My loyalty is to the quality of the resulting work, not to any particular brand of software! We were originally going to review ACDSee Ultimate 10 but when I tried to download the trial version which is free for 30 days I encountered a small issue.
Therefore, we asked the question see in the screenshot via the chat box and Brendan from their support team replied yes. ACDSee did not provide any compensation or consideration for the writing of this review, and they have had no editorial control or review over the content. Is It Free? ACDSee Photo Studio is not free software, but there is a day free trial with all features available.
Each of these subscription plans also includes licenses for a range of other ACDSee software, further enhancing their value. Does It Work on Mac? As of this writing, Photo Studio is only available for Windows, but a Mac version is currently in beta development and available for download. Professional vs. Ultimate The different versions of Photo Studio come with very different price points, but they also have very different feature sets. Ultimate is obviously the most powerful version, but Professional is still a capable RAW workflow editor and library manager.
Lightroom offers features such as Tethered Capture for taking photos right within Lightroom and lets Photoshop handle any major pixel-level editing, while Photo Studio skips the capture part and includes Photoshop-style image editing as the final stage of its workflow.
Adobe seems to have paid a bit more attention to the nuances of user interface and experience, while ACDSee has been focusing on creating the most complete standalone program possible. A Closer Look at Photo Studio Ultimate Please note that the screenshots I used for this review are taken from the Windows version, and the Mac version currently beta will look slightly different. It may just be a layout issue on Windows 10, but it seems like a serious image editing program should make the effort to use a program that keeps its buttons fully visible in the window, at the very least.
However, the download was relatively fast and the rest of the installation went smoothly. The program is broken down into several modules or tabs, which are accessible along the top right. Manage, Photos and View are all organizational and selection modules. Develop lets you perform all your non-destructive RAW image rendering, and with the Edit module you can dig deeply into the pixel level with layer-based editing.
Fortunately, ACDSee has included a thorough on-screen quick start guide to help new users get accustomed to the software. Of the five modules in the program, three are organizational tools: Manage, Photos, and View.
The Manage module covers your general library interaction, where you do all your tagging, flagging and keyword entry. You can also do a range of batch editing tasks, upload your images to a series of online services, including Flickr , Smugmug and Zenfolio , and create slideshows. You can filter images, but it feels like this should really be incorporated into the Manage module. The very bottom row displays the focal length as mm, which is an accurate calculation of the effective focal length due to the 1.
For the most part, this aspect of the program is very well done, and I appreciate the multi-channel histogram with easy access to highlight and shadow clipping. You can apply your edits to specific areas of the image with brushes and gradients, as well as do some basic healing and cloning. I did find that many of their automatic settings were overly aggressive in their application, as you can see in this result of an automatic white balance adjustment.
Most of the tools included are fairly standard for image editors, but there is a unique lighting and contrast adjustment tool called LightEQ. You can also work on your image in the Edit module, which contains a number of features that are more Photoshop-like than most RAW editors include, including the ability to work with layers.
This allows you to create image composites, overlays or any other type of pixel editing, and although this is a nice addition, I found that it could use a bit more polish in terms of its execution.
The tools themselves are capable enough, but you may find yourself frustrated by continually missing the right buttons, which is not what you want to be dealing with while working on a complex edit. Of course, there are keyboard shortcuts, but these are also oddly chosen. It definitely has potential, but it needs some additional refinement to become a true competitor. The app is extremely easy to use, allowing you to send photos directly from your phone to your Photo Studio installation.
The organizational and library management tools are particularly good, and many other programs could learn a thing or two from the way ACDSee has set things up. The mobile companion app is excellent and works perfectly. Ease of Use: There are some user interface issues with the Edit module that can negatively impact ease of use, but this can be overcome with some practice.
The mobile companion app is extremely easy to use, and makes it simple to retouch your photos before sharing them online. Read our review of Lightroom here. There are two versions available: Read our review of OpticsPro here. Read our review of Capture One Pro here. Some of the UI elements are very oddly scaled and indistinct, and some of the separate review and organization modules could be combined to streamline the workflow bit further.
Hopefully, ACDSee will continue to invest development resources into the improvement of this already very capable image editor.
I downloaded the trial of ACDSee Pro 9 a few weeks ago and a couple of days later I realized that the sale price would end very soon before I was able to do the full 30 day evaluation I had planned. I ended up buying it with less than a week of trial use since it seemed like it might be okay for me and I didn't want to pay much more if I missed the sale price. Unfortunately, soon after buying it I started to discover some things that made it much less attractive for me.
