Falaphol is a simple color managed photo viewer for Windows, designed to show the most common formats - and Leica DNGs as fast as possible - keeping the photo at the same zoom level and position when switching between different photos (an infuriating omission in some viewers), and zooming in and out with the mouse wheel, relative to the mouse pointer (by choice).
Falaphol is designed on and for Windows 10, but also works fine on Windows 7 (most likely also on Vista / Windows 8, but was not tested on those platforms).
Falaphol doesn't do slideshows, albums, stories or add music. I consider it a simple photography tool for quick viewing and a bit of comparing, for me personally most useful because of the DNG addition.
Falaphol can handle JPG, JXR (JPEG XR), TIFF, PNG, BMP, ICO, GIF, Moving GIF and for some people (like myself) most importantly: DNGs from Leica cameras (as fast as I could get it possible).
Opening DNGs is slow, because they're raw. They need to be interpolated, expanded to 16-bit, gamma corrected, tone-curved and last but not least, converted to the right colorspace and transferred to bitmap. Then some cameras rely on the fixing of distortion, which also can eat away quite a bit of time. And to complicate: DNGs nowadays are huge in size. Obviously, the bigger they are, the more time it takes (in general, a doubling in dimensions takes four times longer to process). The S, S2 and Q2 are quite problematic in that respect.
Falaphol has a few tricks under its virtual hood to make this process less painful:
o Uses the fastest - but not so great quality-wise - bilinear interpolation algorithm.
o In the settings you can request a 1:2, 1:4 or even a 1:8 version... for viewing M9 / M10 / M files I think 1:4 is fine, and a lot faster... Q2 owners (huge files) might consider the 1:8 setting to be okay... there's also a neat trick setting: 1:1 progressive. That one starts with a fast 1:4 image and then loads the 1:1 in the background, allowing you to view other photos in between.
o You can skip applying the tone curve... makes for less vibrant images, but is faster.
o You can skip applying lens correction on cameras that use it (CL, Q, Q2, T, SL and Vario X)... shows more distortion, but is a lot faster.
o Results are cached... if you don't change the settings in between, a next time around the viewing will be even faster.
Falaphol currently supports DNGs from:
o Leica M8
o Leica M9
o Leica MM
o Leica M (typ 240 / 246 / 262)
o Leica M-D (typ 262)
o Leica M10
o Leica M10-P
o Leica M10-D
o Leica M10-R
o Leica Q
o Leica Q2
o Leica S2
o Leica S (typ 006)
o Leica S (typ 007)
o Leica S3
o Leica SL
o Leica SL2
o Leica T [see note down below: the T DNGs do not play nice with Windows 10 if you have the Adobe DNG Codec installed]
o Leica TL [see note down below: the TL DNGs do not play nice with Windows 10 if you have the Adobe DNG Codec installed]
o Leica TL2 [see note down below: the TL2 DNGs do not play nice with Windows 10 if you have the Adobe DNG Codec installed]
o Leica CL
o Leica X Vario (typ 107)
o DNGMonochrome (Leica DNG only)
And the formats: JPG, JXR (JPEG XR), TIFF, PNG, BMP, ICO, GIF and moving GIF.
Note that I'm testing with photos from pre-production cameras (my photos from production cameras are limited to the Leica M9 and the Leica M-D (typ 262)). Sometimes the firmware changes before Leica releases the final product, which can lead to Falaphol not recognising the camera. If you have problems with photos that are from a camera in the list, shoot me an email (see bottom of the page).
Since version 1.5.0 Falaphol is color managed (default turned off). See the settings. If you turn on color management (ICM), advised is to also select 'Use default color profile set through Windows'. If you switch that one off, you can choose any ICM profile on your system, but a lot of them might be inappropriate and give wrong results. Turn on color management if you notice too much difference between e.g. photos in Lightroom compared to the exported JPEG in Falaphol.
On the Adobe DNG Codec and the Leica T, TL & TL2 DNG
You can also try the Adobe DNG Codec, which does seem to work quite okay with the older Windows photo viewer (called 'Windows Photo Viewer'), but on my system doesn't do anything for DNG when opened with the Windows 10 photo viewer (called 'Photos'). In 'Photos' it still only shows the embedded preview. It was another reason I decided to take matters into my own hands. For Falaphol you do not need the Adobe Codec on your Windows 10 system. On Windows 7 the DNG Codec might be the smarter solution.
Problem with Leica T / TL & TL2 DNGs: For some reason the Leica T DNG (in all varieties) crashes the Windows 10 metadatahandler.dll if Adobe DNG Codec is installed. The crash occurs in the Open dialog of Falaphol (only on Leica T / TL & TL2 DNGs): Falaphol will suddenly close, without warning, after clicking on such a DNG. Falaphol has a work-around implemented, but that one only works if you run Falaphol under Administrator rights. Another work-around is to make sure the Preview pane on the right of the Open dialog is closed, before you select the DNG. If the Preview pane is open, you can close it by clicking the 'Hide preview pane' button at the top-right of the Open dialog window. Opening Falaphol directly by double clicking on a T / TL / TL2 DNG or selecting 'Open with...' and pointing to Falaphol, poses no problem and works fine. This crash is limited and connected to the Preview pane of the T / TL & TL2 DNG in the Open dialog (right click in Falaphol -> Open...) in combination with the Adobe DNG Codec. Uninstalling the DNG Codec is also a solution obviously - the DNGs will then no longer show up in the Preview pane, so the Preview can no longer cause the crash - but that might not be an option if the codec is used by other applications.