digiKam 2.x - Amazingly Good Photo Management

If you are interested on digital photo management, I would encourage you to take a look at digiKam, and specifically at the newer 2.x version.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

If you are interested on digital photo management, I would encourage you to take a look at digiKam, and specifically at the newer 2.x version. The 2.0 release announcement was made at the end of July, and they are now already up to version 2.2. Here is a short recap of the reasons I choose to use digiKam rather than the other obvious candidates:

- F-Spot: uses Mono. End of consideration, end of discussion.

- Shotwell: I actually tried this, in parallel with digiKam, while we were in Iceland. I found the user interface and commands to be rather confusing, and it was missing some of the major features that I was looking for. The most important of those was the ability to sort by date taken, not date modified, and the ability to adjust date/time information in individual pictures or groups of pictures.

- digiKam: very nice user interface. good basic image editor include (for the most part I want to rotate/crop/resize, add text, fix redeye, other simple tasks). excellent slide show presentation. excellent date/time adjustment capability, operates on one or a group of pictures, can set a selected date, an offset from the date, a date taken from another picture, and others.

Now that I have the 2.x version (I had been using the more commonly available 1.9.0 version), I'm quite pleased with some of the improvements and new features. The most obvious of these is probably Face Recognition. Admittedly this is pretty much of a "gee whiz" kind of a feature, but a lot of people seem to find it useful, or at least interesting. The idea is that you can tell digiKam to analyze your pictures, and find the ones which have faces in them. The pictures that it finds are added to the Tag group "People", which you can then go through and add specific tags with the people's names, if you want. As might be expected from a relatively early release of this sort of thing, it is far from fool-proof in finding pictures with faces. It seems to be specifically convinced that the wheel of our truck was a face... but it also chose some which had nothing but a blank or indistinct background, and in one case it identified the legs of a horse as a face (I've known some people who I would identify with other parts of a horse, but never the legs).

Another significant new feature, since the 2.1 release I believe, is the panorama creation tool. It looks to me as if this is an integrated version of the hugin program, which I learned about from a visitor this summer. It is a very nice, and very useful feature, and I will be putting it to work on some of our Iceland pictures very soon.

In summary - I have found digiKam to be so useful that I am seriously considering changing my primary boot to a KDE-based distribution because of it. If you are interested in photo management, or digital photography in general, or you just have a bunch of pictures that you want to organize, digiKam is well worth a look.

jw 26/10/2011

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