FastStone Image Viewer


B

Bob Adkins

FastStone Image Viewer v1.5
http://www.faststoneserver.com/FSViewerDetail.htm


DEVELOPER DATA:

"FastStone Image Viewer is an image browser, viewer, converter and editor
with an easy to use interface and a nice array of features that include
resizing, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, watermarks and more. It
also includes an intuitive full-screen mode that provides quick access to
EXIF information and thumbnail browser via hidden toolbars that emerge when
you touch the edge of your screen with the mouse. Other features include a
high quality magnifier and built-in slide show with 60+ transitional
effects, as well as lossless JPEG transitions, drop shadow effects, image
frames, scanner support, histogram and much more. It supports all major
graphic formats including BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF,
ICO and TGA.

100% Free for Home Users
No Adware No Spyware"


FEATURES:

*Image browser with a Window-Resource-Explorer user interface

*Common image formats support, including loading of JPEG, JPEG2000, GIF,
BMP, PNG, PCX, TIFF, WMF, ICO, TAG, EMF, PXM, WBMP and saving to TIFF, GIF,
PCX, BMP, ICO, PNG, TGA, PXM, WBMP, JPEG, JPEG2000, PS, EPS, PDF.

*Full screen viewer with Select - Zoom support
*Crystal clear and customizable magnifier
*Resizing, flipping, rotating, cropping, color adjusting tools
*Image EXIF metadata support
*Batch image converter/resizer
*Slideshow with dozens of transitional effects
*Undo, Redo and Mouse Wheel support


