Photosmith 2.0 Review

I consider myself an early adopter of Photosmith. Not that I had access to a beta version or anything like that. No, it is just because I have been blogging about this iPad app for quite a while. It actually was one of the two main reasons why I switched from Aperture to Lightroom about a year ago.

I have been following the Photosmith blog announcing the arrival of  version 2.0. So, when the application was finally available on the AppStore for upgrade, I quickly downloaded it and put it to test.

And I was not disappointed.

First off, kudos to the developers for making this a free upgrade. They could have easily defaulted on this by calling the app “Photosmith Pro” for example. Honorable of them.

To start with, I will confess to liking rich user interfaces. I do not mind complex UIs – I did not say complicated UIs. When, I was looking at switching from Aperture to Lightroom, a lot was being said about LR’s interface not being as clean as the one of Aperture. Me, I kind of like Lightroom’s interface.

This is all to say that I like the Photosmith UI. It shows that the developers have put a lot of thought into it.

For example, I like how the  interface follows my mobile workflow: import, catalog, tag and share. And when gestures are required,  they feel natural and, more importantly, responsive (granted that I work on a New iPad with 64GB).

Also, the interface provides plenty of what I call “just in time help”. This help is in the form of additional text within the dialog box or sometimes even a link to their web site. Some may argue that this replaces a good design. I say, when you access less often used commands, the more assistance the better.

From the UI perspective, not everything is perfect.

For example, say you selected a few pictures but no longer wish to keep that selection. You have to uncheck a small check box at the top left of the grid. It actually works as a three way toggle: selected, not selected and partially selected. This last state is shown with a check box that is slightly smaller and darker than the “full” selection check box – not too obvious.

From a performance point of view, import is also much faster and does not crash like with version 1. Maybe it is faster simply because of the New iPad :). Nevertheless, I will no longer worry about to being able to import a large batch of pictures.

The iPad API limits what an application can do. One of these limitations is the inability to delete pictures from a third party app. The folks at Photosmith came up with an interesting work around by creating a Rejected collection.

That works well, except that I did not yet catch how to delete the rejected pictures from the iPad. I thought that the app would have created a Rejected Photo App album, but it does not appear to be so. I will have to read on this. Maybe a little more “just in time help” like I was talking about would help here.

You can import from an iPad album (which itself can be created by importing pictures with the the Camera Connector Kit) or from a wireless Eye-Fi card. The Eye-Fi support is huge for mobile photographers. Great addition. I still have to test this.

Photosmith has a kind-of smart album that shows pics from the last import session. I say “kind-of” because, smart albums are not yet supported. At first I could not figure out how to select all pics from the last import. Now that I figured out the triple state check mark I spoke about before, I no longer am looking at how to select all picture from the last import – a “challenge” of mine at first.

In summary Photosmith answers my needs for a mobile photographer workflow. It imports my pictures, allows me to rate reject some,rate the others ans tag them with keywords before syncing it all with Lightroom once I am back at my desk.

No other app does this For the iPad. Great stuff. Seriously.

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2 Responses to Photosmith 2.0 Review

  1. scubasimon says:

    Thank you for this blog entry. I am also looking at the possibility of using Photosmith on my iPad as a way to quickly select images that I want to keep while travelling without the need for lugging my notebook around. There are a few things that is unclear at the moment:
    1. How would you actually get photos into Photosmith? It sounds like there will be multiple copies of the same image because one copy is in the iPad album and one copy in Photosmith?
    2. How would you perform simple photo corrections in the iPad and have that carry over?
    3. Does this application work with Nikon NEF files? I shoot only in RAW and am unclear if this works well.
    4. How would you clear out the Photosmith album once the images are copied back into Lightroom?

    It does sound like a good app…just a few nagging questions for me here.

    • maximegousse says:

      PS does not make a full copy of the image it imports, only a thumbnail.

      Image corrections do not carry over / sync with computer. Only keywords and rating.

      I shoot NEF and it works.

      Once done, you simply ask PS to delete our local album

      Voila 🙂

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