Photo management, F-Spot vs digiKam

I’ve got roughly 13.500 photographs on my computer(s) and need a good photo program to manage them. I need to be able to quickly find images matching certain criteria (such as “Stockholm”, “dog” and “train”), but it should also be easy tagging them. I need a hierarchical tag structure. I also want a view where I can browse all image based on when the picture was taken.

I’ve been using F-Spot for this for a few years. It is a really good program, but has three drawbacks I find it harder and harder to accept:

1. When importing images, they get rearranged into a new directory structure. It’s on the form $BASEDIR/year/month/day/. That is really nifty, but I would also like to keep some pictures organized by activity, like $BASEDIR/weddings/ and so on.

2. It can’t handle the dates from my Canon EOS. I need to run “exiv2 mv -T *” on the pictures for them to get the right “picture taken” time stamp.

3. It modifies my picture metadata! This is a quite a long story so either check here or just google “F-Spot considered harmful. In short, it makes false assumptions on the EXIF dates and “corrects” it without notifying the user. Crap!

I tried 10 programs or so, not knowing if I wanted the simpler approach like gthumb/ACDsee or something more advanced like Picasa/F-Spot/digiKam. I finally ended up with digiKam which is a really excellent program. Not only does it cover for all my needs, it has also a really nice feature called “light table” that makes it a whole lot easier to find which one is best in a series of very similar looking pictures.

The only problem I have seen so far is

1. Upon import, I can’t make it to sort the pictures into the above mentioned date structure. I’ve solved this with a script that does it for me before import. Send me an email if you also need it.

2. I have yet to find a good method of filtering out my newly imported photos. I do get a database error when starting the program. This is most likely related, but I haven’t had the time to look into it yet. My approach right now is to import the photos, search for untagged ones and then go to the directory to add multiple tags on them. One could of course do it from the search view, but as soon as one tag is applied it disappears, no longer being untagged.

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One Response to Photo management, F-Spot vs digiKam

  1. Olivier Chambon says:


    I started to use F-sport before moving to digikam. I really liked the way to import pictures with the new directory structure :


    and I now use F-spot only to import pictures. I can’t do the same with digikam. I would like to get rif of F-SPOT. Could you send me the script to do that?


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