Ask a dozen digital photographers what the most daunting task they face is, and nearly all will give you the same answer: managing the hundreds of photos that are sitting on their computer. One of my favorite tools for handling this chore is ACDSee, a lean yet comprehensive application that combines powerful batch-processing functions and adequate image editing tools.
The latest update, ACDSee 8 Photo Manager, builds on those strengths and adds others. In fact, two things clearly stood out in the $50 shipping version I tested: its faster interface and its pumped-up photo-archiving capabilities. The latter offers the most compelling reason for current ACDSee users to upgrade.
Burn and Sync
ACDSee 8’s new Burn Basket archiving feature works well. Besides letting you drag and drop files that you want to archive, it enables you to create new folders and to quickly reorganize the photos you are burning to disc.
Another added feature is Sync, which provides an alternate way to back up photos. You define the source and the destination of your files (a network server, an external hard drive, or another connected PC), and specify what the application should do in the event of a file conflict (replace the old file, skip the transfer, or prompt you). Though primarily an archiving tool, Sync also helps you avoid storing duplicate files if you use two PCs for photo editing.
A new quick-search bar lets you speedily hunt through keywords, file names, and other fields. To search a photo’s metadata, however, you have to use the full-search pane. Meanwhile, the Task Pane provides faster access to key tools such as rotate and resize. You can swiftly tab between the Task Pane and Properties, and drop-down menus permit you to expand or contract the extensive list of tasks. Unfortunately, the Task Pane is not customizable.
The app’s new cloning and healing tools did not impress me. Instead of utilizing visible crosshairs to mark the cloning source, as Adobe Photoshop does, ACDSee’s tool employs a scarcely visible dot. This makes repeated cloning arduous at best. The same goes for the program’s healing feature.
As a horizon-challenged photographer, I am constantly using a rotation tool to correct my off-kilter photos. But then comes the tedious task of cropping each image back to a proper rectangle. Click a check box, and version 8 does this automatically. Another handy new feature is the software’s ability to add text to photos.
ACDSee 7 users should get enough improvements in this edition to make the upgrade worthwhile. And anyone grappling with a rapidly growing photo collection will benefit from ACDSee’s streamlined image-processing tools. Even Photoshop users will find this package a useful complement to their favorite photo editor.
ACD Systems ACDSee 8 Photo Manager
Latest update is a bargain, given the breadth of its image-management and editing tools.
Price when reviewed: $50
Current prices (if available)
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