The Fastest Way To View And Cull Thousands Of Raw Photos Is Now 100% Free For Fstoppers Readers

Lightroom has become the industry standard for editing images quickly but when it comes to viewing and culling images, it's still incredibly slow.  On1 has recently launched Perfect Browse 9.5 as the fastest way to burn through hundreds or thousands of raw files and then import your favorites into Lightroom for editing. Oh, and did I mention, it's totally free for Fstoppers readers right now. 

As a wedding photographer, I tend to shoot thousands of images at a time. Before I can edit anything, I need to go through each image one by one, delete the bad ones, and figure out which images are actually worth editing/delivering. Lightroom is notoriously slow at loading raw files and therefore, culling thousands of images can take hours. Even if each image takes just 1 second to load, that extra time could add an hour to your workflow. In some cases with slower computers and larger files, each image can take longer than 5 seconds to load which in turn can add hours to your editing process. 

I recently downloaded On1's Perfect Browse 9.5 and installed it on my computer. I moved 233 D810 raw files (around 70MB each and 16.2GB total) into a folder on my SSD C: drive and then opened the software. The software itself took about 3 seconds to load. I then imported the photos and the software seemed to hang for about 5 seconds and then BOOM, every raw file thumbnail instantly appeared. I double clicked on an image and it became full screen without any hesitation. I tapped the right arrow key on the keyboard and the next image appeared instantly. I then held the right arrow key down and I saw hundreds of raw files flying across my screen without any sort of lag. Zooming in 100% on any image (something that I almost never do while culling) is the only thing that took any time at all at around 4-6 seconds. I opened up my task manager (yes I use Windows) and I kept an eye on the Ram usage of Perfect Browse and it appeared to be using right around 3GB of RAM to keep all 233 images ready at a moments notice. 

In case you were wondering, the star rating system in Perfect Browse carries over to Lightroom making complex categorizing extremely quick as well. Obviously we all wish that Lightroom was capable of shuttling through raw files at these kinds of speeds but until that day comes, Perfect Browse 9.5 is the fastest and most simple way to view and cull large amounts of raw files that I've ever used. 

Luckily you don't have to take my word for it. We've teamed up with On1 to allow every Fstoppers reader to have this $60 software for free. This offer will not be around forever so if you are interested, jump on this now. Download it here for free, give it a try, and let us know how you like it in the comments below. 

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Lloyd Geist's picture

Norton AntiVirus scanned and removed the download and flagged it as a virus.

Lloyd Geist's picture

Threat identified by Norton as WS.Reputation.1

Joshua Boldt's picture

Like many other software packages, they recommend the first step to installing is to turn off or temporarily disable your antivirus software. It is pretty normal for antivirus to find false positives in new software packages (especially Norton), and this download is very new. On1 submits all their installers to all the major AV brands so it should clear up within a couple days. When you are downloading from a big company like this you can safely ignore alerts like you are getting. If you are downloading from a site you aren't sure of, you should be more wary.

Note that the WS.Reputation.1 is Norton's worst classification and even they don't really listen to it...

Steffen Harris's picture

Get rid of Norton. :) Norton is terrible. I work in IT and I see more customers with Norton get viruses than people without any virus protection at all.

Bixby Bautista's picture

I downloaded and installed it before finishing the first paragraph of this post (lol). Thanks Lee!

Ariel Martini's picture

Lightroom CAN be used with no lag for culling, just follow this:
- Import and apply presets
- Go to library grid mode (key "G")
- Select all photos and go to menu Library - Previews - Build Standard Sized Previews
Although it takes some minutes to complete, now moving from photo to photo in Library mode is instant. Not in develop mode though.

Anonymous's picture

The only problem with this process is that it can take a long time to build the 1:1 previews, especially on a 1500 RAW file wedding.

Ariel Martini's picture

If you don't usually zoom to 100%, you don't need 1:1. standard sized will do, and it's faster to build. It have to be larger than your window size though, set it on Catalog Settings > File Handling > Standard Preview Size

Anonymous's picture

With the On1 App, you just view the files and instantly have 1:1 access. It will save hours off the Adobe preview-building workflow on a large shoot.

Mike Padua's picture

Okay, here's a quirk (in comparison with Photo Mechanic) if you shoot RAW + JPG: As you arrow through the pictures, it displays both the RAW and JPG file, so you see the photo twice. Any way to have it just display one or the other?

rick lepage's picture

We'll add it to the list for the next rev, Mike.

Rick LePage

Dustin Francis's picture


Mike Padua's picture

That's awesome Dustin! Was the preview quick for you?

