Image and media management in Drupal improves a little in version 7 and still has a way to go before you can manage media professionally. Here is my ongoing research into solutions for image and media management based on Drupal.
New Drupal 7 modules
The new Media module, drupal.org/project/media, is available in a beta for for Drupal 7 but not in any for for Drupal 6. The official description for the beta version and the development roadmap both suggest the module is a long way from being a beta version and still should be considered only alpha software. The Media module is dependent on several modules that are practically beta even if labelled otherwise. There is no usable documentation. The Media module is only for the brave.
The module is only a glorified file manager and does not manage the media. There is no node created for the asset. Think of the Media module as a possible replacement for IMCE.
Media browser plus
This is an add-on module for the Media module in Drupal 7, is still beta because it depends on a beta module, and adds some tagging. The tagging appears to be only title and description, still not enough for media management.
This is an add-on module for the Media module in Drupal 7. This is media presentation, not media management. It is still beta.
Existing Drupal 6 modules
Asset was an add-on module that was abandoned when people started working on the Media module.
The Asset Manager add-on module was abandoned due to possible security issues.
The Gallery add-on module, drupal.org/project/gallery, connects to the Gallery software from gallery.menalto.com. Menalto Gallery is available in versions 2 and 3. The Drupal add-on Gallery module connects only to version 2. A connection for version 3 is still a long way away. There is no mention of a Gallery module for Drupal 7.
Menalto Gallery 3 has some improvements over version 2 and one great big disaster preventing use. Menalto stepped forward by basing Gallery 3 on the Kohana framework and jQuery. Unfortunately the went deep back into the dark ages and based their file upload on neolithic crud named Flash. They are using jQuery and everything else modern except for the critical file upload. What drove Menalto in that direction? Did they have a flash-back to the 1990s? Perhaps they were fans of George Michael or New Kids on the Block.
If some idiot talks your boss into authorising the use of Flash on a Web side, please find someone sane to provide an alternative.
The Gallery formatter add-on module has versions for Drupal 6 and 7. It is an add on to CCK in Drupal 6 and uses the Fields module plus a bunch of other modules in Drupal 7. The Gallery formatter formats galleries for presentation in thickbox, colorbox, shadowbox, or lightbox2. Colorbox gets some good reviews. Unfortunately the Gallery formatter module provides multiple file upload through some ancient Flash crudules. Now that Flash is official obsolete, HTML replaces Flash for all the common uses, Flash programs are seeping out of the woodwork like fungus.
The Image add-on module for Drupal 6 is replaced by something built into Drupal 7 and there is no automatic upgrade. The Image module does create a node per image, giving you a starting point for image management. The Image module download includes some other modules to help with image management and their future is not clear. There are no modules for EXIF or any other professional image management features.
The Image module has a bulk
upload add-on to let you bulk upload to your Web site using FTP then to bulk import from the uploaded directory into image nodes. Cool idea. I have not tried it. If all the components of Image had direct Drupal 7 equivalents, I would use it for several sites.
There is an add-on gallery to get you started viewing the images and an add-on module to help you attach image nodes to other nodes. I do not know of a way to connect a gallery list to an external gallery for better presentation.
The Node Gallery add-on module, drupal.org/project/node_gallery, looks better than the Image module and has some nice add-on features but is in transition from version 2 to version 3. Version 3 is marked alpha and is recommended for new sites.
Professionals want EXIF data in image nodes until the XML equivalent becomes the standard. Pros also want their RAW data. Node gallery as an issue mentioning EXIF but it was marked fixed without fixing it.