NeoFinder may look like it’s a simple app, but it’s far from simplistic. Except for the capability to run this software as a database front-end serving multiple Macs, it comes with features that I remember having seen only in enterprise-scale Digital Asset Management systems. For example, you can import catalogues (sometimes as XML, sometimes as Text-only) from other apps, including Canto Cumulus, Extensis Portfolio, Delicious Library, Broken Cross Disk Manager for Windows, Advanced Disk Catalog for Windows, iView MediaPro, Phase One Media Pro, DiskCatalogMaker, etc. The app will also catalogue images from Apple’s Photos, Adobe’s Lightroom, from iPhoto and Aperture.
NeoFinder 7 creates a database of file pointers. In contrast, for example, Photo Mechanic 6 doesn’t create file pointers, it allows you to navigate Finder folders and add metadata — loads of the stuff, as per the requirements of fashion and commercial photographers and photojournalists — but that’s it. The disadvantage of Photo Mechanic’s approach is that you can’t view your images remotely without having the actual files on a server; the advantage is that if you move or delete images from your system in the Finder, the changes are instantly reflected in the application.
With a database, not so much, but the Business licence of NeoFinder has an elegant solution that gives you the best of both worlds: it has a schedule-based AutoUpdater that will scan the folders that correspond to the catalogue automatically. That means that, if you remove a file in the Finder, the automatic updater will remove the pointer at a set time and date in the database as well. As the AutoUpdater is flexible, you can set the database to update every minute if that’s what you wish. Mind you, the NeoFinder app must be running for this to work; there’s no system extension or anything to listen in the background — and potentially cause software conflicts.
File cataloguing always comes with things you don’t expect. For example, not all the catalogued files are perhaps the ones you want to focus on. Still, they will show up, because Settings panel can only proactively manage often-used file types. However, NeoFinder gives you a power user method to get rid of those files by creating an XML settings file with the exceptions that are unique to your workflow. You dump that file in the folder where the database is located and NeoFinder does the rest.
Thumbnails are automatically created of a wide variety of photo and video formats, including RAW, PDF, EPS, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and even the recent Affinity Publisher. NeoFinder 7 will even generate Audio thumbnails.
The app has a built-in XMP editor for photo and video files, including ratings, keywords, descriptions and more, and it will read and use photo, video and audio metadata, including IPTC and EXIF, GPS geotags, etc. There’s even a map that shows where photos were taken and that allows you to geotag images right from within the database.
The XMP editor does not offer as many editable fields as Photo Mechanic 6 does, nor does it allow you to use ITPC fields from the huge number of available ones, but the app does support the most common fields as used by both amateurs and pros.
Furthermore, NeoFinder will read Person metadata that other catalogue apps have written to the Adobe XMP dataset. Person metadata added by Apple’s iPhoto and other apps that support the metadataworkinggroup.com and iptc.org structures designed for image regions and names are also indexed.
That will allow you to initiate a “Find Faces” search in a NeoFinder database. The app’s broader search capabilities are just as powerful. You can search the entire library for duplicates — although, in this area, an app like PhotoSweeper will give you more control over the process — but also for specific file types using criteria that change with the type of file you’re searching for.
For professional photographers and video creators, NeoFinder supports the creation and verification of industrial-strength MD5 FileCheck checksums to ensure data integrity. And a nice touch is that you can print barcode labels for labelling catalogued disks.
There’s a lot more to NeoFinder 7 than I can cover in this review, but let me wrap it up by sharing my enthusiasm with you for the software’s many powerful capabilities, not just for photos and video clips, but also for other data/content files on your system. Most catalogue apps that support all file types perform OK but excel at none. NeoFinder 7 excels at everything it supports. It’s cheap too, at $39.99 with cross-grades offered for the app’s upgrade price ($25!).
There’s only one thing that I personally could wish for and that’s a design that better matches other current macOS apps. NeoFinder’s design, on the other hand, looks a bit aged. But that’s also a matter of taste; besides, an app shouldn’t change face too often as old-time users will often hate that.