I chose Bibble as opposed to Adobe Lightroom after reading reviews and wishing to avoid Adobe Lightroom prices.
I like Bibble 5 very much.
This is a review after using it for 9 weeks. Major praise is highlighted in green. Major critcism highlighted in red.
STRENGTHSlayers are effective especially for selective editing
ability to designate monitor colour ICC profile. This effectively enables Bibble to soft proof for printing on the fly during image processing. Lightroom cannot do this. Lightroom has a plugin soft proofer but this has to be purchased, and even then there is no soft proofing on the fly.
non destructive editing with master RAW always preserved. This however is a feature of most RAW editors
comprehensive editing tools
noise reduction is good
choice of libraries or old file system
speed - it is fast and will finish editing in the background whilst the user moves on to other tasks
powerful heal and or clone
cost effective pricing, at leat for thew Lite version which is 1/3rd of the cost of Lightroom
interface simpler than Lightroom 3 and much better than DXO
some very creative filters
comprehensive set of plugins written and being written by loyal developers
comrehenesive support for registered software from a small dedicated team of deveopers based in Texas
WEAKNESSESHIGHLIGHT RECOVERY ::
with some camera models Bibble will not read and render overexposed highlights. There is a loss of data with clipping. If image salvage is attempted by highlight recovery there is ugly pink banding (!!). This is a real weakness that has been noted by other reviewers. The work around is to use the camera's bundled RAW converter, save as a TIFF and then edit afresh in Bibble which completely eliminates this issue
I have demonstrated this issue in the images below. The first is a RAW developed in Bibble with highlight recovery then a grad filter to try and get some definition in the clouds. Horrible. The second is straight out of the camera with no recovery. The sky is totally clipped out The third is Lightroom 3's rendering with highlight recovery - a good job. The fourth is using Sony RAW with its highlight recovery. This is then PPs in Bibble (as a 16 biy TIFF) using layers to selectively edit the sky (excuse the clumbsy feathering - was done in a rush). I think that it is clear that this provides a good solution. Camera Sony A850.
will crash if provoked
interface needs streamlining in a few areas
printing from Bibble 5 is really tricky and basic. The manual is not much help in disentangling what basic options there are. It can be done - I have had to write down my own guidelines as an aide to memoir
colour correction tools somewhat basic. Plugins help a lot
sharpening tools a little basic
hopefully a true 64 bit version will be written in due course
I am sure Bibble Labs will iron out these issues in due course but with a small team of developers, and judging by the large time gap between release 4 and 5 this could be some wait
On the positive side there are good work arounds to counter some of the quirks I have encountered and the final results are always good.
To be fair to Bibble labs version 5.2.2 has sorted out some of the stability issues - but it still crashes too much - even during some basic operations like star rating one image (!!)
Highlight recovery is my main frustration with Bibble. This is really not at all acceptable and is the suites achilles heel. Use of the camera manufactuer's RAW converter should not be needed as an add on to a third party RAW suite that commands a price of USD 200.00 for the pro version.
There is a need to get the colour management right without the need for plugins to provide an accetable level of colour editing. Plugins should be extras and not part of the basic system.
There is a need to get the printing from Bibble sorted out. It really is not good enough for a fully fledged RAW editing suite.
Otherwise Bibble 5.2.2 makes a good alternative to Lightroom 3 with great potential once they have addressed its flaws.
The Pro version is 1/3 cheaper than Lighroom 3 and is geared to huge volume workflow.
The Lite version (reviewed here) is 2/3 cheaper than Lighroom 3 and is geared to lower volume workflow but is nearly as feature rich as the Pro version.
Malcolm Lyons May 22nd 2011