ACDSee isn’t the only RAW image processor available in the market, but was the first application of its kind. The 64-bit ACDSee Pro 6 was recently launched and is competing head on with Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Lightroom. ACDSee Pro 6 also seems to be the tool of choice for many professional photographers. We just got our hands on the latest copy of ACDSee Pro 6 and this is what we think.
The package and installation
The application can be downloaded from the developer’s website. Since it is an online installation, you can be assured that it is the latest version that you install. The installation is smooth and the installer screen has the signature color scheme used by ACDSee. The application foot print is fairly small and since it is a 64-bit version, you can expect it to take full advantage of the computer’s 64-bit architecture.
The first look
The application has a dark scheme (with the option to vary the intensity) and this definitely helps you concentrate on the image you are going to edit. Although the layout can be changed according to your preference, the default scheme with the controls on the left and mark up information at the bottom is quite convenient.
The editing functions
One of the selling points of ACDSee Pro 6 is that it enables you to apply the edits over a version of the master image, leaving the original file untouched. This feature is called as non destructive editing. The moment you connect your camera or a storage device, you are thrown up with a pop up window to import the images. The application supports almost every RAW file that is out there with support for new cameras constantly being added.
The workflow is pretty neat. You first apply RAW file sharpening, crop the image for composition and then apply white balance adjustments. You don’t have the ability to apply the white balance adjustments on selective zones, but then, none of the RAW image editors in the market have that feature. Then comes the levels and curves, the developers have put a lot of thought into designing this and you can apply levels on individual color channels or use the luminosity ratings. The noise reduction feature is also pretty impressive and rather than applying the adjustment to the JPED version, the application works on the RAW file and the result is a noise-free (to a relative degree) picture without the quality being affected.
One aspect where ACDSee falls behind is the core engine update. When you move from an older version, the new algorithms are not applied to the existing images and you will have to process them over. This is not going to be appreciated by those photographers who have tens of thousands of images.
The library management
The application doubles as an image management tool. All the files are neatly saved in the image library and not only are they easy to manage; you can also process them in batches. You also have the option to key in over the metadata and search for keywords. You can even sort the images by the ISO rating, the dimension, the aperture stops and shutter speeds.
If you want to sort out all the low light images, you will know the shutter speed you generally use. By searching for images that have been shot with a shutter speed of around 30s and bulb to 1/10 of a second, you can pool out the images. The same can be done for wide or closed aperture stops.
The application also lets you create events and group them by the date of creation. The online connectivity is also a great feature as you can update your online gallery. Without having to export a version of the image to your hard disk and then uploading them to photo sharing sites, you can directly sync and upload them from the application.
Although there are a lot of differences between ACDSee Pro 6 and Aperture and Lightroom, the application is pretty decent and does what it is advertised to do – edit and manage RAW images. Whether professional photographers are going to embrace this application is yet to be seen. Nonetheless, it is an application that is worth giving a try, especially if you have a low end computer.