FILEminimizer Pictures Shrinks Files Somewhat

FILEminimizer Pictures ($35, limited demo) offers a bold claim: To shrink photo file size by up to 98%, letting you more easily upload your photos to Facebook and such. Appealing as it may sound, the software doesn't live up to the claim.

FILEminimizer Pictures screenshot
FILEminimizer Pictures makes big claims about compressing photos, but any competent image editor can do the same things.

You may already be thinking, "I thought JPGs were already compressed. So how's FILEminimizer do that?" After numerous tests, I've determined that FILEminimizer really doesn't do much actual compression or optimization of the original file to get that massive percentage. Instead, it resizes the image dimensions, and sometimes saves in a different file format. Unless you specify otherwise in the options, FILEminimizer will change most image filetypes (such as TIF) to JPG or PNG in the compression process, and shrink the image size by up to 25%.

Anyone with a decent image editor can do all this themselves, either one at a time or using a simple batch process, and FILEminimizer doesn't let you specify the new file size or the new file format. The best you can do is tell it not to save as JPG in order to prevent quality loss, and prevent it from resizing the file. Checking both of these options means FILEminimizer gets about a 2% size reduction, rather than 98%.

JPGs that are already sized for the Web won't be resized, but FILEminimizer will optimize their file sizes a little bit-- about 15%, on average. You won't have to worry about your avatars being resized, for example. Since hard drives have never been cheaper than right now, this doesn't seem like a substantial space savings..

Photoshop has a built-in image processor that's far less limiting. If you don't have Photoshop, most places you upload images (such as Facebook) will take your camera phone photos, resize them, and optimize them for you. Photo sharing sites like Flickr do this also. If you prefer to do it on your own PC, try the free Photoshop alternative The GIMP.

Bottom line is, FILEminimizer isn't that useful for the wide majority of photo sharers out there. And it's definitely not worth your $35. Instead, try uploading your raw image files directly to the Web sites and watch the site take care of the rest. And save your money.

Note: The trial version allows 20 free optimizations; any further optimizations are watermarked. The full version costs $35 for a single-user license.

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