[Windows] Organize your photos and images with Kestrel GX

2013-04-21_223340Do you work with a lot of images or photos on a regular basis? Then you probably know how hard it is to organize and keep track of them all. Kestrel GX is a photo organizer program for Windows that claims to make the task easy. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Kestrel GX is an image/photo organizer program that allows you to catalog and organize your images and photos.

Pros

  • Can organize and catalog TIFF, GIF, JPEG, PCX, BMP, ICO, CUR, PNG, WMF, EMF, TGS, PXM, JP2, J2K, WBMP, PS, PDF, DCX, RAW, BMPRAW and PSD images
  • Is able to import RAW images from over a hundred different cameras
  • Can add notes, author, date, rating (1-5 stars), category, and tags to images
    • Note: You must “catalog” images (or the folders that images are in) in order to add the above data
  • Allows users to view and edit EXIF, IPTC, and GPS metadata
  • Can convert images to other formats: BMP, GIF, PNG, JPG, PCX, PSD, TGA, TIF
  • Can add text or image watermarks to images
  • Can resize images
  • Can rotate/flip images (90 degrees clockwise/counterclockwise, 180 degrees, horizontal/vertical flip)
  • Can rename images using a base name plus a number sequence
  • Can perform some basic edits on images: free rotate, crop, red eye removal, sharpen/noise, color, saturation, and brightness/contrast
  • Supports batch processing for convert, resize, watermark, move, rotate, rename, and flip
  • Can create a PDF photobook of images
  • Can search by keywords, author, date, rating, or category; advanced search allows you to search by EXIF/IPTC/GPS metadata or image properties
  • Can flag or reject photos
  • Allows users to create multiple different databases/catalogs, if desired

Cons

  • Buggy
  • Is a fairly basic image organizer. Doesn’t provide any features that would attract the common day user, such as easy way to share photos via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, add effects/filters/frames, advanced photo editing, etc.
  • Will display and allow you to edit EXIF/IPTC/GPS metadata but does not import that metadata into program (e.g. doesn’t import date from EXIF of a photo and input it as the date for the cataloged photo; you must manually enter the date for each photo, even if EXIF data exists)
  • Poor user-interface — requires a lot of horizontal scrolling to browse for images
  • Program window always started fully maximized, which is extremely annoying for those that like to multi-task
  • Resize is only by pixels, not percentage
  • Watermark does not resize relative to input image
  • You need to make sure to download the Help manual (PDF) off the developer’s website because there is no offline Help
  • Wants $59.99/$89.99 for home/commercial use for this program, which is way overpriced
    • 2013-04-21_231840Note: The developer uses a sleazy tactic of a fake “mega sale” to get you to buy the program. Every time someone installs Kestrel GX, a page on the developer’s website opens that tells you there is a “mega sale” of 85% off going on right now and will end in 21 minutes. The developer gives you the opportunity to purchase the program for $9 (home use) but lies to you about the “mega sale”. There is no real sale; everyone gets prompted with the same message with the same timer, regardless of when they install the program. Essentially what is going on here is the developer has overpriced the program at $59.99 then is telling users they have the opportunity to buy it “on sale” for $9.

Discussion

2013-04-21_222310Ever come across a program that has an awesome website but the program itself is subpar? Yeah, that pretty much describes Kestrel GX.

Kestrel GX is a image/photo organizer. I’m not going to discuss the features, or lack thereof, in Kestrel GX; the Pros and Cons section above gives you a good idea of what Kestrel GX can and can’t do (spoiler: there is more that it can’t do than it can do). Rather, I want to rip this program for having a terrible user-interface and being buggy.

Let me ask everyone a question: who likes horizontal scrolling? No, really — who likes horizontal scrolling? I know I don’t. I don’t know if the developer of Kestrel GX has Microsoft syndrome or what but, for some reason, he/she decided it would be a good idea to make users scroll horizontally when viewing image thumbnails:

2013-04-21_233312

Do you know how bloody hard it is to browse images when you have to scroll horizontally… especially when you only have one row to do it in? If you don’t know, I’ll tell you: it is bloody hard.

Aside from that, the developer thinks it is a good idea to make Kestrel GX open fully maximized whenever you run the program. Can the developer never heard of multi-tasking? My monitor has a run-of-the-mill resolution of 1366×768 and I find it extremely annoying when a program decides it needs to run fully maximized; I can only imagine how annoyed people with higher resolution monitors will be.

Now onto the fun part: bugs.

