Pro Photo Manager
Georgiou, January 2006
III processor or faster, Windows 2000, XP or Vista,
100MB free hard disk space, 256MB RAM
have used the ACDSee for viewing, processing, minor
editing, organizing, cataloging, occasionally publishing,
and archiving photo collections for a number of years.
I've reviewed several incarnations of the product.
The last couple of versions have been a massive improvement
over earlier versions. In this review I won't dwell
on all the image browsing features that we've covered
so many times. ACDSee is one of the best image viewing
and image management tools I've used. It is also
one of the simplest. In this version it is still
fast, but ACD Systems has also added all sorts of
useful features aimed at professional level photographers.
addition of support for Adobe's Digital Negative
(DNG) file format and more comprehensive RAW image
file format support brings ACDSee fully into the
realm of professional tools. However, while support
for DNG is good, it's far from perfect. I found several
DNG files which were not viewable, but which were
through Adobe Bridge and Adobe's other tools. Having
said that, there were also actually some RAW files
I could view in ACDSee Pro Photo Manager, but which
could not be read in Bridge or Photoshop. This would
seem to indicate that the DNG format itself is not
metadata (camera properties, image properties, etc.) handling
in ACDSee Pro Photo Manager is excellent, with much of
the data available in a tabbed panel in the image properties
pane. The pane displays information which changes based
upon whatever is currently selected whether it be drives,
folders or files. This information includes user-defined
database info, file & folder info, EXIF, IPTC and custom
(ACDSee-centric) metadata. This data helps you in defining
natural catalog groupings and also when searching for assets
in your database. You can also set metadata in batches.
Add the capability for customizable shortcuts and workspaces
and the software places itself front and center in the
professional photographer's toolkit.
have also been improvements to the image enhancement
and processing tools with lens correction capabilities,
shadow and highlight adjustment features and non-destructive
RAW processing. You can also add watermarks to your photos,
either individually or in batches. The compare images
tool is excellent for sorting and reviewing shoots so
that you can pare groups of photos down to relevant images.
management support using ICC profiles has been added,
further enhancing the idea that this is a tool which
should be taken seriously. Substantial improvements have
been made to the handling and storage of your image assets,
including enhanced HTML and CD/DVD-compatible media creation
support materials for this great tool are somewhat thin
on the ground. Once I'd registered my package I was offered
a free digital photography e-book and a text heavy manual.
I think that instead of giving away a free digital photography
e-book, ACD Systems should invest some time and resources
into improving the user manual. Add some relevant images,
screenshots and examples, and enhance the new and intermiedate
user experience by supplying some basic tutorial videos
(particularly covering new features). Online support
should be something to look out for as the product has
just been launched as I write this review. I didn't expect
much, but the online forums are already present with
does ACDSee Pro Photo Manager differ from ACDSee 8 Photo
Manager? If you are familiar with ACDSee already, the
Pro version should present you with very few surprises.
However the surprises that are there, are very pleasant
ones indeed. The biggest change has been in the batch
processing, which has been improved through the use of
unified interface. This interface allows the application
of up to 10 different processes to be carried out on
selected images. The batch capabilities have also been
made easier through the use of a new visual tagging feature.
This is one of my favorites, allowing you to organize,
sort, process and cull files with great ease. Using the
tag feature you can select specific files and move them
to a folder for batch processing or just leave them where
they are and use selection shortcuts to make your modifications.
If you want to have a look at a comprehensive list of
the differences between the ACDSee 8 and ACDSee Pro versions,
have a look at the feature
matrix (it's a PDF file).
newly added support for Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG)
file format is a great addition, but the compatibility
of the ACDSee DNG loader needs to be improved. I
felt that the loader should have been able to import
and display all of the DNG files I tried. On the other
hand, considering that the DNG file format is based on
the Digital Negative Specification and still under development
to some extent, this compatibility should improve over
time with some updates.
More and better support materials required. The user
interface (UI) is a bit complicated at times. I did feel
that the UI let the application down somewhat, but given
the historical context, it remains a faithful extension
of the existing product set at ACD Systems. I'd love
to see some
kind of visual style search which compares and presents
similar looking images.
to use, excellent utilities, extensive RAW support. Useful,
basic photo editing capabilities. Visual tagging. Fast
operation. All in all ACDSee Pro Photo Manager is an excellent
solution for any photographers using a Windows-based PC
and thinking about RAW and photo workflows. Amateur photographers
and photo enthusiasts can also benefit from using ACDSee.
I used it to organize and clean up my large digital clipping
collection. Digital clippings are reference files and image
snags of samples of good design and other inspirational
images. For someone who is looking at an efficient method
of organizing large numbers of these types of graphics
and images, this program is ideal, especially because of
the improved batch processing and visual tagging features.
The support materials issues mentioned above certainly
didn't prevent me from making ongoing and extensive use
of this powerful tool. I recommend ACDSee Pro Photo Manager
for anyone who has the need for a reasonably priced RAW
image workflow, an image asset management engine, a large
collection of digital images to view and organize, and
large volumes of general image processing tasks.