The best free tools for your digicam pictures
Almost anyone seems to have a digital camera nowadays, and many seem to be happy using the software that came with the camera.
I'm going to introduce some of the free products that I'm using that provide me with better functionality than the stock program your camera ships with.
Note that this is true for most programs that camera manufacturers ship with their products. These are usually slow and lacking in functionality.
I'm using Xnview to view the pictures that are already on my hard drive. I use it because it is fast and efficient. Other tools that have a similar functionality are Google Picasa and Irfanview. All three are way better than the solutions that come with Windows or using editors like Paintshop, Gimp or Photoshop to view images.
Every saved picture contains information which are saved at the same time the picture was taken. A tool like Exif-Viewer reveals the information. Exif means Exchangeable Image File Format and is used by most digital cameras. View-Exif is a plugin for Internet Explorer and Firefox (no longer available).
You can use either Smart Recovery from PC Inspector or Digital Photo Recovery from Art Plus Software to restore images that you deleted accidentally. You may want to try the Memory Card Safe Eraser before you sell your camera or the memory card as the new owner may also use those tools to recover photos that you have taken. So, use the program to make sure all photos are deleted on your camera and not recoverable.
Use Jalbum or Photo Meister to create photo albums, web pages or photo CDs. Photo Meister is able to do more than that though, it is able to do some basic image manipulation on your pictures and import them directly from your camera.
If it is effects that you want you should take a look at Photo Filter Studio which has some awesome filters for creating nice effects, the website has some samples included. Autostich is capable of creating full panoramas using your photos provided that you have taken snapshots of the same location from different angles.
If you are looking for big image editors you may want to consider GIMP or Paint.net.
Last but not least we have some misc utilities that might be great for a smaller number of users, it always depends what you need your pictures for. Filter Sim simulates photo filters, Hello provides instant photo sharing with chat and can be used with Picasa and neat image can be used for noise reduction either as standalone or as a plugin for Photoshop.
I have had good results with Exifer for looking at image metadata. It automatically renames, autorotates. The UI is nice. Highly recommended.