Microsoft/Mac Monday

In the past we’ve written about Windows Photo Gallery and what a great job Microsoft has done with it. Not only is it a great way to manage photos, but it is also helpful for “fixing” (cropping, removing red-eye, etc.) them as well. You can even use it to upload photos to popular photo-sharing site Flickr (Windows Live Photo Gallery only), now how convenient is that? To continue our series on comparing features from Mac computers with those you’d find if you’re using Windows Vista, we’ll be comparing Apple’s iPhoto with Windows Photo Gallery.

About Windows Photo Gallery

As you might expect, Windows Photo Gallery is a feature that is included with all versions of Windows Vista. There’s also Windows Live Photo Gallery which is a downloadable version available to those using Windows XP and Vista (it has more features than Windows Photo Gallery). Overall it’s a photo management tool but they’ve incorporated features like the option to edit, tag, and add captions.

Navigating Windows Photo Gallery is simple and most of it is done either at the top or in the left-side navigation bar. There are also a few controls at the bottom for moving along to the next photo or rotating a picture. Right from the gallery is the option to print your photos using the Print Wizard or ordering copies of the photo online. Users can create and view slide shows of their photos.

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About iPhoto

iPhoto is a product of Apple and is part of the iLife suite of applications that all new Mac owners receive. iPhoto is supposed to help you organize, edit, print and share your photos. Like Windows Photo Gallery, they offer basic image editing tools like the option to remove red-eyes or crop and resize photos. Their organization system involves placing all photos into groups which they call “Events.”

Other Apple applications are incorporated into iPhoto like the option to import music from iTunes to incorporate into dynamic slideshows. You can edit those slideshows in iMovie or you can also burn them to DVD using iDVD right from iPhoto.


Disadvantages of using Windows Photo Gallery

One of the nice features about iPhoto is that there’s an option to create a book, calendar, or card, right from the application. This is something that Windows Photo Gallery does not offer, although they do offer the option to send your pictures to a company online for printing which may offer similar features. Below you’ll see an image of what you’d see if you were to make a book in iPhoto. You can choose various themes, background colors, a layout, and more. Once you’re done, you can buy the book and have it professionally printed.


Disadvantages of using iPhoto

Perhaps the complaints we list today with iPhoto are because we are used to the ways of “Windows” , but in general we like control over how things are organized and iPhoto somewhat takes away that privilege. iPhoto wants to manage all of your photo files (which is like iTunes – it wants to manage all of your music). This is probably fine for most people, but for those of us who like to have control over how things are organized (Power Users), this can prove to be frustrating, especially if you like using a folder/sub-folder structure. We’ll get into that a little later.

If you want to work with your photos, you have to import the images (which is the only way you can get them into iPhoto). iPhoto ends up copying all of the photos into it’s own directory which means that this method takes up more of your memory. I should mention that there is an option in the preferences under the “advanced” tab where you can uncheck “copy items to the iPhoto library” so that when you import photos it doesn’t actually copy the file into the iPhoto library. Instead it will show you a shortcut, but the only problem is if you move the location of the original photo then the shortcut is not going to work and in turn, the photos will not show up in iPhoto when you want to do something with them.

Another “disadvantage” as we see it is for those who have their own system for organizing photos. Using iPhoto requires getting used to the “Mac” way of doing things which is essentially letting the application take control over how things are organized so that you don’t have to worry about it. iPhoto ends up organizing photos by the year that they were taken. You also have no control over file names. If you import images directly from your camera, it will keep the same file names that your camera gave the photos which is usually just a bunch of letters and numbers. There is a batch change feature which allows you to change the name, and you can append a number to it, but it won’t change the actual file name. If you happen to have your pictures organized into folders and sub-folders, iPhoto will ignore any folder structure that you have and only uses the parent folder of where the images are located as the event name.

Yet another downside is that if you go to edit a photo, it doesn’t actually touch the original. In the iPhoto library is a “modified” folder where all of your modified photos are stored. It’s good in the sense that you can always go back, but when we edit photos, we like the original to be changed because that’s likely to be the one you’d want to access more frequently. Windows Photo Gallery always modifies the original in the location where it’s at which is convenient, and then it saves a copy of the original in its own folder which makes more sense.

Wrapping it up

After comparing iPhoto to Windows Photo Gallery, for our purposes Windows Photo Gallery is the winner because it provides the user with more control over the organization of the photos and is great for navigational purposes because your folder structure is available in the left side-bar.

So far we’ve taken a look at the following Leopard vs. Vista Comparisons: