In the old days I was a big fan of ACDSee 4.0 , but it lacks of proper RAW support, because I always had problems with their buggy RAW plugin. The following versions became slower and slower and slower, not really usable in terms of speed. Next I became a user of IrfanView. It was fast but the video viewing capabilities were too slow on loading. Next I came to Picasa 2 which is not really meant for a double click in the explorer and exit by pressing Esc. Too slow for quick folder browsing. My latest discovery was XnView. It took quite long to startup and needed 2 times Esc pressing.
Than I came to FastStone. The FastStone Image Viewer 3.0 didn’t offer any skin that was looking good with my milky style. Although it had that problem with Multi-Page-Image-Files. When browsing a folder, it always get stuck on these types of images ( .tiff in my case ). But FastStone offers a smaller tool, called FastStone MaxView 2.0 (freeware). You can use it as a borderless window which makes it fitting into every environment without esthetic problem regarding the window manager style.
Why I like about it:
- fast startup from double-click in the Explorer
- exit by pressing Esc once
- excellent magnifier customization
- very fast image browsing, even on big images ( 4096×4096 and bigger )
- moving the mouse to screen edges brings up additional menus
- continuous browsing by holding down the arrow keys
- blazing fast on browsing folders with RAW files ( using embedded preview images )