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Expressions Media - how to proceed?
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Author Topic: Expressions Media - how to proceed?  (Read 20394 times)
Rick McCleary
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« on: May 21, 2007, 07:49:40 AM »

The reading I've done suggests that Expressions Media offers vitually no functional advantage over iView3.  Additionally, Beardy's comments in another thread point to a problem on the Windows platform selecting items in the Organize panel.  With things as they are, what is the recommendation to someone who is just adopting DAM -- buy iView3, or take a chance on Expressions?  (The person seeking my advice is on Windows.)

As a long-term Mac user, I'm quite happy to continue to use iView3 well into the foreseeable future.

A bit of a rant:
It absolutley blows my mind that a company the size of MS can take a perfectly good piece of software (iView) and break it on their own platform.  There's no doubt that the bugs will be resolved, but the public relations cost is significant.
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Dierk
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 08:16:46 AM »

Somebody who has not yet invested should first of all have a trial of at least MediaPro/Expression Media, iMatch and IDimager. Whatever fits him at the moment best should be bought - unless it lacks major functionality for him.

If you hold a loaded gun against my head and ask me again, I'd [currently] say: 'Don't get MediaPro or Expression media; the latter is more buggy than the last offical release of the former.' With both direct contenders mentioned being much cheaper, as capable, and in the case of IDimager better supported [i.e. much quicker response to bugs and feature requests] it begins to look like a no-brainer to avoid MediaPro.

This comes from someone who really like MediaPro, still thinks it's the best on the market, and who does not hold Microsoft responsible for the sad state somebody's presumed universe is in.
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Dierk

IDimager on Windows XP/SP2; 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, loads of storage space.
Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
johnbeardy
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 08:47:02 AM »

Well, you know it's really a clever MS plot to make Mac users go round feeling all smug and superior. That'll make a nice change, won't it?

More seriously, I'm staggered by this and cannot use EM on Windows in its current state. I'd recommend getting iView and waiting till EM/Windows is fixed.

Apart from the Organize panel issue, both platforms have the problem with the namespaces which I've hinted at elsewhere. EM reads and writes to a new EM namespace, but doesn't even read the old iView namespace. So, if you switched to EM, your catalogue would open just fine but you'd have to sync out metadata to DNGs or other originals, writing to the new EM namespace, before you create any derivatives from them. Otherwise, the derivatives would not have catalog sets or the other iView metadata. I'm in direct contact with the team in Seattle and will report what I can.

John
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frankgindc
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 10:10:45 AM »

John,

I can't imagine anyone (PC or Mac) who sprung $130+ bucks for iView to be smug about anything to do with this product and its recent release.  Not to mention all the work keying in catalog sets on thousands of images.   Frankly, I should have seen this EM B.S. coming from a mile away.  For example, have they fixed the 1310 error yet?  Have they even put the 2gig catalog limit into their documentation yet?  You can see references to this stuff in the user forums going back to 2004!! 

I'm no PC or Microsoft basher -- in fact, I'm a bit disappointed with the Mac options for DAM and have considered switching platforms, in part, b/c of that.   In any case, MS certainly didn't do itself any favors with this release but I wouldn't place all the blame on them -- in fact, I wonder how happy they are with their acquisition.  Most of the bugs and lack of functionality have been around since LONG before MS acquired the product.   And they're still there with this new release?!  Perhaps the team should have started from scratch.

Many of us have been in a holding pattern on this for quite some time -- holding out hope that EM would clean itself up with this long awaited 2Q release (our "free" upgrade).  Looks like that's not happening anytime soon.  I'm thinking it would be better -- and far less frustrating -- to go with a DAM program that is less robust now but looks like it's going in the right direction.   EM doesn't look like that program and hasn't for quite a while.  They're not even making a convincing case for it themselves.  The fact that the PC version is even worse off than the Mac version is even more disheartening for what it says about EMs direction and organization.

Really, this Mac user is not feeling smug at all -- but feeling like a sucker. 

