ISO tool / method for quickly comparing many similar photos to pick the best one

Former Aperture user here. i held on tight until Monterey and the M1 gave me no choice but to let it go. Currently using Photos as primary DAM. It’s… OK, barely. The main advantage was that I could easily import all my Aperture libraries. Also, the system integration that comes with using Apple software. At this point I really do not want to switch to a new DAM (Lightroom, etc.) if I can avoid it.

One of my most-used Aperture features was the ability to create a “stack” of similar photos and then view the stack, two photos at a time – always showing the current “pick” and one other image. You could quickly breeze through a whole bunch of images using only keystrokes – any image that was better than the current pick would become the new pick and all subsequent images would be compared to that one.

AFAIK, Photos does not have such a feature. I thought PhotoSweeper X would do the trick, but it seems to be geared towards finding and deleting duplicate images. It doesn’t really work for comparing and culling from 10 or more similar photos. PhotoMechanic looks like it would be a good tool to use as a stopover between getting files onto the computer and importing them into, but it is a bit expensive for my usage.

Are there any Photos plugins or even (inexpensive) stand-alone apps that can do this one thing without the need to commit to a whole new DAM system?

I’d love to find something to do this in Photos too. Is finding similar photos something Lightroom can do?

Nothing that is not expensive comes to mind. But I can select two photos in the Photos app, right click, and Edit in the Preview app. Viewing as a Preview contact sheet, I can see two images side by side (even more than two).

Since picking up Photo Mechanic, I have forgotten about a much less expensive app called FastRawViewer which will view photos two-up or four-up. But read the manual. I did not catch on to their approach to multi-window viewing at first.

I think Photo Mechanic is exactly what I’m looking for. I just wish I could justify the cost…

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Corel Aftershot 3 does this well, and it’s cheaper than some alternatives. I found a copy on sale for under $50 last year.

I’m not at my Mac and I’ll forget to check later, but this is free and might do the job (or it might not, I’m just throwing it out there as I am tight on time).

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Ooooo… Looks promising. I will definitely be taking a look at that. Thanks!

I have used this for years - even paid for it before it was free.

It is really good for triaging photos, and you can set up key strokes for rejects, keepers and in-betweeners. It can then sort all the photos into separate folders. The developer used to be super responsive.

Given it is free it is definitely worth a go.