Tuesday, December 28, 2004

iPhoto 4 - Becoming a disappointment

iPhoto used to wow me, but I'm becoming, forgive the expression, disenfranchised, with it.

Before you comment that I'm nuts or too plain picky or that I might as well swith to a Windows PC, hear me out. :-)

My first mistake might have been using iPhoto Buddy and segmenting my library into 7 libraries. That was with iPhoto 2. Things worked well with the exception of slowness (and the fix-it features). Enter iLife 4 with iPhoto 4. Nice, faster and all that. The way Jobs showed it at MW Expo SF 2004, there was nothing close to it on the market. Probably true. Adobe Photoshop Album was on the prowl - too bad it hasn't come to the Mac, it's 1/2 way decent.

Importing my libraries into iPhoto 4 was easy, but for crying out loud, my library went from just over 1000 pix to over 4000 pix! Duplicates abounded. Long story short, I've futzed with iPhoto 4 for a long time, ended up digging through the cryptic library weeding out all photos, dups, thumbs, etc., and starting over.

Looking at the library of iPhoto was like rummaging through the Windows registry. Okay, not quite, but good grief, talk about complicated. IMHO, unnecessarily complicated.

Enter Kodak EasyPhoto. Not as fast as iPhoto 4, but very nice. I love the one touch feature - it gives you a movable divider down the center of the photo with a "before" and "after" of your photo. Really nice. Kodak has done a bang-up job with this free app. For those not into .Mac, it works seamlessly with Kodak's Ofoto service, also excellent - arguably way better than Apple's minimalist offerings for photo printing, etc., via .Mac.

Which brings me to a little thing that irks me with iPhoto. Why can't I have a button for BOTH clockwise and counter-clockwise photo rotation?! Simplicity, minimalism! Hallmarks of Apple hardware and software. Well, I usually like that approach except when it comes to managing my music and my photos.

Last. Printing photos works fantastic - as long as I use full-size photo paper. I have an Epson Stylus C82, latest OS X release, etc. Even with Kodak's EasyShare, it won't print 4x6 paper correctly. The problem is the driver as far as I can tell as Kodak's EasyShare on XP works perfectly with the C82. I don't fault iPhoto for this. The C82 driver is weaker in some respects on OS X than XP. The most current driver for this printer comes with OS X. Epson hasn't updated their driver for years.

Bottom line. I am less impressed by the day with iPhoto's photo management. I don't like the cryptic nature of how it does its thing (nested folders numerically named).

I hope iPhoto 5 (or 4.5 or whatever) answers some of these issues.

Question for those of you who are iPhoto experts: Why is the library managed the way it is? Should I not have the option of saving (i.e., overwriting) the "changed" photo rather than it being duplicated thus doubling the space taken by the photo?

Thanks for reading. And please be nice in the comments.


Anonymous said...

"Which brings me to a little thing that irks me with iPhoto. Why can't I have a button for BOTH clockwise and counter-clockwise photo rotation?!"

As with many Mac image applications you hold the Option key to get the opposite, flip.


Anonymous said...

"Question for those of you who are iPhoto experts: Why is the library managed the way it is? Should I not have the option of saving (i.e., overwriting) the "changed" photo rather than it being duplicated thus doubling the space taken by the photo?"

iPhoto is an entry applcation. You move to iMedia or iMedia Pro as your needs become more detailed; or move beyond minimal needs.


Anonymous said...

Try pressing the option key before selecting the rotate button. You see, one button does rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise!

Anonymous said...

The way iPhoto stored photos on my disk drove me away back at v2.0. Uses too much space, and forces you to use iPhoto to access a photo. I decided I wanted a Cataloger that didn't make me *dependent* on it. At that time I moved to iView MediaPro. It was faster (by far), handled keywords and captions much better, and best of all cataloged my images in place -- meaning it didn't *move* them out of my folder structure and bury them inside it's own. So now my images are nicely organized in a folder structure under Pictures that is by Year>Month>Event... which means I can easily find and grab a photo to share or print or email or work on in Photoshop, WITHOUT having to launch my image cataloger. I open it only for annotating sessions, or using the slideshow or HTML generator features... Options, y'know? Best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree -- iPhoto sucks. I used it on my 12" Powerbook. But, my wife has an XP machine with Adobe Photoshop Album (version 1.0) and it is way better than iPhoto. Come on, Apple, get with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I don't agree with some of these comments:
1) To hold down "option" to rotate clockwise isn't difficult.
2) I currently have 7235 photos on an iBook G4 933, 6521 photos on the Quicksilver 933, and 15327 photos on the iMac G4 800 17". iPhoto runs very fast on all 3 of my machines. Sure, it may decrease as I approach 20000 I suppose but I'm impressed so far.
3) I don't think how it files things by number is difficult. It starts with the year (i.e. "2004") followed by the month (i.e. "04"=April), followed by the day (i.e. "30"). Not hard.
4) Also it doesn't keep duplicates unless you alter the image. Why, so that if you need to go back you can. And for photo experts I appreciate that. An example would be: I used to adjust photos with harsh shadows using "levels", or colorized "overlays" or possibly even "dodge" or "burn" if needed in Photoshop 7. Now in CS they have a "Shadows/Highlights" feature that works much better. In iPhoto I can revert back to the original photo (which is why it stores a duplicate) and correct it using this better tool. In my opinion, Apple has done a marvelous job on iPhoto. It gives me simple tools for easy fixes or the ability to double click and have it open my prefered photo editor.
All I do is Photoshop work and I've used many other programs. But this one by far does a fantastic job and I personally haven't seen a reason to switch to another application.

Anonymous said...

I think the file organization is done this way (by date with nested folders) to allow for duplicate file names. Otherwise a lot of file naming conflicts would come up each time a user imports photos directly from a camera.

Duplicating the photos instead of overwriting is done for a simple reason - most users don't back up. The last thing Apple wants is 10000 complaints from novice users who have edited photos and ruined them permanently. There is shareware that 'cleans' out all thumbnails and duplicates - I suppose Apple could add this command for users that are really, really sure they like their initial editing job.

Like stated in previous posts - the alt key reverses rotation. Also, the command key gives you a 'before-after' view (which I happen to prefer instead of side by side because I'm working on a small iBook screen).

For uses having iPhoto crashing problems - try fixing permissions using the disk utility. It has worked for me several times.