[Giveaway] Zoner Photo Studio Pro 14

Zoner Software is a renowned producer of digital photography software. Headquartered in the Czech Republic in the heart of Europe, the company has branches throughout the continent and in the USA and Japan. Having worked with several types of Photo management software, I approached this program with an eye as to what it can/cannot do for a snap happy photographer, as well as how easy/hard it is to learn and use.

Upon opening the program you are greeted with a fairly appealing GUI. Zoner Photo Studio uses a tabbed interface, which I love as you can have one photo open in one tab for simple touchup, 320 photographs in another tab for batch conversion, and another photo in another tab that you can “play around” with.

There is a bit of a learning curve on this program for the beginning photo enthusiast, however Zoner does have a pretty good set of tutorials to help you get started and the forum1 seems to be visited by some very helpful users. Once you learn where everything is and how it works, you’ll find using ZPS Pro to be very enjoyable.

Zoner Photo Studio allows you to manage, edit and even share your photos with others, all with just a few clicks.
For Managing photos Zoner allows you to:

  • Downloading pictures from a camera (Most of today’s cameras are supported)
  • Quick photo browsing and management
  • Displaying RAW thumbnails
  • Dual monitor support
  • Support for multiple Viewer tabs at once
  • Advanced EXIF editing
  • Easy RAW processing
  • Advanced batch operations
  • 32 and 64-bit version (both are installed on a 64-bit system)
  • GPU Acceleration (NVidia Cuda Technology)
  • Compare Pictures function
  • Color management and work with 48-bit color

I fell in love with the information this program provides in a single click on a photo. At a glance you can see when the photo was taken, what camera, including exposure levels and subject distance, you used for it, as well as the histogram.

If your camera supports GPS tagging, ZPS will even remind you where the photo was taken. If you have a good memory or a very well organized filing system, ZPS will even let you add GPS information to photos that don’t have it.

For Editing photos ZPS offers:

  • Quick Fix function
  • Standard editing functions
  • Advanced editing functions
  • Selection tools in Editor
  • Simple layer mask in Editor
  • Healing Brush and Eraser tools
  • Advanced photo correction
  • Multi-exposures
  • HDR photos

ZPS Pro also supports the use of plugins (.8bf only), so if you have a favorite plugin from say Photoshop, chances are that it will work with this program as well. That being said, it is hit and miss on some of the more advanced plugins like my favorite, Primatte Chromakey (Greenscreen Filter plugin).
And for Sharing Photos:
Integration with Zonerama online galleries
Easy Flickr, Facebook, and Picasa uploaders
Publishing functions (calendars, postcards, etc.)
Prints using graphical templates
Customizable Web export
Advanced publishing (PDF/DVD slideshows, etc.)

Zoner Photo Studio also supports an impressively large set of image formats including:

 

Bitmap formats:
JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, PSD, PSB, PCD, BMP, PCX, TGA, ICO, RLE, MAC, WPG, DIB, BMI, PSP, PSPIMAGE, THM, HDP, WDP, JP2, J2K, JPC, PNM, PPM, PAM, PBM, PGM, WBMP, BMS, JPS, PNS, DCM, KDC, MPO, JXR, HDR
RAW formats:
CRW, CR2, DNG, MRW, NEF, ORF, PEF, ARW, SRF, SR2, MEF, ERF, RAW, RAF, FFF, RWZ, RWL, 3FR, CS1, SRW
Expand the range of read-supported formats by installing extra WIC codecs (e.g. WebP).
Video formats:
ASF, AVI, M1V, MOV, MP4, MPE, MPEG, MPG, MTS, OGV, QT, WMV

Install MPlayer (third-party freeware) to add support for these video formats:
3GP, DIVX, DV, DVR-MS, FLV, M2T, M2TS, M2V, M4V, MKV, MPV, MQV, NSV, OGG, OGM, RAM, REC, RM, RMVB, TS, VCD, VFW, VOB
I really like the fact that Zoner Photo Studio supports additional codecs for both RAW and Video formats. Because of this I was able to read and convert some older Canon shots that other Windows 7 compatible programs I have tried failed to even read.
The icing on the cake, for me at least, is the programs light system footprint ( on my system the programs usage footprint is lower than MS Notepad), the ability to import and create presets to speed up the work flow and the ability to customize not only the menu and toolbars, but also keyboard shortcuts from one tabbed interface.

There are some short-comings for a control freak like me. If you don’t want to lose the original photo when saving the edited version you have to remember to use Save As, otherwise your original will be overwritten by default. I also wish that the plugin support was more reliable with newer .8bf plugins and that more plugin types were supported (i.e. .lrplugin and .8ly).

Pros:
Impressive format support (Native and Codec supported)
Easy to import/create custom presets
Light on system resources
3rd Party Plugin and codec support
RAW support (native and WIC codec based)
Tabbed Interface
Windows Shell integration
Integrated ability to upload image(s) to Facebook and Flickr
Tutorials and Forum help
PDF and DVD creation support

Cons:
Hit and miss on newer plugins
Limited to .8bf plugins
Destructive editing
As you can see Zoner Photo Studio Pro really is a virtual Studio that any photographer, beginning or seasoned veteran, should have in their tool box. Even if you won’t/don’t use every feature of this program, you’ll soon find that it is the first program you go to for managing your photo collection and sharing it with friends and family.

[Giveaway] Zoner Photo Studio Pro 14

 


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