I am finding the features of PhotoLab 5 amazing, so much there and the adjustments are logically laid out and easy to use (I need way more time to figure out local adjustments but I’ve wanted these for ages!). Plus it even works on my old MacBook Air which most of the current crop of photo editors can’t.
However the Photo Library browser seems to be, well a bit weird? Can I confirm my findings as perhaps I just haven’t found the right way of doing things maybe?
The software doesn’t show images in subfolders? I couldn’t find any option to allow this?
There are no albums, smart or otherwise, but maybe the Project section is used for this job? Except you can’t drag folders to it, only selected images. Also as you must have the entire folder tree open in the Left Dock in order to get to where you keep your photos, so you can’t see your Projects anyway as they are off the screen. Plus you can’t reorder the dock to place Projects at the top?
Favourites really just seems to be a copy of your folder view, the same view you can get to from the Devices sections? You also can’t drag folders here or choose which folders you would like in Favourites - its just a folder view?
**I thought I had found a work around for the lack of actual favourites by searching for a folder and this then appeared in the Recent Searches section which is right on top for quick access… except there’s no way to edit this list. So Recent Searches just gets bigger and bigger as you add other searched to it - there’s no way to remove entries you don’t need anymore
The actual process of browsing your Photo library confuses me. You have a window of thumbnails, with a squashed up ‘fit to screen’ image of the selected thumbnail above it, which can never be big enough to be of use unless you slide the thumbnail screen right down. Isn’t there a thumbnail view which when an image is clicked then opens up a ‘fit to screen’ preview window - like Photos for example?
** I thought I had discovered a solution to this, because if you slide the thumbnail screen right up to hide the ‘fit to screen’ preview image, then press shift+tab you will alternate between fit to screen preview and a full screen of thumbnails - result. Except… if you then go to the Customise screen to edit a photo, when you come back to the Photo Library screen the app has defaulted back to a squashed up image above a part displayed window of thumbnails? It seems quite a weird design?
The Customise screen on the other hand seems to know what it wants to do. You get a ‘fit to screen’ preview, plus a filmstrip of thumbnails along the bottom and this works fine. Plus the filmstrip can be reduced in size and even hidden and doesn’t default back to half and half later?
I hope no one thinks I am just having a go, the adjustments available in DxO Photolab are pretty amazing and I love the fact it applies the basic edits for you, the results are actually quite outstanding - especially the AI adjustments! But the Photo Library seems, well, a bit of a disappointment compared with even the basic Photos app on the Mac.
Plus of course PhotoLab is nearly the most expensive standalone RAW editor at the moment (next to Capture One), £199 is pretty much the same as 20 months of a subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop combined? I am sure an upgrade would be required every two years at least (most likely every year if new version has great new features) so the buy it once theory doesn’t really hold up at this price. Just ruminating, its the best I have tried so far, and I have tried them all… but…
Note added later: Actually I’m just working out prices and DxO is very expensive! In order to get perspective alteration (a feature I expect to find in all photo editing software as standard) you must buy Viewpoint at another £69. Then to add the simple process of a after effect vignette (again standard across every app I have tried recently) you must purchase the DxO Filmpack add on at a whopping £129! That makes an Elite package price of £397 - if the argument is this is buy it once software as opposed to Adobe’s subscription, well that’s pretty much 40 months of Adobe Lightroom Single App plan!! Which includes Lightroom on desktop and mobile, Lightroom Classic and 1 TB of cloud storage. And I am sure we would need to upgrade for fun new features long before 40 months of DxO ownership was up…
I’m very much liking what DxO does to my photos, but I can achieve the same effect in Lightroom, nearly the same effect in even Apple Photos, certainly the same effect in ON1 and definitely a similar AI experience in Skylum Neo. So maybe my question above about the file management features has answered itself (it took a long while to get approved as my first post) and really, at this price I would expect a lot more from the DAM features.