You gotta hand it to humans. We just don’t have a problem with reinventing the wheel, even if the end result is oblong, square, or flat; so long as it works there’s somebody out there willing to part with a few bucks.
At one end of the scale are browsers. Apple gives us Safari, Google gives us Chrome, and Mozilla gives us Firefox, but there are a few dozen more that all do, more or less the exact same thing. Photo filter and enhancement apps? They’re a dime a dozen and every on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. What about photo viewers? Yep, someone has reinvented that wheel, too.
This weekend I came across a decent image and photo viewer named zGallery. It’s a Mac App Store app that does kinda sorta mostly everything you can do in the Mac’s Photos app or in the Finder, for a price. On the surface, zGallery appears to be an attractive new way to view a collection of photos and it has a few features that Photos does not.
Does this look familiar?
At first glance you might mistake zGallery for Photos. There’s a modest toolbar at the top, a sidebar of photos in a library, and a bunch of options, including photo folder navigation (which you won’t find in Photos). You can set a photo as the Mac’s Desktop wallpaper. Create tabs for easier browsing. Photos are contained in whatever folder organization you prefer (unlike Photos where Apple does most of the library maintenance and you manage the albums).
Image editing is limited, though, to items such as rotate, flip, resize, but there’s a fullscreen mode and a slideshow option.
The saving grace here is the file navigation option in the sidebar. Obviously, zGallery is meant for Mac users who don’t want Photos to be their photo or video management app of choice. So, it’s both familiar and different, useful but missing some obvious functions (image enhancing would be useful).
Apple makes Photos easy to use for everyone regardless of experience level, but that ease of use to access the most basic of features– organization, albums, sharing, and enhancements– also means lack of choice. zGallery’s navigation function and tabs is a big plus, but that’s about it.
Drag and drop file management works well, of course, but the real value here is the ability to navigate through a folder or folders of photos and videos that are not contained with the Mac’s built-in Photos app. Outside of the sidebar navigation, and a few other options, I would be hard pressed to figure out what zGallery does beyond what you can do with a folder of photos in the Mac’s Finder.
Reinventing the wheel isn’t an easy task. After a few thousand years, wheels are still round. Reinventing Photos isn’t easy, either, and zGallery quickly hits that point of diminishing returns.