Photo Mechanic 5

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Staff member
I bought this program quite a while ago, and I've only used it on occasion. Recently I've started using it to cull my images from a day's shoot.

It has a thumbnail view, and then you can open the images full screen. Clicking "Z" zooms in to full resolution, and the right and left arrows move to next and previous. Hitting "delete" does exactly what you'd expect, though you do need to hit "return" to confirm. (Fine by me, it's nice to not have one accidental keystroke delete an image).

So... Sounds like this program does what pretty much every image management program on the planet does, right? Well, yes, pretty much. So, why do I use it? In a word, it's FAST. Blazingly, amazingly, fast. I shoot large image files in RAW. The current version of lightroom takes a few seconds to show me the full size. Multiply "a few seconds" from 2,000 images from a weekend's shooting and you're seeing lots of lag time.

The process is essentially instant in Photo Mechanic. So I quickly scroll through the day's shots, checking focus and composition. Then I update the catalog in LR to get rid of what I deleted, and the use LR as usual.

This is really only of interest if you shoot a lot of images and also have a fairly large number of rejects. For example, shooting birds in flight, it's easy to have the focus lock on a branch or simply not be fast enough. This program will weed them out for you.

There is one downside, it runs $150. I don't know if they have promotions or sales, but you might want to try and find a discount.

It's not for everyone but it sure can make the initial pass of a large batch of images so much easier.


Super Moderator
Staff member
i use Irfanview for the same thing. i don't know if it's quite as fast as Photo Mechanic, but it does have the advantage of being free... it presents thumbnails, you click on one, and it opens in about a second. once you open the first one, you can also use the right/left arrows and images open in about the same time. you do have to shrink the image to fit on the screen so you can see it all, but that only takes a second using the control key and the wheel on your mouse. still, it's extra time. it does have a "display options" setting that lets you fit the image to the screen, but sometimes you can't always tell if an image is really sharp at the reduced size. i use it when previewing what's on my memory card; i select and save the ones i want to keep, then delete the rest from the card. it may not offer all the functionality of Photo Mechanic, but like i mentioned, it's free!


Staff member
Photo Mechanic has essentially no delay, at least on my machine. Even when viewing the full size.

Often, I run it while zoomed in at 100%, to check for focus as you suggest. At that point, I'm concentrating on almost entirely on focus, so as long as part of the subject is in view, it works.

For me, the important thing is that it can show me the 100% in an instant. I don't know how they do it, but it's incredibly fast.

Apparently it can do import really fast too, but I use LR for that.

They have a free trial version available should you wish to do a head to head test. However, if you're happy with Irfanview, I suspect you wouldn't be able to justify buying this just for culling. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to