Frank
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roberte
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007, 02:13:32 PM »

Hi,

I still recommend iView. I am sure Microsoft will fix the newly introduced bugs and squash long standing ones. If the latter v1.1 doesn't happen until Q4 2007 or Q1 2008 then Microsoft should let current users update for free. MS should make this loud and clear right now.

Have a look at how Mediadex have handled their v2 upgrade. I have. This is a real upgrade with a lot of new, useful features for photographers and designers and is free for current v1 users. Unfortunately it still handles like a spreadsheet application.

In my business it's far easier and more profitable to keep current customers than pitch for new ones. Then again who am I to suggest business practises to the most successful businessman in the world?

-- Robert.
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2007, 10:07:43 PM »

Rick,
As others have suggested, I think the best course of action right now is to sit tight.

On a positive note, Beardy has figured out a way to migrate Catalog sets to Lightroom in an experimental-not-to-be-released-to-the-public-but-nice-to-know-that-it-works kind of way.

Lets hope *all* of them (and others) get it together so that we have real choices.
Peter
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billseymour
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« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2007, 05:22:36 PM »

I guess I've been away from all of this- could someone briefly summarize what is getting everybody so upset about regarding iView and Expressions? I'm into my trial period with iView (finally), like it a lot, and figured it would be safe to go with it (using a new Dell xps system with Vista, plenty of ram, etc).

Thanks for any info- if there are good threads here that summarize the problems, pointing them out would be most helpful.
Bill
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billseymour
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2007, 04:26:43 AM »

I also meant to ask-
What do some of the other experienced forum members think a 'first time DAM software buyer' should do at this time? (The buyer being me, with a Vista system) 'Sitting tight' is good advice for someone who is already set up with a DAM system, but what about the new buyer?

I am aware of the importance (as both Peter and John have emphasized) of going with a package that allows exporting, thus permitting the famous 'serial monogamy' scenario of being able to migrate to another program.

To ask plainly: for a new DAM buyer, Vista user, in this apparently uncertain iView time, should I be going with idImager at present, and avoid the iView issues right now?
Bill
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Dierk
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2007, 08:20:21 AM »

What's upsetting us [particularly very loyal MediaPro users]:

The current version 1 of Expression Media, available as trial and touted by Microsoft as being the final release version, is not completely compatible with MediaPro 3.1.x. It also switches off some functionality [possibly for a good reason, we don't know], does not implement anything new except some icons, has several obvious bugs retained [countering the notion this is a major bug fix release], seems to have come up with some new serious bugs. Some trialists report MEM v1 is less stable or robust than the last MP version [3.1.3].


My advice for new DAM users is in my last message before this, some 7 posts above. Be advised that you can never be sure about the future [except that we all die some day], it is possible that IDimager will go the way of the Dodo, too. If MP 3.1.3 is close to a perfect solution for you, by all means buy it before it is taken off the market. Just wait before upgrading to MEM.
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Dierk

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Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
Rick McCleary
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2007, 12:05:07 PM »

I am aware of the importance (as both Peter and John have emphasized) of going with a package that allows exporting, thus permitting the famous 'serial monogamy' scenario of being able to migrate to another program.

To ask plainly: for a new DAM buyer, Vista user, in this apparently uncertain iView time, should I be going with idImager at present, and avoid the iView issues right now?
Bill

There are no issues with iView. 

The issues are with the Microsoft "upgrade" of iView known as Expressions Media.  As you can read in a variety of posts in this thread, the Microsoft "upgrade" is actually several giant steps backwards.

So, the take-away message here is to buy iView, not Expressions.  The work you do in iView is portable in the event you want to migrate to another program.  Whatever Microsoft does from this point forward is not going to cripple the copy of iView that you already have (or will soon purchase!)

I take Peter's advice to dive into iView and sit tight.  No doubt that we'll hear here first when it's time to move on.
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roberte
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2007, 06:11:08 PM »

Hi,

As Rick so succinctly put it buy iView and sit tight. iView makes it relatively painless to migrate to another DAM application whether that is Expression Media, Lightroom, Idimager, Portfolio, etc. The key is to have your information structure set up for future migration. There's a book somewhere on that part.

