Monday, January 05, 2009

Picasa for the Mac!

Yes, finally, one of my favorite free photo viewers/editors/organizers is now available on the Mac! I've just installed Picasa 3 Beta for the Mac and it looks great, pretty much the same way it looks on the PC. There area couple of trivial features not available yet on this Mac version, but nothing of consequence.

I will eventually get around to doing a write up of Picasa, but for now, I will just quickly tell you how I use it. It is a really fast viewer and it can view RAW files from many different cameras. Though lacking in detail, here is a list of supported RAW formats. You can make simple adjustments and export to JPG while controlling the size and compression of the conversion. This makes it very easy to quickly share your RAW images.

BUT, Picasa is not the best RAW converter. Any third party application that opens a RAW file has to 'guess' at what the image should look like. Picasa is not particularly good at guessing, so do not use the automated RAW conversion as the final word on the quality the image.

Picasa really shines because of it's speed, it whips through images faster then any other viewer I've seen. For this reason, Picasa is the first step in my work flow. I dump my images into a desktop folder then review them in Picasa. I delete the garbage and move images into either folders for more editing (with Lightroom), or permanent archive folders. All this is done from within Picasa.

One reason I've been so interested in Picasa for the Mac is that, unlike iPhoto, it does not mess with where your photos are stored. Once iPhoto gets a hold of your photos, god alone knows where they end up! I'm old enough to sort my own files, thank you!

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