Zoner Photo Studio X gets major update, pressure on Adobe continues
Zoner Photo Studio X is a holistic post-processing and file management solution for photographers, yet it goes unnoticed. Despite the fact that its price is only a fraction of Adobe’s full suite, major updates to improve it are regularly rolled out, and the latter adds a number of features.
I first tried Zoner Photo Studio X about 18 months ago for an article on Fstoppers. I had no experience with it and as someone who has been using Adobe software since the early 2000s, it was an adjustment. I recommend reading the article above as it goes over the features that I think set it apart, but I’ll give a quick summary for those new to ZPS X.
ZPS X aims to be a complete, all-in-one solution for photographers. That is, you can perform various post-production and digital asset management from the same module of a single software. However, some things put ZPS X ahead of Adobe’s suite. The main benefit for me is price: Adobe’s Creative Cloud app package for photographers (Photoshop and Lightroom) costs $19.99 per month. ZPS X costs $5.99 per month or $59 per year (equivalent to $4.91 per month) and you could argue that not only does it cover a lot of what Photoshop and Lightroom do, but it offers more – video editing for example. This includes raw processing, layer support, retouching and HDR modules, as well as many quality of life benefits such as presets.
You can read more about what ZPS X offers by clicking here, but in this article, we’ll take a look at what the most recent major update includes.
Zoner Photo Studio X Fall 22 Update
Native raw file support
There’s nothing worse than your raw files not being supported by post-production software and this latest update means it’s highly unlikely for ZPS X. The majority of full-frame bodies without consumer mirror are now supported and the number of supported models continues to grow. On top of that, I’ll quote ZPS X directly: “New DCP profiles that are custom calibrated for currently supported cameras deliver accurate, true tone colors; far more accurate than our competitors.”
Finally, a smaller feature that I particularly like on the raw processing front is that there is no longer any need to color match or correct colors when using more than one supported body. It’s great if, like me, you use different bodies on photo shoots.
Full screen display
I’ve invested in a 4K monitor and want to use it to the fullest, so this is another welcome addition. Now you can work on one or more photos at the same time in full screen, without any distractions. Unlike the usual fullscreen viewer, you also get all the ZPS X UI elements in “full” mode, making it more useful.
Although this is a more specialized digital asset management update, metadata tokens can allow you to customize information and data about each photo, which can be useful for grouping, sorting and research. Moreover, ZPS X also offers the possibility to adjust the way you see the information.
Like metadata tokens, customizing folders is a fantastic way to make managing your digital assets more intuitive and useful. If you’re just browsing your library by approximate dates to find images you remember taking, you’re behind the times by this point! ZPS X went a step further by allowing customization of each folder in how it is displayed and sorted, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution in an application’s settings.
Browse photos in the Develop module
This is hands down my favorite feature from the latest update. I’ve tried or reviewed a number of different options for raw image development and hate having to switch modules to easily select my next image for editing. This is a brilliant addition to ZPS X and means you can now quickly browse through your photos while editing one, including multiple files at once or multiple folders.
Multiple users for Zonerama albums
Adding multiple users with access to a single album on Zonerama is a plus, but Zonerama itself flies under the radar. Zonerama is a free online gallery for your images, but it has a lot going for it: unlimited space, custom privacy and sharing settings, and my favorite: zero compression. That is, you can upload as many photos as you want for free and they will retain their original quality. So yes, you can now have collaborative albums on Zonerama which is awesome, but I didn’t realize how valuable this gallery was until I checked out the update!
As this is a sponsored post, many will ignore the recommendations made and I don’t blame them, but allow me to offer my real thoughts on Zoner Photo Studio X whether you believe it or not: ZPS X doesn’t isn’t perfect and it isn’t offering industry disruptive innovation. What it is, however, is a great holistic solution for photographers at almost a quarter of the price of Adobe. Most countries are struggling with inflation and the adverse effects of a host of recent issues and cost cutting is important. If you’re struggling to afford Adobe or downright unable to pay $20 a month, I implore you to try ZPS X. It’s free for 30 days (see below) and offers a lot of the features , raw processing capabilities and digital asset management of the Adobe suite, but all in one software.
If you want to follow learning opportunities with Zoner Photo Studio, there are several ways. First, check out their YouTube channel which has great tutorials. They also have an online magazine called Learn Photography which is a great resource for photography tutorials, post-processing, equipment, etc.
Finally, I want to reiterate how great Zonerama is. The free online gallery is not part of the paid software and the update has a little extra functionality, but it’s a really great tool if you like your uploaded images to retain their original quality!
You can download and try Zoner Photo Studio X for free for one month by clicking here.