Once I discovered these things I stopped further evaluation since I now have no plans to continue to use it. Before I get to the things that were especially bothersome to me let me just say that in other ways it seemed to be pretty good, but it was still early days in playing with it. So, I am not trying to discourage anyone from trying it out and possibly buying it. Adobe, Corel, etc. Also note that many people may not find my short list to be a problem for them or they may even prefer the way ACDSee Pro 9 behaves.
The website should make this clear up front since most competitors are not nearly so stingy and restrictive. I spent lots of time looking at the website, comparing Pro 9 to Ultimate 9, reading reviews, etc. This restriction is the main thing that made me stop spending any more time evaluating it for my use.
I have a bigger computer at home and a smaller one I take when I travel to take photos. Being restricted to Pro 9 on only one computer makes it pretty much useless for me. Rather than tell it which folder s you want to have in the catalog the best you can do is tell it which folders to exclude from the catalog. Of course, that would be a long, ever growing list and a constant pain in the butt. Then on top of that, anytime you happen to look at a folder even when not in catalog mode it will then add the images from that folder to the catalog too.
Some people probably prefer this behavior, but I most definitely do not. It would be nice to have an option to tell Pro 9 to only catalog stuff in the place or places you specify. None of the ones I use work. I was in contact with a helpful support person and he sent me a short list of plugins that they have found that work. ACD doesn't tell you this upfront though on their website and, in fact, says Photoshop plugins are supported with no mention that many don't work.
I don't use plugins much, but for film scans I use Focus Magic 3. I contacted support and they sent me a short list of plugins they say work. I downloaded the free Virtualphotographer to try since they suggested it would probably work, but it didn't. Works in my other 3 editors though. They said that maybe it doesn't work after all. I found this very annoying. I often like to go back and forth checking the current state and some number of steps back 3, 4, 8, or whatever by just selecting the point I want to go back to in the history window list, then going back to the top, etc.
Of course, I found some things to like too, but this isn't a review so there is no need to try to give a rundown of everything. I just wanted to point out some things that ACD doesn't tell you, but you would likely discover later. If they don't matter to you then that is fine. I expect a browser to be just that I don't understand your unhappiness about this one point. At least in ACDSee you can work off the folder structure you have established, and that you use in other editing programs, and do so as soon as the program opens, w.
I documented my reasons HERE. It's a little dated, but it still is essentially true, I think. I've also become a better technical writer since then, I think I feel the need to defend it a bit since a lot of your issues with ACDSee are built around some misunderstanding of the product. There are some things I miss about Lr, but the things I have gained far outweigh what I have lost, I think. ACDSee, like Lightroom, isn't for everyone.
I thought I would post this just so others will have the information that I discovered on my own. I just want to let people know things that ACD is not up front about or is not clear on. AS I have said elsewhere, the above depends on how you buy it.
The standalone product is for a single installation, but the ultimate plan is a sort of subscription service to all the major ACDSee photo products allows up to 3 different installations per title. I have a single user license, and I have no problems installing it on both the desktop and the laptop and use them on both.
I suspect however, that I would not be able to use both installations at the same time. I haven't looked that price up lately, I've never needed it. I'm not going to defend or decry ACDSee's licensing practices. They are in business to make money, and the company should do what they think will maximize profits for them.
Nothing I can say will, or should, affect that. Those who find this approach at odds with their personal value system, might want to look at Open Source software because the other for profit software publishers , while their specific tactics might vary, they are following the same philosophy.
Users also have to do what they think benefits them the most, I am comfortable with my choice. As an aid to new users that is the default methodology, however one CAN avoid this automatic import and import a specific folder or hierarchy of folders in the manual import dialog. To me, it seemed pretty obvious from the set up dialog that auto import is avoidable.
Alternately, one can avoid importing altogether, and just open the specific photo you want to work on. What occurs then, is that as you reveal information about the photo as you work on it, that data is then stored in the ACDSee database behind the scenes without you even seeing it occur. ACDSee Like Corel, and every OTHER non Adobe photographic program that claims to support photoshop plugins pretty much supports the '8bf' plugin format, other plugin formats, like '8li' are not supported.
It seems to be some sort of licensing issue. For more information on this issue see this article: That's true, you can walk back to previous steps, but you can not display a list of history steps and select the specific step you are looking for. I like it because I think the Raw development is better than LIghtroom and is as good at the rest of the competition which is also better than Lr, IMO , and I like it because I think its unique tools like Light EQ and Pixel Targeting allows me to squeeze out all the dynamic range my camera and my skills can deliver.
Ultimately, we all select the tools that gets us the photos we want.