With DAM the grass is always greener on the other app and probably always will be. There is no penalty for flirting with other DAM apps to see what they are like, just as you may be doing with RAW converters.

-- Robert.
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frankgindc
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2007, 10:37:15 AM »

I would respectfully disagree.  For starts, I think the penalty for flirting among different programs (DAM and RAW converters) is time -- becoming your own IT "bug workaround" specialist is no fun at all.    I haven't been very happy with iView from the start (last fall) and was actually sitting tight for the "free upgrade" to EM.  I might have agreed with the "sit tight" advice before but now this EM upgrade, but all accounts, is a flop.  My main beef with iView as it stands is the catalog size limitation and the associated 1310 error, which has been around for at least three years, as well as persistent and general bugginess -- lots and lots of crashes.  It also doesn't have some of basic functionality of other DAM programs that have been upgraded in the last year.

I suppose time will tell, but my biggest problem with iView is that it's been giving off a stench of death for months now.   I hope that's not putting too fine a point on it, but they've been standing still and that is the same thing in this business.  It's not a train that I would advise jumping on for $130 with the hope that it will get better...when?   

I would advise not spending anything on iView or EM right now and jump in only if and when it actually gets better.  There's no telling how much they'll be charging for a future upgrade that is actually an upgrade so I wouldn't even say for sure that there is much benefit to getting a foot in it now.  They are a long long way from being able to charge $299 for this.

Instead, I'd avoid iView altogether.  I would maybe buy Lightroom (I have) and wait for it to get better in the DAM dept, something that I have confidence in, or go with iMatch.

I'm not an expert in any of this, but that's my humble opinion.  iView just feels wrong.

Frank

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roberte
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2007, 02:52:15 AM »

Hi Frank,

Thanks for the mark of respect Wink.

Today the best DAM for photographers is iView MediaPro. Lightroom might be there one day, as may Aperture, Portfolio, Mediadex, FotoStation... even Expression Media. But right now iView is King. That's not just my humble opinion but the voice of many experienced professionals.

Holding off buying a DAM in case something better comes along is akin to not buying a DSLR because there's rumour a new one is in the wings. While I know you aren't suggesting Rick wait I do think investing your time in any application that is not yet mature may be a bad one. People with a small set of images on one computer could get by with Lightroom and hope Adobe extend its DAM capabilities (with caveats underlined). iView is a mature product with a proven track record - warts and all.

-- Robert.
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frankgindc
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2007, 02:22:36 PM »

Robert,

I hear you, especially if someone already has a huge load of images ingested into iView.  It also depends on how much someone wants to spend in the next 6 to 12 mos on digital photography "stuff" -- that is not a camera or a lens.   

Personnally, I'd say that if someone is starting anew and has about $200 to spend over the next year on DAM stuff, then I'd recommend going with Lightroom, hands down:  it's quite good at image tweaking, good web stuff, DAM stuff is already decnet and reportedly getting a significant upgrade, and the next upgrade should be out very shortly.  Just watching how that program went from beta to beta to v1.0 gave me confidence to jump on it now. 

On the other hand, if a person has already sunk their cash and their images into iView then a "sit tight" strategy makes alot of sense -- especially for iView's apparent strengths on being able to export and migrate stuff later.   I just would have a hard time recommending that someone start fresh with iView now:  Even if it comes on strong over the next year, I suspect a person would be able to jump on it later for not too much money.  And iView/EM does end up actually selling for $300, then someone could spend that money with confidence.

I'm actually in between:  I've already sunk cash into both programs and have my images catalogued in iView.  But I'm expecting that if things over the next two months continue on the same track that it'll become obvious that I should start migrating my images out of iView into Lightroom.

Frank
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Dierk
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 11:06:12 PM »

I'd look for another cataloguer instead of a RAW converter with some nice browsing features. With $ 200 set for such an application you get iMatch and IDimager, both very capable programs, and still have a bit left for, say, a memory card.
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Dierk

IDimager on Windows XP/SP2; 3.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, loads of storage space.
Other: Nikon D2x, Nikon D200, Capture NX 2, Adobe Creative Suite 3
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