In our previous review of ACDSee Pro 5, we asked if the program could hold it's own in a saturated market. Obviously the answer is yes because we're here on the seventh edition now. New features in Pro 7 include non-destructive image repair and new radial and linear gradient tools, as well as a new detail brush, dual monitor support and a tilt/shift effect which gives the look of a diorama. That's just a selection of new features which seem impressive. But is it worth the £119 / $199 price tag? Find out in our ACDSee Pro 7 review.
Installation and Use
Downloading the program from the ACDSee website takes a few minutes, it's the installation that can take anything up to 20 minutes. Once the desktop icon was installed, we launched the program and were faced with a screen to either take a trial run, enter a licence key or start our membership.
The layout is pretty much the same as the previous version(s) which is great for current owners of ACDSee. There are five sections to the program and we'll look at each on in turn. The default section that loads up is called Manage. It allows you to load your pictures in via the folder search facility to the left of the screen. Highlighting an image will bring up the EXIF data and a Histogram on the left under the folder list and the Metadata input fields to the right. The folder content is in the middle. One of the new features is a copy and paste system for Metadata which is great if you've used the same settings or want to input the same.
The View section is the second area that you'll take the picture into. It's a page that has little information on it. All it's there for is to allow you to look at the pictures with as little distractions as possible. The program has been given a neutral grey colour to aid with this.
After you've checked all the pictures you want to edit are ok, the Develop section will allow you to edit them. A histogram is available in the top left corner of the screen and there are several fine tuning options below. Nine in fact and they include General adjustments, white-balance, Curves, Cross process and Split tone among others. These are all under a single banner – or tab – called Tune and there are three more to choose from: Detail, Geometry and Repair. Detail adjusts lens and sensor issues such as chromatic aberration and noise reduction. The Geometry section allows you to crop pictures, change the perspective which is a similar thing to what a tilt-shift lens would accomplish. It's ironic that the tilt-shift option is only to make toy town effect pictures. In the Repair section, you can fix errors with the Heal or Clone brush and remove red-eye as well.
Once you've made any necessary corrections in the Develop section, you can move to the more localised functions of the Edit section. There's such a vast amount of things to do here, it would be ridiculous to list them all. However, if you're the type of photographer that can't be shelling out for a new version of Photoshop every year, then this will do many of the photo adjustments that you need such as skin repair, vignette, perspective correction, levels & curves, colouration and sharpen. There's also the Tilt-shift feature that is new in ACDSee Pro 7. The grid that's overlaid on the picture will adjust the focal plane then you can tinker with the figures to the left after you get the visual setting you want. You can even select between lens blur and gaussian blur is you prefer the softer gradient of of gaussian.
Another of the new features is the Gradient filters and these will create a graduated filter effect over your pictures. Currently, they're only colour filters and not Neutral Density. Obviously polarising filters can't be replicated, but they're not available anywhere else either. The filters are created in the Develop section by clicking on the graduated icon above the histogram. There's a linear and circular option available. Once you've adjusted the filter to where you want it positioned, you can select the colour you want it to be and begin to tamper with the finer elements.
ACDSee Pro 7 is fully integrated with 365, the hosting and sharing platform from ACDSee. It requires an additional payment and there are two plans to choose from with varying amounts of features. The annual subscription for a Basic plan starts at $39 (around £23) and will give you a minimum of 20Gb of space but you can pay extra and get more space to a maximum of 100Gb. There's also a family plan which not only gives you the same space options, but also gives access to other ACDSee programs such as ACDSee 17, PhotoEditor 6 and Video Converter Pro 3.5. There's also a number of free upgrades, download insurance and you can install the program on up to 5 computers. Prices start at $79 (around £47) and if you're unsure of whether it's right for you or not, you can always try it for 15 days.