Phase One Media Pro 1.2 review

If Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s shiny new Lightroom 4 haven’t grabbed your attention for photo management and workflow then here’s the alternative from Phase One in the form of Media Pro.

Photos can be imported into a catalogue library from the iPhoto library, the Pictures/Movies folder or from a folder you specify. Once in there, they can be rated from one to five starts or given colour tags to help with searching for types, or quality, of images later.

The images are viewed as resizable thumbnails, although you can see a file list if required. The full range of search and sorting is quite comprehensive and includes keywords, events, dates, author, file properties and locations. You can also create notes about each image and use the batch processing to perform basic tasks on lots of files at once.

Specific images can be displayed full size, or on the light table, which uses a smaller window and then a plethora of shortcuts to display the histogram, zoom in and add tags.

The functions on offer from the Image Editor are limited and also fairly basic. Here the Levels are being adjusted

The most useful shortcut is to bring up a second image to the light table so similar images can be compared for selection. The lack of actual icons and use of key presses instead does make for a cruder experience though. This is compounded when using the Image Editor section.

Instead of the detailed and sophisticated options of rival packages, there’s a pop-up menu offering to crop, resize, transform and rotate, remove grain and redeye, convert to duotone, adjust saturation, colour balance and colour levels and invert. Clicking on one of these then brings up the selected image full size with the adjustment dialogue box, though really, it would be better that when selecting Image Editor, the currently selected image appeared full size first so you see what needed to be done, then selected the appropriate tool.

Strangely, the Color Levels tool is actually a standard Levels adjustment, not colour as such. The adjustments lack a basic Curves function and there’s no layers, masking or brushing for specific touching up. There are good annotation facilities and export functions to slideshows and a PDF maker, contact sheet, HTML gallery, or text and XML data file.

OUR VERDICT

As a fast and simpler alternative to Aperture and Lightroom, there would be some merit to Media Pro, but unfortunately it’s far too expensive when both rivals are cheaper and considerably better.

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