Gear Talk > Processing & Publication

Handling Large Image Files

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Michael Erlewine:
I have many large image files, most of them TIF files, the resulting images of years of focus stacking. As for the original layers, there are probably half a million or more of those. Let’s just look at these large TIF files.

Right, now I am trying to work (Windows 10) with the very large TIF files. I have tried Infraview, Bridge, PhotoMechanic, Windows Explorer, and so on. All of them seem to kind of choke up.

I have a pretty fast computer, yet nothing seems be very fluid. I am wondering what other photographers do with this situation. Here are some of my questions:

(1) What kind of external hard drives are best?

[I have tried SATA, SSDs, and all kinds of external drives, but none seem to be a charm, so to speak.]

(2) What size external hard drives are best?

(3) What viewing software do you use?

[As mentioned above, Adobe Bridge, Infraview, and so on see to bog down, take forever to load so I can see thumbnails, and generally prove almost unusable except at a snail’s pace.]

All suggestions are welcome as to how to deal with this ever-growing problem. Thanks.

Jack Dahlgren:

1) SATA is a type of interface, not a type of drive. You will want a fast Nvme (solid state) drive connected through a thunderbolt interface to reach top speeds currently - assuming that data transfer is the bottleneck.

2) Depends on how much data you have. Price/capacity is linear in the middle of range so probably good to choose from that range.

3) I use a bunch of things, but if you are concerned about speed, pictureflect is pretty snappy. But have only used on .jpg  Free also.

4) I'd probably put on a fast internal m.2 or NvME drive instead of external.

Thank you Jack - I learned a lot from your post.
I'm sure Michael and others will also be googling, but this article (over a year old now) gave me some brief background, plus also indicated adding these drives to an existing machine might be harder than buying a new one that was built ready to use them

Michael, I can't vouch for any speed improvement on really big TIFF files as I don't use them, but I've found FastStone to be faster & more convenient than some other image browsers

Michael Erlewine:

--- Quote from: Jack Dahlgren on August 21, 2020, 21:05:29 ---Michael,

3) I use a bunch of things, but if you are concerned about speed, pictureflect is pretty snappy. But have only used on .jpg  Free also.

--- End quote ---

Yes this program, "Pictureflect" is indeed powerful, free to try, and only around $2.00 to purchase, and it works on large TIF files, better than most. The program "FastStone Image Viewer" was the same old too-slow to work on large file.

Tanks Jack!

Michael Erlewine:
Since I usually stack images from several to hundreds of layers, the resulting stacked image is a fabrication and does not carry all the info one finds in raw files, which is what I use for layering. I keep the raw files, so EXIF data is available if I am interested.

Actually, for my interest, I am only interested in a few pieces of data.

Lens Name

I don’t really care about most of the other data because, in general I use APO lenses wide open (or nearly so), so since I know the F-Stop of the lens I am using. And most of the lenses I use are “exotics” meaning they do not usually interface to the camera to provide the standard EXIF data.

And I almost always use the lowest ISO, which for the Nikon cameras I use is ISO 64. So, the variable is the shutter speed and I don’t care about that.

An image filename might look like this:


8AE-0142 =  the camera-generated filename
EL105 = APO El Nikkor 105 f/5.6
Morning Glory = the kind of subject

That all I need. From the filename (and the original NEFs (raw files) I can look up EXIF data if I need it.

However, what I am interested in is the particular lens used and not much else. I have a lot of lenses, mostly APO lenses, and their differing IQs vary, often subtly, so I want to know what lens was used.


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