The creators of this tool claim that it is the primary choice of “thousands of professional photographers and serious amateur photographers worldwide” for image management and after checking out what is on offer, it seems there may be some credibility to that claim. The latest incarnation comes with no less than 38 bug fixes and a handful of new features. So what makes it the choice of so many high-end users?
iMatch is a database-driven image manager. The first thing you do when using the program is define your database, which will store all of your images, together with detailed information about their name, dimensions, file size, and the date on which they were taken. This is an essential part of the process and can take some time if you have a large collection of photos to begin with. Luckily there is a wizard to guide you through the process, which would ideally lead to a smooth set-up but on our first attempt the program crashed as it was trying to create the database. Not exactly great for all those pros.
By creating a new database, iMatch also makes thumbnails for each image, andthese are used for browsing your collection. There are plenty of obscurely-named buttons on the main interface that are slightly too small to represent anything in particular. Among them you will actually find some great tools, such as the scripting manager, which will make life easier for some of the more arduous tasks you may have in mind, such as cropping all your images or creating a HTML slideshow. There are also some editing tools that will save you having to switch to another program to transform, resize, rotate, or apply visual effects to images. The quality of these tools is debatable and because of the lack of a real-time preview, and most pros will probably want to stick with their tried-and-tested copy of Photoshop for any touch up work.
We liked the ideas behind iMatch; it is a powerhouse for managing large quantities of images and offers some truly useful features that would not only appeal to the pro user, but photo-editing rookies as well. However, the interface is in bad need of a fresh look and we can’t help but feel that there are several alternatives out there that carry out the same role better. (See ACDSee Photo Manager or XnView)