Even though I'm an amateur photographer, I like quality equipment (Canon 1D Mk III & IV with L-lenses), so it's not surprising that I wanted the best digital asset management (DAM) software that I could find. Daminion Server has met my expectations in that regard, and more. I currently have 331,000+ images catalogued.
Before settling on Daminion Server, I downloaded all of the trial DAM software that I could find. At that point in time, Daminion was in its early stages. Back then, Version 1.0 was still in the future. Even so, my use of those early releases gave me confidence that Daminion was going to be a great product. In fact, even then, it was already better than any of the other DAM software that I had tried. I installed it at the alpha stage, went through public beta, and have never looked back. It only seems to get better with every release.
So why do I like it so much... For starters, it doesn't try to be all things to all people. Daminion software is focused on cataloging and indexing digital files, especially (but not exclusively) photos. In fact, thirty-four different file types are currently supported, such as .docx, .pdf, .fvl, .mov, etc.. Many of the other DAM products embed non-DAM functionality at the expense of their core indexing and cataloguing capabilities. Daminion takes the approach of providing links to external programs for all such non-DAM processes. This provides a clean product, with a friendly UI, that performs its core cataloging, searching and indexing functions extremely well.
Daminion Server is available for both workgroups and individuals. Workgroups functionality includes such features as the ability to 'check-out' files while they are being worked on. I use the individual version, however, so that's what I'll comment on. Daminion Standalone is also available but I prefer using the server.
Handling large numbers of files is not a problem. Daminion Server has no trouble with the 330K+ image files in my current catalogue. Searches are fast, thumbnail display is responsive and entering meta data is exceptionally easy. Multiple catalogues can be created. As an individual, I run Daminion Server on the same PC as my Daminion client. I recommend the Server version over the standalone version because the server is a more robust product for large catalogs. It runs faster and can handle more files, more efficiently than the standalone version. On the other hand, individuals with a small number of files to catalogue will probably find that Daminion Standalone works just fine.
Importing new files into a catalogue is a simple procedure. Files can either be cataloged at their existing location or new files can be created in a new location. I use the add files feature that converts RAW files to DNG format and then stores the DNG version in a folder named according to the creation date of the original RAW file. The conversion process also automatically embeds selected metadata into the DNG file; for example, my copyright notice. This process is all automated and highly customizable. Incidentally, Daminion can handle both embedded and sidecar metadata. I prefer to embed all mine.
There is also a feature to "Re-Sync" folders that may have had changes made to the files outside of Daminion. Re-Syncing can also update any metadata that has been changed by image editing.
Metadata and tags are the key to Daminion Server's amazingly fast search capabilities. Almost any conceivable parameter can be used to find files. These extend from searching file attributes created at exposure time (e.g. ISO), to searching file attributes added during processing (e.g. names of people in a photo.) The search engine also allows for multiple match types (e.g. contains, equals, is empty, etc.)
The UI can be customized to suit the needs of the user. I have my UI set to show a Properties Panel on the right. This shows all the metadata information for each file as it is highlighted in the light-table panel to the left of the Properties panel. Thumbnails are shown in the light-table, with selectable views: thumbnails, compact view, details and film strip. The next panel to the left in my UI configuration is the Catalog Tags panel. I have sixteen main tags (e.g. Media format, Keywords, Event, Categories, etc.). There can be an unlimited number of sub-categories under each of these main categories. Displaying a selection of files with matching tags can be done with mouse clicks on the tag 'radio button(s)' or using the search menu. And on the extreme left of my UI is the Folders panel. It shows the layout of the OS folders that have been catalogued. The folder tree is fully collapsible as in Windows Explorer.
Finally, I have to comment on the excellent support that I have always found through the Daminion User Forum. When the product was still in Beta, there were fairly frequent issues, as can be expected of any beta product. What I found amazing was how quickly these issues were resolved by Daminion staff. Unlike many commercial websites, Daminion's User Forum seems to be monitored closely by the company's support staff. Suggestions to solve problems have always been quick in coming. Fortunately, now that the product is up to version 4.1, I have not had any issues that have required me to test the support forum recently. My guess is that, if needed, it probably remains as good as before.
It may sound like it, but I'm not an employee of Daminion. I've posted this review because I believe Daminion is a great product. If you're looking to buy a software tool that can catalogue digital files and let you easily find them later using, tags, keywords, and indexes, then (in my opinion) Daminion is worth serious consideration. I know I'm a seriously committed customer.