Willis Bretz's picture

Just tried it out myself. Seems to be working pretty well, especially with accepting ratings made in-camera.

Or Glickman's picture

thanks! Fstoppers rock!

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

This one goes to the Fs Team!

Justin Haugen's picture

I wish software like this or photo mechanic could be used as a plug-in for Lightroom. Great offer none-the-less!

rick lepage's picture

Justin, once you've made your selections (or winnowed out the rejects), you can select those images headed to LR, right-click, and use the "Send to Lightroom" item. All of you photos will then transfer to LR's Import dialog box, with ratings and keywords intact.

Justin Haugen's picture

that's pretty handy, thanks!

Chris Adval's picture

I'll try this later tonight for sure! I have 16gbs of RAM and still 5-6 second wait time to zoom in 1:1 to check focus, at least on Lr5. I'm not too sure about LrCC I think I checked it and it was maybe 3-4 seconds with the video card assist.

Morgan Glassco's picture

Can someone expand on how you incorporate this into your LR workflow?

I usually import all my photos from the SD Card, renaming them, adding keywords and a standard preset for LR.

If you have to move this from the SD to a folder on the computer first, I guess you could rename the files after you "Copy" them into LR since you cannot rename photos on Import for files already on your computer. Not that I am aware of at least.

Once loaded into LR, your flags and flags would all be there?

I really don't find LR to be that slow for culling. I do have an SSD and 12gb of RAM so that might be helping. Just not thinking adding an extra step will net noticeable gains to my workflow.

Lee Morris's picture

If you don't find Lightroom to be slowing you down then you should totally stick with your current plan.

Anonymous's picture

The app rocks the set. It's a breath of fresh air to use for the ol' culling game. This will be part of my workflow. Thanks a metric tonne for this incredible offer! My Setup: iMac 27" 3.5GHz i7 32GB DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096MB

Al Borrelli's picture

Maybe I'm the only one that cares about this, but I absolutely hate hate hate that I don't get to choose WHERE to install it. I don't install anything other than my OS on my C drive.
Seems really unacceptable... I thought giving you the option was a standard nowadays.
Having said that, seems like a nice piece of software. Now that LR uses GPU the difference in speed is negligible (for me).
So, thanks for the software, but I'm probably uninstalling it unless after a bit more use it starts to shine more.

Joshua Boldt's picture

This video explains how to use Browse to rate/sort photos and then send them to Lightroom which should answer some of the questions here...

J F's picture

Seems good, though Photo Mechanic works faster when using 645Z files. (it takes about 18 seconds for each, when scrolling at 100% for the pixilation to go away). Its close to PM, but not quite there. (works fine for D810 files, and Canon 5DMKII files, but slow on 645Z files, I think it has to do with the fact the 645Z files are DNG, and seems Perfect Browse has to "read" the modified settings that are embedded in the DNG files, like the HUELight Color Profiles). Still its a pretty good app. (although whats the deal with Browser type apps all looking like there from Mac OS X 10.0 ? C'mob OnOne and Photo Mechanic)
13 inch MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Dual-core Intel i5
960 SSD Crucial HD, 16GB memory

Andrew Richardson's picture

I've never had any issues with Photo Mechanic, but for free I'll check it out.

Shaun Maluga's picture

Took about 25 minutes to add 12000 Canon 5d Mk III raw files and add them to an Album. I'd need to explore the program more and understand how it works but there is a definite lag in zooming to 100% and flicking from one picture to the next. The best/fastest way to edit photos for me at the moment is to import into Lightroom and build 1:1 previews. Then do something else whilst it builds, come back and then flick through the images at screen size or 100% without any delay at all. Not sure if this functionality is possible in this program.

Some feedback at the moment, whilst photos are importing or adding to an Album the program "freezes" as in if you click away to another program and try to click back nothing will show up, no progress bar or anything and appears as thought it has frozen (although it is still functioning and will show up once it has processed everything). One of the great things about Lightroom is how it will import and build previews in the background and you can continue working in Lightroom while it's doing it. It is always scary when dealing with a large number of photos and you aren't sure if the program has crashed or there is no indication on how long the process is going to take.

Brian Dowling's picture

Gave it a quick try and still prefer Photo Mechanic. It's ever so slightly faster than PM, but when you rate a jpg in PB, it will spits out an XMP file in the folder. Would be nice if a rating an image in Perfect Browse would show up in Lightroom as well. There are probably some settings I'm missing, but that's my 10 minutes of playing around with it. If you have PM, keep it. If you don't, this is a great free solution.

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