in Tech

Fallback Tools

It’s fun to try new things. I experience a strong fear of missing out when it comes to gear and software, so I try almost everything. What if that other thing is better? I should try it!

The New Thing is always fun and interesting, and it some cases I decide that I no longer need the Old Thing and go all in.

Then it happens. I stumble over some missing feature or unanticipated side effect so decide to fall back to the thing I know. The Old Thing. Sometimes it’s only to get over the current hurdle, but most of the time I end up staying with my old standbys. My fallback tools.

Software examples are: BBEdit, Apple Notes, OmniFocus, Apple Mail, Tinderbox, DEVONthink, and Curio. For photography gear it’s a Leica M6, Fuji X100T, Tri-X, HC-110, and 5×7 RC paper.

I’m currently trying Capture One again for image management and editing. My fallback tool is Lightroom, so we’ll see what happens there.

Experimenting with new tools is my favorite meta hobby, but it’s good to know there are things I can always count on.

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  1. @jack I want to drop Lightroom (and thus my entire Adobe subscription) but it does 3 things I need:
    – Import from camera to named YYYY/MM/DD folders
    – easily scroll, zoom, & flag pics as Keep or Trash (or undecided)
    – apply tags

    Those 3 features aren’t worth the cost of Lightroom (or alternatives I’ve seen). If you know of anything that does 1 or all 3 of these, please let me know.

  2. @sirshannon I’m not a fan of the metadata handling tools of any of the editing apps I’ve used, so I purchased Photo Mechanic years ago and still use it for import, keywording, tagging, and culling. Not cheap, but really good at what it does.

  3. @jack They do a good job of making it hard to find the price :/
    Not cheap but appears to cover all of my needs and costs around 13 months of my PS+LR subscription. I’ve already decided Affinity Photo has replaced Photoshop for me but can’t cancel my subscription w/o a Lightroom replacement.
    Thank you!
    (FYI: my main camera is a Fuji X100T.)

  4. @sirshannon The problem might be that Photo Mechanic isn’t really a library and you’ll still need an editor. For me PM works best for culling/keywording/etc. before importing into Lightroom (or something). So it didn’t replace Lightroom for me, ultimately. I tried just using PM as a browser with Luminar as the editor for a while but found it a little cumbersome.

  5. @jack yeah, I use PhotoMechanic for roughly the same things. Ingest, rename, add metadata, etc. Then I have a script that copies the photos onto my NAS and backs them up to S3. And Lightroom for cataloging, even though I don’t really like it and I barely use any of its functionality. I’m worried about its long term prospects now that they have the “cloud” version which isn’t really practical with the amount of data I have…

  6. I go through a similar dilemma. Like you’ve said, it happens with both hardware are software. In some cases, even between analogue and digital. With software, it’s mostly with Task Management, note taking and email apps. In hardware, between Mac, iPad and android devices. Only thing that doesn’t come in the mix is windows devices and software, though my work platform is windows and I tend to keep it that way only for the day job.

  7. @jack I think I’m fine w/o Lightroom for editing. Mostly because I do so little “real” editing now now that I don’t do any photography work anymore.
    But you’ve reminded me that I haven’t fully tested that theory editing some less-than-perfect-soc photos without LR.

  8. @jack I assign 1/2 of the blame the jpg presets in the X100T. They’re so good that I never bother with the RAWs. Even with the loss of dynamic range in the jpgs, they look better than what I get processing the RAW version. And when the RAW does end up better, it usually wasn’t worth the trouble.

    So different from my Nikon days (D40, D200, D700, D800).