Thursday, April 7, 2011
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:46 AM
"Take your digital photos to the highest standard. ACDSee Pro 4 will help get you there fast, with all the tools you need for everything you shoot. Manage, view, process and publish your images in one full-featured application. You'll enjoy organized files, achieve stunning visual results, and free up more time to spend behind the camera."
I've been a huge fan of ACDSee for years - I've used every version of their product since the mid '90s - but I have to admit I'm not terribly enthused by this upgrade in their Pro line. The cost of the upgrade for owners of Pro 3 is high; $167.99 for the upgrade (compared to $99 for the Lightroom upgrade for example). When I look at the list of what's new, I don't see many things that make me say "Oh yeah, I've been waiting for that!". Pro 4 offers a better metadata panel, metadata presets, a location-based map view, improved raw rendering and vignette correction, chromatic aberration fixes...and that's about it. There's mention of an HDR feature on the product home page - and I don't think that's in Pro 3 - but the What's New page doesn't mention the HDR feature as being new...so who knows?
I'm honestly a bit shocked to see so few new features added, and so few features that I'd personally find useful. I don't use ACDSee Pro for processing raw files - I use Lightroom - and it seems like ACD Systems is focused on making a "Lightroom Killer" at the expense of everything else.
So as a long-time user of this program, and as someone that uses it at least 20 times per day, what are the things I'd like to see? Things that would improve my day to day use of the program:
- Image Resizing Presets: one of my top uses for ACDSee Pro is to resize images I've pulled down from the Web to the width our template requires (600 pixels wide). I sometimes need to crop excessive white space from around the image as well. Give me a fly-out right-click menu that would allow me to, with one click, resize an image to 600px wide, and maintain the file format. If some form of smart "white space cropping" technology could be implemented, even better!
- Easy Photo Time Travel: how often do you go some place (say, a restaurant or a hiking trail), then on the way out you see the sign saying where you've just been, and you take a picture of it. The only way to have that photo appear at the beginning of the set is to change the time/date metadata, and that requires changes to at least three fields. I want a one-click way to move a photo back or forward in time.
- Better Printing: I shouldn't have to spend $29.99 buying FotoSlate 4 Photo Print Studio to get the ability to print multiple images of different sizes on a single page (and even that program doesn't work very well for what I want to do). Give me simple, drag and drop printing capabilities - let me specify the exact physical dimensions of each photo I drop on the page, and I'd be happy. My sanity was frayed last Christmas trying to print out small photos for Christmas ornaments - I was stunned at how difficult it was.
- Better Text/Watermarking Tools: It's sad that I have to use a free program (Picasa) to get simple and automated watermarking done. The text tools in Pro 3 are archaic and clumsy.
- Faster Metadata Changes: When I make metadata changes via the Batch Set Information function, it's slow. Really slow. This was fast in Pro 2, but got about 5x slower in Pro 3. Speed it up please!
- Better Video Performance: When I'm looking through a group of photos and videos, when I click on a video, Pro 3 basically locks up for a few seconds, then if I'm lucky the video will start playing. Faster video playback and previews, and less lag. This is on a Core i7 system (3.6 Ghz) with 6 GB of RAM.
- Better Stability: Pro 3 crashes on me more often than almost any other program I have. It should be stable by now.
Are you a user of ADSee Pro? If so, chime in and let me know what you'd like to see!