12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A great alternative to Lightroom,
This review is from: Corel AfterShot Pro (PC/Mac/Linux) (CD-ROM)
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Corel After Shot Pro
What is it ?
This is a post shot photo editor and enhancer which will work with many RAW formats, JPEG and TIFF image files. It allows the manipulation of information captured from the cameras sensor. It works best with RAW files as these have little or no compression and no in camera systems are applied.
Every tool you ever need is here. Anything to do with colour balance, enhancements and corrections are present. I have found it to be a complete tool in every respect with nothing missing that I needed.
The software has good and simple to use layer support which really works in practice. Editing is non destructive so that you can undo and go back if it all goes wrong, it will even for the most experienced photographer!
There are lens correction tools which support most of the Nikon lenses I have from cheap consumer ones that came as bundles through to expensive professional zooms and primes. Most defects can be corrected but only distortion control is fully automatic. Chromatic aberration needs the use of a manual tool - perhaps Corel would like to automate this in an upgrade ?
Part edits are easily possible using the layers tool. Here you can select an area of your picture and apply enhancements to it rather than global adjustments. This is a very useful tool to being out highlights or to reduce over exposed areas.
A basic edition of 'Noise Ninja' comes with the software with the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive version if you need to. I found the basic version acceptable for what I do.
The software has a basic file management system which allows you to categorize and tag attributes in each picture so that you can do productive sorts and finds at a later date. This is easy to use but the initial import time can be high if you have a huge number of shots - I have over 750,000 in my library but the software has allowed me to find pictures more easily but the initial set up is time consuming. However it is worth it as I cannot remember where everything is all the time without resorting to Windows files searches. Now I have tagged many pictures this software helps me find things.
The software is generally stable on my system, only one lock up in the month I have had it and used it every day. Lock up occurred when I was importing a third party plug-in so apart from this one crash it has been rock solid on my Intel core i5 8Gb RAM running from a 240 Gb SSD with a 2TB HDU for data, I have also done a lot of editing on this so should have found any weakness by now ! Being in the computer business I find that many crashes and lockups are not due to the software but poor (very cheap) computer power supplies and system management. A good PSU is essential for this type of software as it really hammers the system.
On my system it does not seem any slower or faster than anything else I have used including Photoshop and various Adobe products. The controls and layout are logical and Corel does include a decent 'get you going' instruction book with website help and forum backup which is very useful.
I have paired this with Corel 'PaintShop Pro X4' and together they should be able to do just about everything you would ever need to do to an image at a reasonable price.
What's missing in Corel After Shot ?
Not much really! perhaps some more automation to bring it up to the standard of Lightroom but then some of the tools in Corels offering are more comprehensive, especially the layer editing and part layer editing which are far more useful. Corel also needs to speed up its releases of camera profiles to catch up with its competitors but it has promised to do this soon. All my Nikon gear was recognised correctly, even older bodies!
Compared to the competition
The obvious competition comes from Abode in the shape of Lightroom (for RAW processing) and Photoshop Elements (for general editing). I have both of these as well and there is not much in it really. The software from Corel and Adobe basically do the same thing with Corels offering being a bit cheaper overall. Both sets of software are easy to use for basic edits and with some experience just about anything can be accomplished with either. The other option for users is Corel X6 which is a suite of programs offering Drawing, Photo Editing, Web Design, Screen capture and various sharing tools. Serif also offers PhotoPlus X5 which is capable and has limited RAW processing built in. Then there is, of course, Photoshop CS6 or the Adobe Creative suite if money is no object, which can do more than any other editing software but comes with a big price tag and huge learning curve compared to the lower priced alternatives. I find I can do 90% of my editing in either Lightroom/Elements or Corel AfterShot/PaintShop Pro X4 combinations and only need Photoshop for the really complex stuff that no enthusiastic amateur would ever need or attempt. I run a design business so have a pretty good idea about what I am doing. I employ several staff and they have been quite surprised at how much you can achieve quickly with these reasonably priced photo editing suites.
This is a competent RAW file editing program that competes well with the established competition. I am very happy using it for my day to day work flow in my business.
Just falls short of 5 stars for me as some more automated correction would really be useful. I would also give Lightroom 4 stars as that has the automation but does not have the easy layer editing of flexibility of this product - swings and roundabouts really!
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Initial post: 2 Aug 2012 16:16:06 BDT
Thanks, at last a decent review of what this product actualy does - most of us have realised it's not Lightroom. I bought it on the strength of your review and am very happy with it - I am glad I ignored the 'Corel Bashing' on Amazon by the Adobe experts ????? - reviews like yours are far better and obviously written by someone who knows how to use the software. Thank you again - JW
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