Great noise reduction; robust layer support; interesting plugins; tons of control over photographic settings.
Inconsistent UI; occasionally crashes in Windows 7 64-bit; steep learning curve.
Bibble 5 Pro—one of the first applications to marry sophisticated raw editing with robust workflow management—has a loyal following among professional shooters. Earlier versions were criticized for an overly busy and inconsistent user interface, but version 5 has cleaned up most of those issues.
While its pure image-editing tools aren’t as extensive as Photoshop’s, Bibble 5 Pro does have most of the basic cropping, selection, and layering tools you’d need for digital photo editing—it’s a photographer’s tool, not a general image editor. On the raw side of life, Bibble 5 gives you meticulous control over exposure, color correction, vignette correction, and a host of other parameters, allowing you to fine-tune a photo’s final look. As with Lightroom, Bibble 5 Pro is nondestructive, so if you get lost and don’t like what you’ve done, reverting back to the original is easy.
One of the app’s strong suits is noise reduction, since it includes the basic version of the highly regarded Noise Ninja plugin. Bibble 5 Pro also includes several other cool plugins, including Andrea’s film-simulation plugin (perfect if you’ve ever wanted your photo to look like it was shot on Ilford FP4 film and printed on BN Afga MultiContrast paper). That said, Bibble lacks Photoshop integration, so loses out on that rich set of filter possibilities.
Where Bibble 5 Pro really shines is in format conversion, processing our 100 12-megapixel Nikon raw files in a stunning 48.3 seconds . To wit: Bibble 5’s blazing conversion process was six times faster than anything else! During the conversion process, all eight processor threads were completely pegged 100 percent of the time. Bibble 5 Pro is a shining example of an efficiently threaded application.
It takes a little time to adapt to Bibble’s use of layers and selections, particularly if you’re used to Photoshop, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to selectively edit sections of the photo. In the end, Bibble 5 Pro is a full-time tool for full-time photographers, but it’s been somewhat eclipsed by Adobe’s Lightroom, even though it’s arguably more powerful.