For the last 6 months or so I have been oscillating between three of my favorite photo suites: Lightroom, DxO Optics Pro, and Capture One.  There are a lot of people who have been doing the same thing.

I had been using Phase One’s Capture One exclusively for a long while because of its RAW processing engine, but I had massive problems with catalog management – crashes, corruption and general slowness.  But that RAW engine!  I could make parts of my photos pop and so deep with just a few minutes.

What to do….

Then I stumbled on DxO Optics Pro.  If Capture One’s RAW engine is the best, DxO has the next best along with specific camera + lens profiles to correct even the smallest aberrations.  And their de-noising and ClearView features are simply amazing.  But there’s NO catalog management.

Ok, so I’ll go and use Media Pro, the software that Phase One bought from Microsoft a few years ago previously called iView, that is a great catalog management system, or digital asset manager.  But wait, it hasn’t been updated in at least a year, and how the heck do I get it to spit files out to DxO?

Ok well no problem, Lightroom has a plug in connector to DxO, so I can use the catalog functions in Lightroom to organize, and then edit things in DxO.  They announced this workflow here a few months ago.  But every time I do this, I get a “Lightroom X” project object in DxO, and duplicate files – one original in LR, and one produced/exported back to LR from DxO.  My new Nikon D5300 is sure going to fill my hard drive up quickly – twice as fast in fact.

I don’t mind Lightroom for quick edits, but it’s overall approach, engine, and features for specific things (noise, etc.) suck, so I am going to use Capture One or DxO.  But I’d rather have an agnostic, simple catalog/manager for the files themselves.  I’d like to tag, categorize, and more with that, regardless of what new fancy editor comes out.

One that gets a lot of props is Photo Supreme, but it looks like a small group (maybe one person) who maintains it, and it’s very dated in it’s UI.  I don’t want to invest tagging, cataloging and managing my photos (about 15,000) in something that won’t be around very long.

I suppose my best choice is to use Phase One’s Media Pro for now, since it’s a commercial product, and tied to Capture One as well at least for larger catalog management.

I just wish someone would make something that is as good as DxO, LR, and Capture One just for the file management and classification, that would be editor agnostic.  Sometimes I feel like I mess around more with files flying between things than I do ever taking pictures and publishing things!