ACDS ee Ul­ti­mate 10 £120/$150

Ex­pen­sive with­out REA LLY of­fer­ing any­thing new

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

ACDSee Ul­ti­mate 10 is billed as an all-in-one dig­i­tal as­set man­ager and ed­i­tor, so at first glance it seems to cover sim­i­lar ter­ri­tory to Adobe Light­room.

There are, how­ever, some im­por­tant dif­fer­ences. First, it can work as a folder browser like Adobe Bridge, with rat­ings, tags, la­bels and col­lec­tions. Man­age mode of­fers batch pro­cess­ing and meta­data tem­plates for ad­ding key­words and copy­right in­for­ma­tion to all the pho­tos from a sin­gle shoot. To cre­ate Smart Col­lec­tions or use the pro­gram’s Pho­tos Time­line View you do need to im­port them into Ul­ti­mate 10’s im­age cat­a­logue.

The sec­ond dif­fer­ence is that Ul­ti­mate 10 adds a pixel-based Edit mode with a greater range of ad­just­ments than are on of­fer in Light­room, though geo­met­ric corrections, white bal­ance, tone curve and other ad­just­ments are avail­able in both.

The big dif­fer­ence is that Ul­ti­mate 10 sup­ports lay­ers, so you can cre­ate im­age com­pos­ites with lay­ers, masks and blend­ing modes. It’s not Pho­to­shop, but it’s prob­a­bly pow­er­ful enough for be­gin­ners and en­thu­si­asts, and it does sup­port Pho­to­shop plug-ins for ad­ding ef­fects and styles that are dif­fi­cult to achieve with its own tools.


Ul­ti­mate 10 keeps up with Adobe’s soft­ware de­vel­op­ments well. It of­fers built-in RAW con­ver­sion, and dis­tor­tion and per­spec­tive lens corrections, plus Clar­ity and De­haze tools, though the lat­ter kept crash­ing our PC’s graph­ics card.

Re­sults are oth­er­wise good – it can re­cover blown-out high­light de­tail from RAW files, and has plenty of tonal and colour con­trol, in­clud­ing Light EQ tools for ad­just­ing in­di­vid­ual ranges within the over­all tone scale. It doesn’t of­fer the same over­all range and scope as Light­room and Pho­to­shop, but users might pre­fer ACDSee’s all-in-one ap­proach and work­flow.

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