Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge

This is the view looking west towards Hebden Bridge town centre from under the Station Road bridge over the Rochdale Canal. The image was captured as a three-exposure HDR bracket set at 3:50pm on the 10th of August and developed using ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate 2022.

I’m now on my third new RAW development software application since dumping Luminar AI in early August this year. As I mentioned in my post, Old Lifeboat House and Branch at Moelfre, Anglesey, Luminar AI became unusable for me (a Windows user) after updating to version 1.4.

Having then tried Affinity Photo, I next subscribed to On1 Photo RAW 2021 which, although a little laggy, and not totally stable, I was happy with (I’d had severe performance issues with earlier versions).

When it was launched, I moved on to On1 Photo Raw 2022, and yes, you’ve guessed it: it was very laggy and kept crashing!

I’ve come to the conclusion that Skylum and On1 develop for Mac and that the Windows version of their software isn’t a priority. When you think about it, all their affiliates are using Mac.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2022

In my search for suitable software (accidental alliteration 😉), I did try Photo Studio 2021 with the above very high dynamic range HDR bracket set, but the HDR merge at that stage simply didn’t work properly. Because of this, I moved on without looking at the rest of the application.

I am very pleased to say that with the 2022 version, the HDR merge is now working great!

I also developed this same bracketed set with Affinity Photo and On1 Photo RAW, and I can report that ACDSee managed to recover highlights that the other applications couldn’t – perhaps thanks to the excellent Light EQ tool.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2022 is vast! Like On1, it’s very comprehensive, with nothing missing.

There are plenty of advanced digital asset management features in the Manage section. For editing, there’s a very comprehensive, non-destructive Develop section (non-destructive RAW file editing like Lightroom) with global tools and local adjustments. And for further layered editing, there’s the Edit section (raster / pixel editing like Photoshop) where you can blend in parts of other images to create composites and much more.

The best thing, bearing in mind my recent software problems, is that ACDSee Photo Studio is primarily developed for Windows. There is a Mac version, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive.

Unlike Skylum and On1, ACD System’s priority is Windows!

Being developed for Windows really shows in its performance. It has never crashed in the time I’ve been using it. Some things take a second or two to yield, but I’m very happy with the spritely and stable performance – especially considering that here I was working on a HDR merged file with lots of other applications still running. That was something I couldn’t do with Luminar, or in particular, On1. I had to reserve every bit of RAM and processor performance for the photo application I was using – no need with ACDSee!

Being developed mainly for Windows does have one drawback though. All the clever guys making tutorial videos use Mac, so they aren’t really interested in ACDSee. There are a few good tutorials and reviews out there, however, and ACDSee have some webinars.

Thankfully, I have the experience to figure things out for myself.

I consider ACDSee to be under-promoted. They need more affiliates and tutorial videos. If I were to consider teaching again, I would certainly be recommending ACDSee Photo Studio to Windows users.

Comments welcome below ….

Published by Peter Finch

I have been an electrical draughtsman, a retailer and, for 12 years, a photography tutor. In 2019, I took a job as an electrical technician and closed my tuition business. Am I now photography tutor emeritus ...?

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