ACDS ee Ultimate 10 £120/$150
Expensive without REA LLY offering anything new
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.