Meet Photo Mechanic Plus, the database-driven photo management solution for professional photographers and photo journalists

Photo Mechanic Plus is a new version of the application for ingesting, managing and processing image files before and after you edit them. The Plus version includes all the features of Photo Mechanic with the addition of an image database for making catalogues of every photo you’ve collected on both online and offline storage.

Professional photographers and photo journalists around the world use Photo Mechanic Plus to quickly and easily ingest images and update them with rich IPTC compliant metadata. With Photo Mechanic you never have to guess what’s in an image provided you fill in the fields that matter to you from the many, many metadata fields the app supports. Photo Mechanic Plus builds further on that foundation.

The database functionality is simply a different way to browse, find and manage your files, regardless of whether the images are located on a mounted disk drive, an offline RAID or NAS, or in the cloud. The interface design is pretty much the same as Photo Mechanic’s, with a number of additional icons, buttons and panels.

To start using the database features, you first let PhotoMechanic Plus scan the drives and folders you wish to add. The app then creates thumbnails and medium-res/medium-sized versions of your images so that, when you unmount a volume, the highest performance is guaranteed. With my test app on a mid-2017 iMac 27in/3.4GHz i5 only, in catalog mode and 1632 RAW images found and listed in under a minute, I needed to disable the Render Cache in the Preferences first. After I did that, the medium-sized thumbnail creation took place on the fly and quickly.

Scanning an SSD was very fast. It took less than half an hour to scan over 9000 pictures that included TIFF’s, DNG’s, ARW and JPEG files.

The Plus version, thanks to a highly performing database, made browsing those 9000 photos very smooth. Browsing, however, is perhaps the least interesting way to go through your database. It does split up your experience in, for example, all images in a specific year, or only the ones that have been tagged, or with a certain label, etc. Still, it’s filtering and searching that will get the most out of your collection.

Searches can be simple or complex and since you’re now searching a database, it’s fast and allows you to find images across devices, mounted or not. Of course, when you search for identical images regularly, Photo Mechanic Plus allows you to save such searches for later reuse.

Photo Mechanic Plus comes with filters, which is another way to quickly find images. Filters are more or less the same as predefined and optimized searches that let you browse your files by date, camera, lens, rating, colour class, and more. Filters come in handy if you are the forgetful type who sometimes skips filling in the metadata fields.

If Photo Mechanic Plus were to let you roam the database as one giant pool only, it would still not be of much use, but the app luckily also supports catalogs. Catalogs are more or less the same as in Capture One Pro. They can be image collections based on date range, project type or subject, or whatever it is that you like to organize your database into.

Finally, Collections are for combining images from multiple folders or drives into cohesive units to keep yourself organized.

I found Photo Mechanic Plus an incredibly powerful offering. The only thing I would be able to criticise is that the interface has become a bit outdated. On Big Sur that is certainly the case. On the other hand, Photo Mechanic’s look immediately feels at home and I can find my way around it blindfolded. Perhaps those are the reasons the folks at Camera Bits seem to believe that’s more important and more worthy of their time and effort than having translucent sidebars and rounded square icons.

A new licence currently retails at $229 directly from Camera Bits’s website. The list price is $399. An upgrade from Photo Mechanic Pro 6 costs $90.

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