ZONER PHOTO STUDIO X REVIEW
Are you in the market for a photo editor? Maybe you are just getting into photography or maybe you already have a photo editor and are looking for something different. There are a number of programs out there so it can be tough to decide which one is best for you. One such program is Zoner Photo Studio X made by its namesake, Zoner Photo Studio. I'll will admit that I was not familiar with the brand so when they asked if I would be willing to do a review I was initially skeptical. But once I did my homework I found that this just might be a great solution for people who are looking for something different. So let's begin......
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
First, we have to get the elephant in the room out of the way. For those of you looking for an alternative to the Adobe subscription model you will be disappointed. Like Adobe, Zoner is also based on a subscription model. However, there is some good news. It is half the price of Adobe's subscription. The Zoner subscription is $4.99/mo or a flat $49/year. With this you get the full program which contains functionality similar to Lightroom and Photoshop, 20 GB of cloud storage and a free online gallery while being able to use the program on an "unlimited number of computers". Yes, no more deleting programs on other computers to meet the computer usage. This is really nice when you purchase a new computer and want to move your software and files to the new one before deleting the program on the old computer. One more thing to know is that the program only works on PC Windows version 8 or 10. Sorry Mac users! If I still have your attention then let's move on to the meat and potatoes of this review.
Zoner Photo Studio X's uses a "catalog" system allowing for quick culling and nondestructive editing of images. It has four modules to toggle between. The first is Manager which is similar to the Library module in Lightroom. Then there is the Develop module where you can process you images using non destructive edits. The Editor module is where you can use layers and many other similar tools similar to Photoshop. Finally, there is a Create module which allows you to create "projects" such as ordering prints, books, calendars and also creating videos.
To review Zoner Photo Studio X I processed a couple of images and made note of both the positives and negative of using the system. I caution that this review is not a total look at all the functions as that would take for ever considering all the program offers Instead this is a review based on my initial use of the program.
It took me a little time to get used to the placement of all the tools and the overall abilities of the program but no more than I expected. If I ran into an issue a quick help query usually solved the problem. Below are images of the different panels.
As you can see Zoner Studio X contains a lot of functionality. But how well does all that functionality work when it comes to processing images? That's what I wanted to know. So I uploaded a few RAW files with different subjects and processed and exported them as high resolution jpegs for review. Below are some before and after images I processed and a brief description of the process.
Raised shadows, cropped and added watermark. Very simple edit.
Increased exposure, smoothing brush on skin, edited eyes and lips, cropped and cloned in corners
Base image for exposure blending
Multiple exposure blend, straightened building, cloned out manhole
Raised exposure, brought down highlights, warmed up image, used soft light blending mode for cloud color, removed distractions
Other than a couple of pauses to learn how to use a tool things were pretty straight forward. During processing the images I made some notes of both the positives and negatives along with some basic comments that I consider neutral but you may want to know.
POSITIVES AND ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS........
Let's start with the positives:
And now some areas that could use some improvement:
Yep, that's it,
After using the program for only a few weeks I must admit that I was impressed with Zoner Studio X. It has a ton of functionality for half the price of Adobe's photography package. From their website it seems that they are updating the program at least twice a year and adding new items to it regularly. I think most PC users looking for an full editing program or just looking to start developing their images should put Zoner Studio X at or near the top of their list.
Note: I reached out to the Zoner team and asked if a Mac version was going to be developed. They basically stated that it was not in the works at this time. So for now only PC users get to enjoy Zoner Studio X.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Is Zoner Studio X for you? If you are a PC user looking to save a little money then this makes perfect sense. You are essentially getting Lightroom and Photoshop functionality for half the price. The system is a great value and includes cloud storage and an online gallery. I would definitely recommend Zoner Studio X for those just starting out in photography and to the seasoned photographer who wants to save a little extra money. As always you can download a free 30 day trial to see if it works for you. Just click here.
I hope you enjoyed this review. I plan to keep using Zoner Studio X on a regular basis to get even better acquainted with the program. Have you used Zoner Studio X? If so, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Keywords: adobe, creativity, develop images, learn, Learning, lightroom, microsoft, photography, photography software, photoshop, photoshop alternative, presets, review, video, windows, zoner, zoner photo studio, zoner photo studio X
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