/DEVELOPER DATA

~~~~~~~

MY REVIEW:

FastStone Image Viewer came out of nowhere 2-3 months ago. It appears to be
targeting ACDSee Classic, and to be honest, I think it drove a stake through
its heart. Once again, a Freeware program eclipses a commercial program!

FSViewer is a straight-up picture viewer for displaying the usual graphics
and photo formats. It consists of a richly featured viewer, simple editing,
and rudimentary printing. The feature set "feels right" for a picture
viewer. The GUI is clean and simple. I'm not really a skin person, but the
built-in skins in FSViewer are well done and pleasing.

After associating picture files with FastStone Image Viewer, a picture file
is clicked in Windows Explorer, and the viewer starts in full screen mode.
It has an annoying little "lag". The question is, how long must a lag be
before it's annoying? I measured this lag, and consistently get 1.5 sec on a
pretty fast P4 computer. Compared to the fastest viewer benchmarks (ACDSee
Classic and FireGraphic) taking <.5 Sec. That's the "bad" news. The good
news is, toggling to the next picture is instantaneous just like the
benchmark programs. When I think about it, the 1.5 sec. delay is not worth
complaining about.

In full screen mode, there is the usual right-click context menu. Clicking
the left mouse button causes a very cool and useful spot magnifier to
appear. Default spot magnification is 2X. The context menu allows adjusting
the magnifier from 0 to 10X. I like the default 2X. This is one of the
unique features in FSViewer that will totally spoil you. But wait, those
fly-out menus are also spoiling features! When you bump the mouse cursor
against the 4 sides of the screen, the menus pop out for you. The top menu
is for filmstrip/browsing, the left is for editing, right is for file and
EXIF properties, and bottom is for standard file functions. These fly-out
menus somehow do not conflict with the hidden Task Bar or other hidden tool
bars such as Object Dock. Compliments to the programmer!

Editing is rudimentary, as it should be in a simple picture viewer. Among
the features are Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation Lossless JPEG Rotation,
Flip, Re-size, Sharpen/Blur, and the BEST CROPPING TOOL I have ever used.
The Redeye feature is very easy to use, but tends to over darken on blue
eyes. FS Viewer works well with TWAIN scanners and cameras, and external
editors like PhotoFiltre and PaintDotNet from the context menu. The print
dialogue is straightforward, and has only Sizing, Positioning, Margins, and
Gamma. No multiple pics per page are possible as found in FireGraphic.
FSViewer has the usual screen capture, slide show, and wallpaper functions,
and work well. The Configuration menu is small and straightforward, making
file association and de-association easy, and external editors easy to set
up. This program is a natural companion for PhotoFiltre.

Like the benchmark programs mentioned, FSViewer uses a "read ahead buffer"
that helps make fast viewing possible. It creates a folder cache database
file, which grows with use. This file may be deleted any time without harm.
In Options, you can choose a cache file size limit, which is an excellent
feature. The program can even run from 1 file, the 1.5MB EXE file. FSViewer
re-creates 3 needed config files when executed. FSViewer is ideal for
including on a CD full of photos for sending to friends and family.

I have only hit the highlights of this fine little program, yet went a bit
long on the review. Bottom line, it's a great viewer, with little down side.
It makes finding and viewing your photos a real pleasure. I score it a shaky
9/10. A tweak here and there can easily make this program a solid "10". The
author gets a hearty "Well done!"

-- Bob
 
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C

caroline

Bottom line, it's a great viewer, with little down side.
It makes finding and viewing your photos a real pleasure.

Strongly agree. Did you notice that if you place your mouse cursor over
the bottom fly out then the mouse wheel zooms the image. I may be wrong
but I don't think that's mentioned in the documentation.
 
B

Bob Adkins

Strongly agree. Did you notice that if you place your mouse cursor over
the bottom fly out then the mouse wheel zooms the image. I may be wrong
but I don't think that's mentioned in the documentation.

Oh, I hadn't noticed that!

I did notice that holding down the Ctrl key makes the mouse wheel act as a
zoom wheel. It's only "sort of" mentioned in the help file.

The User Guide was excellently done too, IMHO.

-- Bob
 
P

Pete Lawrence

Oh, I hadn't noticed that!

I did notice that holding down the Ctrl key makes the mouse wheel act as a
zoom wheel. It's only "sort of" mentioned in the help file.

The User Guide was excellently done too, IMHO.

The author is very responsive too. I downloaded the viewer yesterday
and it nearly gave me 100% of what I wanted. However, the EXIF data
(view the image and move the mouse over to the right hand side of the
screen) wasn't working correctly - shutter speed (for my Canon 10D
images anyway) wasn't appearing at all.

I emailed the author. A couple of hours and a sample image later and
hey presto - it was fixed. Brilliant!
 
B

Bob Adkins

I emailed the author. A couple of hours and a sample image later and
hey presto - it was fixed. Brilliant!

Hi Pete,

Yes, Andrew is very friendly and responsive to requests.

My requests? Don't bloat it up with features that only a few would find
useful, and speed up the EXE a tad. Make it like ACDSee Classic on steroids.
;)

-- Bob
 
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D

Dennis Roark

As a dedicated picture viewer, I think FastStone is way ahead.

-- Bob

I agree. I will keep IrfanView because it is smaller and simpler, but
FastStone is a much better program for viewing and altering (not
painting) pictures. One example, in IrfanView, the image sharpening and
image blurring are separate menu items, and if you want to be able to
adjust the extent of sharpening or blurring, then you are several menu
items deep. FastStone has a great slider, slide it to the right and the
image is progressively sharpened, slide it to the left and it blurs.
And with virtually all the image controls, not only do you get a small
preview, as in IrfanView, of your changes, but you can see a preview of
the full-size image by pressing a preview button on most dialogs,
without committing yourself to the change. IrfanView has a full screen
view, but unlike FastStone's full screen view you cannot modify an image
in that view. With FastStone in full screen, just move the mouse to the
four screen borders and a menu pops up. A beautiful program in many
ways.

--
Dennis Roark

(e-mail address removed)
Starting Points:
http://sio.midco.net/denro/www
 
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P

Pit_Bull

I agree. I will keep IrfanView because it is smaller and simpler, but
FastStone is a much better program for viewing and altering (not
painting) pictures. One example, in IrfanView, the image sharpening and
image blurring are separate menu items, and if you want to be able to
adjust the extent of sharpening or blurring, then you are several menu
items deep. FastStone has a great slider, slide it to the right and the
image is progressively sharpened, slide it to the left and it blurs.
And with virtually all the image controls, not only do you get a small
preview, as in IrfanView, of your changes, but you can see a preview of
the full-size image by pressing a preview button on most dialogs,
without committing yourself to the change. IrfanView has a full screen
view, but unlike FastStone's full screen view you cannot modify an image
in that view. With FastStone in full screen, just move the mouse to the
four screen borders and a menu pops up. A beautiful program in many
ways.

This is the best freeware image viewer I have tried so far. The auto hide
menus and hot keys are excellent.


P_B
 
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