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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Previous comments

Spent over two hours culling a wedding. It previews images really fast, I can't fault that. Came back a day later to finish off the job, opened up the program, and all the star ratings had disappeared except for a few random ones. Serious waste of my time, the only thing I'm happy about is I didn't pay 60 bucks for it.

Anonymous's picture

Thank you Lee. It sounds interesting, as Bridge is very, very slow working with huge folders of RAW´s. I just installed Perfect Browse but it tells me it´s just a trial version that will expire after a month. If you say it´s "100% free for Fstoppers readers", where do I find the license key? Thanks for clarifying!

Lee Morris's picture

When you signed up you should have gotten an email with a code.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks Lee. I reinstalled it and you´re right. Though one doens´t receive it by e-mail but it appears on screen and I just missed that. Will try out Perfect Browse, it looks very promissing!

Thanks for this awesome culling app fstoppers and On1

The post stated this software is free. I downloaded using the link above and LOVE the software. However, now it's asking me to pay for the software and that the trial is over. Very disappointed.

Lee Morris's picture

It is free. You got a key code in your email when you signed up on the website

john uhoh's picture

Thanks for this. I'll try it for my next shoot. Just one question - when you "like" a pic in Perfect Browse, does this translate over to Lightroom as a Pick Flag?

I'm going to be a bit of a dissenting voice here. (First, though, I think it's great that Fstoppers and On1 are teaming up to offer this app, so thanks.) I tried the PerfectBrowse module when it was in version 8 and found it a bit underwhelming. The new one is probably faster, but even in the review above it says it can take 4 to 6 seconds to zoom to 100% Wow, is that slow! Everyone has his/her own style, but when culling I almost always zoom to 100% to check critical sharpness.

I'm not a Photo Mechanic user -- downloaded the free trial and didn't think it was worth the money -- but I have found a solution that I think more people should try. It's called FastStone Image Browser. (I have no financial interest -- just a satisfied user.) It's free for casual use, but they ask for a $35 license fee from professionals (on the honor system), which I gladly paid once I gave the program a test drive. It works off the embedded jpeg in every raw file, so browsing AND zooming are instantaneous. It also lets you compare up to four images on your screen at once at variable magnifications. It's simple and intuitive, and though it lacks the slicker interface of PM (and probably PerfectBrowse), it's extremely functional and lighting fast, and was just what I needed for my workflow. And you can't argue with free.

Is anyone aware if you can tether shoot and use perfect browse to display your current session?

I haven't try it yet but I like so much to use ACDsee Pro to view my raw files. It is fast, light and easy to use. But I'll try in order to compare. I'd like to see comments about ACDsee if some one use it and like or not.

Bryon Black's picture

How does this compare to Photo Mechanic?

Awesome give away, thanks so much! I've been playing with it and I like it a LOT. Super fast and smooth: I love the integration with LR. May I make a suggestion or two though? I'd like to see the option to turn on and off messages about the selections made. What I like about LR is when you flag something, it tells you exactly what you did in a little pop up box. I'd like to see this confirmation in PB. I'd also like to see the image jump to the next image automatically when the caps lock is on or not when off, like LR. Also, can you make the software auto delete the XMPs once inside LR?

Otherwise, what an amazing tool!

Yesterday I ran about 2000 images from a shoot through this software and culled to around 620 on my first pass, pretty quick and so far so good. Today I've just run a second pass and after having flagged and colour tagged decided to export to LR5 where I have IPTC sets ready to go... for the lat 40 minutes my MBP has become unusable! The software is showing me a dialogue informing me that it's embedding metadata! Despite many attempts I've been unable to stop the process. As soon as it completes I'll be uninstalling for sure... complete thumbs down from me.

Just started using this and WOW! I like it!

Amanda Christensen's picture

Awesome awesome awesome. I've used Photo Mechanic and this is just as great! I've been using it for a few days and am still waiting for my e-mail with the free registration code I doing something wrong?

Amanda Christensen's picture

YALL. I'm super frustrated. I read through all the comments and someone said to uninstall and then reinstall and it would pop up, so I did. Now the offer is gone. Please help!

The download link is working for me. Is this software still available?

Anonymous's picture

Page not found.

Scott Pam's picture

Unfortunately I upgraded to the latest version for over $50. It won't even load and their tech support is slower than traffic at 3PM in Los Angeles. It crashes as soon as it loads. Debug report after debug report and no change.

Windows 10, No intrusive antivirus, 32GB RAM, Core i7 4790 and 12 terabytes of space.

This is NOT a program I would recommend to anyone and I am working with my bank to see about a refund at this point though it's almost two months of trying to get this crappy program working.

I am off to try PhotoMechanic. LR is slow but at least it works.

Arthur Seabra's picture

Just reading this in 2016. :(
I've been looking for a solution like this for a long time, because culling in photoshop is worst than pulling teeth. Anyway the offer to get this free still stands? :D

I just tested a file with 4448 images in it with PB and Photo Mechanic. Photo Mechanic is much much faster at editing. One mans take...


Michael Servis's picture

The program has a big flaw and I have been noticing that version Photo RAW 2017 is really slow too so it does not work great. Also, I have found that unless your wedding is really small you can only send 500 images at a time to Lightroom. I my case this was doing this 4 times.

Here is what On1 Support says and I am not wanting to upgrade this product every 6 months when they have an update, and also the support is one day reply or more.

Ryan Mitchell (on1)

May 29, 16:09 PDT

Hello Michael,

Thanks for using ON1! I apologize for the frustration. We do our best to reply to support tickets within 24 hours at most, excluding holidays. And you're correct, only 500 images at a time can be moved into Lightroom each time. If you intend to use Lightroom with Photo RAW 2017, in your case I would recommend using it as a plugin to Lightroom instead This will allow you to import your images only once into Lightroom, and then access Photo RAW's plugins through the File > Plug-In Extras menu in Lightroom.

Substantial improvements both to performance and functionality have been made in Photo RAW 2018, and I would recommend giving that program a shot as a trial to see how it performs for you. It will have the same limitation with regards to how many images it can give to Lightroom at once, but its overall performance, especially after the update coming in June, will be much better than Photo RAW 2017.

We appreciate your patience and understanding!
Ryan | Technical Support