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ACDSee Pro 6 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £62
inc VAT

Some valuable new features, particularly the Develop Brush, but there are still too many rough edges

ACDSee Pro was one of the first applications to combine photo library management with Raw processing, and it handles both tasks extremely proficiently. There are lots of new features in version 6, so let’s get stuck in.

A 64-bit version promises faster performance on 64-bit versions of Windows. Sure enough, it was extremely quick to browse large photo libraries and jump from thumbnails to full-screen previews. Filtering by metadata and keyword searches usually took a couple of seconds – not bad, but rival packages are even faster.

Version 6 finally adds a non-destructive Develop Brush. This means it’s now possible to adjust limited areas of an image without having to resort to destructive editing, which would make further adjustments much trickier. Rival packages already offer similar tools, though, and ACDSee’s implementation is relatively basic, with just five colour-correction processes available.

ACDSee Pro 6 brush
The Develop Brush let us bring out the contrast in these clouds without affecting other parts of the photo

There’s no option to apply localised white balance correction, highlight recovery or noise reduction, for example. There’s no eraser for removing brush strokes either, and the Undo history is strangely oblivious to this new feature. Clicking Undo doesn’t affect the Develop Brush but cancels the last edit before the brush was used. The only option is to reset the brush strokes and start again.

The new Clarity control and Soft Focus, Cross Process and Post-Crop Vignette tools are more straightforwardly successful. Clarity is already available in most other non-destructive editors, and is extremely useful for boosting contrast without clipping highlights and shadows.

ACDSee Pro 6 effects
The new Soft Focus, Cross Process and Post-Crop Vignette tools in action

It’s unusual to find creative effects such as Soft Focus and Cross Process in non-destructive editors, but they slot in neatly and processing quality is excellent. Various other creative treatments are included under the Edit tab and are applied destructively, so it’s good to see some now appearing in the non-destructive Develop tab.

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Price £62
Rating ***

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