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Corel AfterShot Pro review

Ben Pitt
27 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
74
inc VAT

A worthy rival for Lightroom, and keenly priced too. There are a few kinks to be ironed out, though

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Shooting in raw mode can make a startling difference to the quality of your photos – as long as you have suitable software to process them. The bundled applications that come with cameras are fine for the odd shot, but for everyday use, it's worth investing in something more capable. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is our current favourite, but there's still plenty of competition out there - including this new contender from Corel.

AfterShot main

There are some powerful non-destructive tools for optimising raw images – and they work pretty well for JPEGs too

Rather than design a raw-processing and photo-management program from scratch, Corel has bought and rebranded Bibble Pro, a less well-known application but one that commands a loyal following. It's easy to see why. Whereas most rival packages are split into various discrete modules, AfterShot Pro – as it's now known – presents everything on one screen. The tabbed panels are coherently arranged, with the left side devoted to management – filtering by metadata, browsing by folder and export – while the right panel handles editing functions.

Filtering by metadata is elegant and quick. The filters include keywords, ratings, labels, file type, date, camera and lens model, plus camera settings – from aperture to white balance preset. There's a number in brackets beside each filter value, so we were immediately able to see that we had 10,248 shots at ISO 100 and four at ISO 140, for example. Holding down Shift selects a range of values, such as March to July. Clicking the Refine button locks the selection for further filtering by other metadata. It all happens extremely quickly, revealing matches for multiple filters in under a second from our catalogue of 40,000 images.

AfterShot local correction

Colour correction, sharpening and noise reduction can be applied to limited areas of an image, such as to brighten up the wall at the bottom of this shot

Raw processing and JPEG manipulation is entirely non-destructive, and on the whole, it's hard to fault. The Standard tab brings the most commonly used tools together, with greater control provided via tabs for Color, Tone and Detail. It's also possible to perform adjustments to a limited area, as defined by a brush, curve, polygon or circle tool, or any combination.

Automatic lens correction is built in, with profiles for an impressive number of lenses. It's not applied by default, which is a bit of a pain for Micro Four Thirds cameras' raw files which tend to need the correction, but it isn't hard to define default settings that apply correction to batches of photos with a single click. Lens profiles don't fix chromatic aberrations, though, whereas Adobe Lightroom's profiles do.

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