I have been more than just a little disappointed and frustrated with the Microsoft supplied Windows Store Photo App for Windows 8 because I have tons of digital images stored on networked drives that are nearly impossible to view in the Microsoft default app. The MS Photos app is great if your digital photos are stored on the local computer in the default location and/or somewhere on one of the supported cloud providers, SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr, etc.
The problem for people like me who are hobbyist photographers is the non feasibility of putting everything in the cloud (even if I desired to do this, multi terabytes of storage would cost me dearly). Coupled with the weak functionality of the MS Photos App for someone who wants to view EXIF information, etc. on individual images, caching issues on the Photos App live tile (delete something in Pictures and unless you delete personal info from ALL LIVE TILES from the Start Screen using Charms, Settings, Tiles, clear personal information, the deleted content refuses to disappear) have frustrated me to a fare thee well.
So I’ve been looking around for a Windows Store App that fit my needs. I found an app called Gallery HD from Frozen Volcano that solves a lot of my problems. In a lot of ways, it’s what the MS App should have been.
I’ve added 10 folders so far. You drill down in a Windows Media Center like manner and more functionality is revealed.
Swipe up or right click to reveal a menu of options as shown above.
Select Properties, and if EXIF info is available, it is displayed.
You can share with other apps easily as well.
Initial setup is pretty easy, your default Pictures library will be auto-populated, but the file picker easily lets you add other local locations, including removable media.
Adding networked resources is a little more difficult if you do not use a Homegroup, as you need to know the UNC path (the format is \\computername\foldername), which is the same issue as found on the default Microsoft Photos App, but at least an interface is provided for you to enter this information.
Gallery HD has a Live Tile which cycles through mini collages of your digital images (this is one area where I prefer the method used by the Microsoft app).
You will only get one day to try this app, but after two hours, I spent the $2.99 to get the ad free version. I figure the $2.99 versus the extreme frustration with the MS App speaks for itself. I wish Microsoft would have provided a better free solution for such a high profile application, but I certainly appreciate what the folks at Frozen Volcano have done to put me out of my misery.
I note that the Gallery HD app is also supposed to handle Video, but I have not experimented with that aspect of the app yet.
Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote a little about the newly released Microsoft RAW Codec. One of the first things I did was try my latest batch of Nikon RAW NEF files from a balloon festival earlier this month. I had so-so results, especially inside Windows Media Center, where thumbnails appeared, but after selecting an individual image file, WMC could not display it. This set of images was shot with a D7000 DX camera, in order to take advantage of the longer reach of FX lenses used with it. I normally carry both a D700 and a D7000.
As it turns out, for whatever reason, the Microsoft RAW Codec does not support the D7000. I’m not sure why, since Adobe and others now support it, and the D7000 has been available since mid October 2010.
Anyway, if you have a supported camera, the new codec most definitely is supported inside Windows Media Center if you want to view your RAW images there. You won’t get detailed EXIF info in View Details, but you certainly can display your images on a large screen. The screen capture below shows one of the folders (highlighted) from an Orchid Show I attended in 2009 where I shot with my D700 and the Nikon 105mm Macro lens. Thumbnails appear as expected.
Today Microsoft released a Codec Camera Pack which brings (long overdue) limited support for various RAW formats from the major camera vendors. While most RAW shooters use more substantial tools (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.) for manipulating images, Microsoft has provided a download for both 32 and 64 bit Windows that allows viewing RAW formats in Windows Live Photo Gallery and some basic image manipulation, mostly rotate and resize. You can, however, copy a NEF to JPG format and edit it inside WLPG, but that is not the same as editing a native NEF (or other RAW format file) inside Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. This may be good enough for casual photographers.
Below is a screen shot in Windows Explorer Tile view of some Nikon NEF RAW images which is where I looked first. Note the generic Windows Live Photo Gallery icons, but please read further
June 22 press release from Toshiba announces an effort to “ promote a new SD card that integrates Wi-Fi wireless communication with data storage capabilities. The forum, the "Standard Promotion Forum for Memory Cards Embedding Wireless LAN"* has been founded by Toshiba and Singapore-based Trek 2000 International Ltd.. ‘
But they want to make this 802.11b/g and not the faster 802.11n (which is backwards compatible with b/g.
As any photographer knows, RAW files are huge, and even the JPEGs at Fine and Super-Fine resolutions are pretty big.
Eye-FI has done it right and offers SDHC cards that utilize 802.11n.
Why in the world would Toshiba (or anyone else for that matter) want to slow people down? This may be a price based decision. I sure have no interest.
If someone knows where I can buy the Apple iPad Camera Connector, PLEASE let me know. I just grabbed another brass ring off the iPad carousel.
Eye-Fi on its own is cool enough. Send digital photos from your camera to your desktop via 802.11n (2.4 GHz only) for editing, to various online photo sharing sites, Facebook, and so on. It sure beats connecting cables or removing cards from a camera.
I thought that the advertised free iPhone app for Eye-Fi (available in the App Store of course) might be useful on my iPad since its function is to send photos from the iPhone via 3G to your desktop or a supported online photo sharing site (Facebook, Flickr, MobileMe, Picasa, Smugmug). And I was right.
Surprisingly, there was virtually no setup to speak up. You authenticate by entering the credentials for your Eye Fi account and the little app “just works”. Once I logged in, the computer showed an additional tab on the left labelled iPhone (which I promptly changed to iPad). A settings window popped right up (and it can be accessed at any time) that let me specify a folder hierarchy and type and some other options.
Back on the iPad, since there is no camera and because I don’t yet have my hands on the camera connector for iPad, I was able to upload photos stored on the device. I used this feature to take the screen captures I made of the Eye Fi functionality on the iPad and send them to my desktop for editing and inclusion in this post.
Well, I can’t take a photo with the iPad as I said, but I sure can choose an existing photo and upload it. I just selected my Saved Pictures folder on the iPad and selected three images. The two above and one showing all the saved screen shots (appears below as iPhone005.JPG inside the Windows Explorer image).
I could tell the image uploads were completed via both a tool tip in the system and the Eye-Fi center window below.
Here’s the Windows Explorer view.
Yup, this is way cool. I really want to get my hands on that iPad Camera Connector. I’m relishing the thought of all my pictures being uploaded and ready for editing on the home computer when I walk in the front door at the end of a day of photo shooting.