothers me most about DxO PhotoLab now is the speed. The speed is okay if you use the auto enhancements and don’t tweak too much. But when trying to do fine contrast and colour work, the 3 to 15 second lag to see one’s changes becomes very taxing. While C1’s noise reduction doesn’t compare with PhotoLab, the responsiveness of the colour controls is astonishing after working in PhotoLab. My current workaround is to turn off all noise reduction while processing images. Before output, I select all my images, turn back on NR, switch NR to Prime and choose the amount. Working with NR disabled helps a lot with responsiveness.
Again, rather than tackling the impossible hill of DAM (no one has gotten it really right, particularly for all people - otherwise we wouldn’t all be discussing and arguing about DAM at such length) just now, it would be fabulous if the DxO team could do serious work on PhotoLab speed and responsiveness with an eye to overtaking C1 in this respect.