I have said that I have an interest in photography and I use Linux. Naturally my photographs are processed on Linux. In fact last week I ranted on about the supply of software for Linux systems. I had used the services of fotoinsight to produce a photo booklet. This was such a success I tried two more! So thanks to the chaps at fotoinsight they have made my family happy and supported Linux. Now my family can see my photographs so I need to improve.
There are lots of columns and articles describing photographic software available for Linux. I have tired most of it but do keep looking. In fact I have just lashed out on a commercial product, LightZone, but I am not going to tip you off about the advantages I think it presents. I do still look around for the perfect Free solution. I have not found it but I have found a gem that almost does what I want. I want something to organise my workflow. Geeqie is a fork of the GQview project. I like it. It is quick and simple. I found it very quick to review a shooting session. Problems? Of course it does not do all I want.
There is little to complain about in Geeqie other than its simplicity. This is also its strength. The authors appear to have written a specification and stuck to it. Admirable. I can see how the software could be improved. That is not too difficult as it lacks a lot of features that I would want. Most of these are available if I use the link that allows me to use the GIMP (or any other image editor) to edit my photographs. The problems are not with Geeqie but with my demands.
What are my problems with the software? I want to change a whole batch of RAW files to JPEG. This is a normal thing for those of us that shoot RAW, our friends often cannot see the photographs if we send them a RAW file (as well as saving lot of bandwidth). I have not yet found a method of converting the RAW files to JPEG in this software. On the other hand the software is the fastest way to review a shoot I have! That is praise I cannot express too loudly.
My second complaint is on Printing to a boarderless 6x4 (snap size) results in a small white margin at the bottom, left and right of the picture even though I have reduced the margins to 0. This is a common problem for me with Linux and printing boarderless prints so possibly not down to Geeqie. You have to get the frame size ratio to match the paper size ration, much easier for the program to allow a little bleed. When all boarders are zero then it is probably best just size the image so that the image covers the whole area and bleed off a couple of pixels on one edge. The biggest problem is that resizing the image is not possible, so boarderless printing is a no go area. I also got a black and white copy rather than colour but I was confused by the printer selections so it could be me. I would not use it to print photographs as it was too much hassle. This is probably the biggest flaw.
The last complaint is just about lack of editing features. I am sure more simple additional 'edits' will come in later versions. I would need just 2 basic 'edits'. The most important would be format conversion, RAW to JPEG is important for me. Cropping would be useful, if only to get around the boarderless print problem. Others would be nice. If like me you use the on camera flash because it is too much trouble to get out that expensive plastic brick that weighs down the backpack then red-eye removal help is a must. Sharpening is a boost for most shots. Exposure and colour adjustments are often wanted so a simple first hit method would be nice. OK I can do all this in the GIMP but when a quick fix is required it is very slow to use from Geeqie.
With all these problems what does it do? Well first it does not require pictures to be imported into a database. It uses directories and files or this is the default mode. That is my own preferred method of filing my photographs so it suits me. You can choose to use collections. The tools are all there for the user to make their own choice. (Did I say this was simple software?)
The view pane can be structured to almost whatever you want. There are three basic panes. The image, the tools (and directory selection) and the files (image selector). You can see your photographs and decide if they are up to scratch and viewing them is fast. Since installing the software I have started to use this a quick method of reviewing a shooting session. I keep all my shots in directories based on the shooting session. Working like this makes Geeqie in folder mode work for me. Once in a shoot the thumb nails and first image are available in a flash. Even on my modest laptop it displays a session with a pace that I could only hope for.
You can get at the information your camera stored with the picture, the date and time and exposure information should all be available via the EXIF window. You can also overlay the image with a subset of the information and add a histogram of the exposure if you want. You can even show the RGB values of any pixel that the cursor happens to be on.
You can tag the photograph with a numeric mark from 1 to 6 and display the tags in the file list. You can add titles and keywords to each photograph. All this will make searches easier when you need to find a shot that you need. I admit this is where I am less than rigorous and will never keep up this matching of a shot to a keyword but the facility is there if I should choose to use it.
It is simple software! Simple in that it only does what it sets out to. Simple in that it is structured in its efforts. It is this simplicity that most of today's offerings should attempt to emulate. I can only recommend that you look at Geeqie if you use a Unix like operating system.The version I am looking at is Geeqie 1.0 beta 1. If like me you use RAW then the speed is as good as I have seen, Bibble and LightZone included. I can say that if I had seen this before I purchased LightZone it may have saved me money (but I do like LightZone, for exposure correction there is nothing better IMHO)! I expect that by version 2 Geeqie will be my preferred tool! I am already using it for the 1st review of a shoot. If they add a few basic edits and fix the printing then it will become more than a review tool. This tool has the chance of becoming the best Linux workflow tool about. Personally I think it is now, even with the limited features.