frankly, I just ask my self the same question, I have the same dilemma too. because Picasa doesn't animate the GIF file I opened, and have trouble viewing TIFF (that have multiple images in one file, scroll-able) and SVG formats.
for my need : I need to also use the above. anything not in my complaint = is solved by the current software (picasa in this case). picasa have a lot of good point. but the bug/feature/characteristics/feel I mentioned above = not solving my problem.
Every user have their own needs, style, and set-up (lcd/crt, with or without graphicards, with or without installation space to spare, etc..). U and me, and all others too, may be different. I don't need the upload feature, advanced editing feature (which I can always use photoshop for that), and putting stars on my picture. But I need a way to manage the picture library and picasa offering is quite interesting.
I've been a fan to IrfanView before, but I installed picasa instead just to have a run on it. after few years and work, I keep on stumbling upon by the same 'imperfection' mention in the 1st paragraph, regardless of how many times they update their software.
My point is, try to be purpose driven in your search, and NOT to 'try' other software.. just use it(not for long, 3 months is good enough for myself). define your needs specifically, eg:
- do you need speed of picture loading or 'eye-candy'ly interface is preferred?
- do you use/refers to EXIF data in your work?
- is advanced image editing applicable?
- do you really need an image management system in your viewer?
and so on..
since picasa is free, and i'm not paying the coders salary.. then it's almost useless even if I highlight it and 'request' for a feature that I need, but not the normal majority. Same case with other Image viewer program, Irfanviwe can view more formats than just images/photo/RAW/animated gif, but it's not really an 'eye-candy'. :)
if you can specify those needs that I listed above..and the more specific it is.. the better.
then we look for these features/bug in user reviews or technical bench-marking (that normally done by it magazines like Chip magazine), or even in wikipedia.
shortlist your picks, and install them
demo use them one at time, just to get 'feel'
take note on your 'result' and pick one. (^^)/~
May the search begun..
Plan B :
My plan B? I don't have one. Just use what I can install, and use ONLY that software at all times. :)
Let say I still want all the features that I've definitively defined, and there is absolutely no software that can offers that.. then I only have 2 choice, either to abandon the 'project', or to proceed with the same plan, but different approach.
Different approach is hard for me to explain in text. I share my personal case on how I work around it.
my case :
"To look for image viewer/manager/editor that can do standard things, but including :
- open RAW in high speed
- open 94.1 MB jpeg file in high speed
- view a collection of High-res photos in high speed
- provide a black/dark frame, so that pictures viewed = clearer | great for presentations
- have contrast control so that I can brighten in prior to printing
- I need to look into EXIF data. And don’t want the EXIF data to be lost after the editing.
- sometime I do batch prosessing, means doing the same thing (image resize/retouch/convert to other format) in bulk.
- My machine is not high-end,and limited space for installation partition, If possible I don't want a 'heavy' apps.
upon trying around, these software only solved my need partially, say :
Picasa - solved prob # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Photoshop CS - solved prob # 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
GIMP - solved prob # 5, 6
Irfanview - solved prob # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Win Pic Viewer - solved prob # .. actually, none of above
Ms powerpont* - solved none
Ms explorer** - solved none
Ms office pic viewer - solved prob # 5, 7
Clearly, CS is not an image viewer, but from what it offers, it answers majority of my needs. so i ended up having it in almost every pc i'm working on. :)
so.. what about feature no 3? how do i work around it. Still, I'm looking for a photo/image/picture viewer, not an editor.
solution (for my case) :
cheers, good luck in your search. hope this helps.. in any way possible. :)