The first bug I encountered with this program is that it won’t even run on my Windows XP (virtual machine). Why? I really don’t know; it installs fine and the program claims to support Windows XP SP2 and higher but when I try to run it, nothing happens. The second bug I ran into? Occasionally while browsing folders, the thumbnails preview at the bottom of the program window are all black instead of properly showing images:

2013-04-21_223340

Oh, don’t worry the fun does not stop there.

After using Kestrel GX for a bit and exploring its features, I decided to rotate a few images. I selected three images and rotated them 90 degrees clockwise. Immediately I was prompted with an error that crashed Kestrel GX. Upon trying to restart Kestrel GX I was shown two errors and the program crashed… every time I tried to run it:

2013-04-21_225930

2013-04-21_225948

My first attempt to fix this problem was to delete the database file in question but after doing that I was simply told database file not found and program would exit. So then I reinstalled the program. Nope, still no cigar. Eventually I deleted the whole Kestrel GX folder in My Documents after which the program was able to run. The only problem? My database and associated cataloged data was all gone. Joy.

After that I spent a few more minutes poking around Kestrel GX so I could gather enough information about its features to do this review. After that, I stopped using the program because, as you can tell, it put a bad taste in my mouth. I’m sure I’d discover more bugs if I spent even more time with it… but my time is more valuable than wasting it on poor programs.

Conclusion and download link

You are more than welcome to give Kestrel GX a try if you want, but don’t get your hopes up. Even if it doesn’t bug out on you, it doesn’t have very many features that will wow you. In other words, even if the program was bug-free it would still only be subpar because, well, it has subpar features. My recommendation is to stay away from this one.

Instead of Kestrel GX, there are plenty of free photo organizers you can check out, like Picasa, Zoner Photo Studio Free, XnView, FastStone Image Viewer, and more. Check out dotTech’s article on 12 free image viewers or organizers for Windows to learn more. If you want a free, full-featured image editors, check out dotTech’s review on best free image editors for Windows.

Price: $59.99/$89.99

Version reviewed: 1.3.1

Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Win7/Win8

Download size: 8.98 MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/46

Is it portable? No

Kestrel GX homepage

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9 comments

  1. davidroper

    [@Giovanni]

    I cannot wait to put my IDEA for one of these on our DoTTech Blog/Chat room. I have wanted to build the ultimate photo catalog system for years and yet keep it UBER simple.

    You prolly know of one program already but let me explain it first. I know people follow you and Rob (DU), many others, and even Ashraf, himself, for guidance. I would like for my son to write the code but he’s too busy making a living and raising 2 of my grandchildren. I never got out of PowerBasic, (could not undrstand VB) but I was hell on wheels Batch Programming up to DOS 6. A simpler life,

    Peace. David

  2. RealBull

    [@Giovanni]
    I used the free version of Kestrel GX before and it was really mediocre. It seems like this version is the similar to the free version.
    A free version of XnView or IrfanView with 8BF plugins is better than this. If you just want an organizer, Zoner Photo Studio Free is all you will need. And at $59.99??? If I were to spend that amount of money, I’d rather buy PaintShop Pro Ultimate which is now on sale for $69.99.
    I understand that the developers need compensation for developing this software, but they will need to do a lot more, the competition is too overwhelming in the Photo Editor/Organizer category.
    A free copy of Ashampoo Photo Commander 9 would even satisfy:
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Graphic/Graphic-Editors/Ashampoo-Photo-Commander-Free.shtml

  3. Mountainking

    Hi again Ashraf.
    The link to free alternatives is not linking to your other page.
    Its currently at “http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/kestrel-gx/dottech.org/97302/windows-12-free-image-viewers-review-windows-photo-viewer-alternatives/”

  4. Giovanni

    Better FREE Alternatives missing in your nice review:

    http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Graphic/Digital-Photo-Tools/Windows-Live-Photo-Gallery.shtml
    http://www.heliconsoft.com/safe.html
    http://www.jetphotosoft.com/web/home

    The last one is a mix of PHOTO ORGANIZER & EDITOR + VIDEO CLIPS PLAYLIST ORGANIZER and MOVIE EDITOR .

    Just take a tour here to see what this amazing FREE APP can do for you without charging you a dime:

    http://www.jetphotosoft.com/web/?s=jpstudio_0

    And as better PHOTO EDITOR:

    * (Portable) Hornil StylePix
    It sports a set of very advanced features which can usually be found in professional and damn expensive apps such as Photoshop!!

    http://hornil.com/en/products/stylepix/Features.html

    Enjoy!!