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Long-awaited Bibble 5 raw photo editor arrives

Bibble 5 Pro is out, bringing higher performance and a higher price to the raw-photo editing and cataloging software. Also new: selective editing.

Bibble Labs has released the long-awaited version 5 of its software for editing and managing the raw photos higher-end cameras can take.

Bibble 5 adds a number of new features for editing, cataloging, and performance. The company had hoped to release Bibble 5 in 2008 but ran into delays.

Also new is the price. The Pro version of Bibble 5 costs $199.95, up from $129.95 for Bibble 4 Pro; those who bought Bibble 4 Pro after September 1, 2006, however, get a free upgrade. Bibble 5 Lite hasn't been released yet, but the company said Bibble 4 Lite customers may use Bibble 5 Pro until it is.

One feature of Bibble 5 is selective editing, which lets photographers change only a portion of an image. The editing is nondestructive, which means the changes don't alter the underlying raw file. Another is cataloging features to more easily manage files and sift through libraries.

Performance is a major issue for raw processing, a computationally demanding chore, and Bibble appears particularly pleased with its performance improvements. The software is able to take advantage of all the processing cores on a 32-core system, according to the company. Although the incremental benefits of more cores diminish, Bibble boasts that its software can scale even as unnamed competitors' performance doesn't get any better beyond eight cores.

Bibble's main competitors include Adobe Systems' Photoshop Lightroom, Apple's Aperture, Phase One's Capture One, DxO Labs' DxO Optics Pro, several smaller rivals, and utilities that often ship with SLRs and other cameras that can shoot raw. Raw photographs offer more flexibility and quality but take time and effort to process.

Update 2:12 p.m. PST: Bibble 5 Pro was released via the company's forums Tuesday, but the formal announcement of the software will come Monday, the company said in a statement.

Via Digital Photography Review