Editing Software – ACDSee Ultimate 10


Just recently I’ve been playing with different editing software to see what it is like. With all the talk of what Adobe are doing with their subscription use of programs a lot of people are unsure of jumping aboard, while still others are worried about what happens if they keep putting the price up and up so that we can no longer afford it. The problem with the subscription idea is that once you stop paying you no longer have any access to it at all. It is like paying rent on a house, I guess.

The software from ACD Systems, ACDSee Ultimate 10, is an interesting alternative editing program. I’ve been playing around with it, and while I’m still looking at it, working things out, so far I am rather impressed. It is quite similar to Lightroom and Photoshop. There are things that don’t work the same, though for most people it probably wouldn’t matter so much.

I will have to keep playing with it, but I do have one image that I have done with it that I thought I might show you.


I will continue to explore and will give you more updates as I go with it.

You might be interested in …


  1. Looks like Docklands.
    I’m a long time Lightroom user who has grown a bit uncomfortable with Adobe’s unpredictability. I’m not sure where Lightroom Classic is going and I don’t want to be caught out someday being forced to store in the Cloud and pay and ever increasing subscription fees. So I’ve recently moved to ACDSee after weeks of testing various image managers/raw editors, such as ON1 and Capture 1. It hasn’t been easy leaving Lightroom and I’ve fretted about whether I am doing the right thing, but I feel far more comfortable with perpetual license software – now no one will cut me off from my raw edits for not paying the rent.
    I chose ACDSee because it of its superior image management capability (even if I do think the manila folders are a bit dinky 1990s). I also like being able to detach panels and move them to my second monitor.
    As far as raw editing goes, I found all the software I tested quite capable. A poor editing job is typically due more to my shortcomings than the software I am using. ACDSee does struggle a little more with near blown-out highlights than Lightroom, but otherwise, I’ve been perfectly happy with it. I bought ACDSee Ultimate as I was curious to look at their layers in Edit Mode. However, their layer editor a long way short of Photoshop or Affinity Photo and I can’t see myself using Edit Mode at all – I’ll stick to ACDSee Pro in future.
    As I am also a Digital Artist, I have been very interested in Affinity Photo as an alternative to Photoshop and have so far been very impressed with Affinity. The main issue so far has been establishing a workflow between Affinity Photo and ACDSee. Lightroom and Photoshop work seamlessly together, as you’d expect. Affinity and ACDSee are workable together, but it is a bit creaky. Apparently Affinity are working on their own digital asset manager, which will be interesting to see.

    1. It is Colin.

      I have been using that for a while, it is quite amazing really what you can do with it. I’m so glad to hear from someone who has used. It isn’t perfect, but they seem very keen on making it good, so we can hope they will.
      I’ve never used Affinity, I might have to look into it. Thank you Colin.

  2. I would like to add another perspective if I only use lightroom infrequently then I would begrudge the monthly payment. For casual use for an amateur photographer I like acdsee because its a one off payment. As for upgrades these are usually minor enhancements. For 75 pounds / dollars it ticks a lot of boxes. Plus you can work direct to your file structure the import export in lightroom drives me nuts.

    1. It is quite good and I agree with your logic, Lightroom and Photoshop and nearly always open on my computer. I am going to do more videos and such with this software too.

    1. It is pretty good, it does a lot of what I would want, and I do have to rethink how I do somethings, but so far there has been a work around for almost everything.

  3. I do like the tones and lighting in that image very much! Interesting composition too!! I agree on the subscription idea of feeling that you can’t work if there is a monthly bill snafu or something. I prefer to own and certainly do hope that the pricing doesn’t rocket up to force online subscription for those who don’t like it or aren’t ready.

    1. Thank you Judy, a quick grab before leaving. I don’t think you are alone with not wanting the monthly subscription, a lot of people feel that way. I don’t think this company plans on doing that at all.

  4. Leanne the photo of old ship is terrific. However I am confused. (pretty easy at 82). Are all your photos done with nd filters. I tried some sunsets up at Lake Colac last week. but I found tat I did better without filters. Can you tell me why? Cheers Geoff

    1. Thank you Geoff, I can’t comment on your photos or why it worked better without the filters, but I can say that I don’t always use filters, this image with done without them, I was hand holding my camera. For sunsets I rarely use the filters, I don’t like the effect of the clouds, so I do them without.

  5. Hi all, yes you can buy it outright. But as I understand it you will then have to pay for upgrades.

  6. Beautiful shot. Moody and dramatic. I’m enjoying your articles very much. I re-read the one on finding your photographic style several times. Very helpful!

    1. Thank you Patti, that is good to know and nice to of you to say. That’s great to hear, I have had another one come out today or yesterday I must put a link to it.

  7. I cannot express an opinion on Photoshop, since I cannot afford to own one. I am using and learning Affinity Photo by Serif. There is no manual to go with it, but thousands of tutorials are floating around on the Internet, I am taking an excellent tutorial on this software from Udemy.com In this competitive field it pays to shop around.

    1. I think that is the problem with Photoshop, not everyone can afford it, though when you had to buy it outright it was even more unaffordable, is that a word. It is good to see some many different companies coming up with different software and I have no doubt that eventually there will be stuff that will rival Photoshop and people will stop using it. Thanks Peter.

  8. Ah.. the images are already getting lighter Leanne šŸ˜‰ So quickly after you were wondering whether you would make the same journey as van Gogh did šŸ™‚

    Lovely image.. i’m gonna check out the software, haven’t heard of it yet. So thanks for the mention

  9. Hi, Leanne: Interesting subject. Having been with Photoshop since at least version 3, I have have been a long-time satisfied customer. This alternative is new to me, but I’ll be interested in what you conclude. Another alternative that I recently heard about is Affinity. Don’t know much about about it, but a fellow blogger apparently likes it. A quick check of their website indicates it costs $39.95 for the Windows version, but one never knows what could happen in the future.

    1. I’ve been using it for quite a while too Robin, not as long as you. I am in agreement, I am happy paying for Photoshop for now, hopefully it won’t get too expensive in the future. There seem to be a lot of alternatives, I was asked to look at this one, which is good. Thanks Robin.

  10. I went to their website and see that they have an annual or monthly subscription just like Adobe. Looks like nice software. I am using onOne https://www.on1.com/. You might like to take a look at their software too. Corel is another alternative. I still need to use Dreamweaver, InDesign, Illustrator and other apps in Adobe’s line. Adobe is money hungry and expects amateurs and freelancers to be able to pay prices that companies can afford.

    1. I think you can buy it outright as well, you don’t have to do that. though On One has subscriber too I believe, as well. There are always lots of options and that is what I’m looking at. Alternatives. I don’t think Adobe is too expensive, at the moment, but I worry if they keep putting it up it could be. Thanks Sherry.

    2. I don’t think there would be many who would need that though. I thought she was referring to the software I was writing about. I was a bit confused, mind you doesn’t take much to do that these days.

  11. Leanne, I used this software{ACDsee ultimate 10) for about 4 months. It is good. But still does not outclass photoshop. also I had to pay monthly and when I wished to cancel they made it so difficult I finally cancelled my credit card to finish my subscription. There are other complaints on the WWW that seem to agree with my difficulties.

    1. No, I don’t think it is better than Photoshop, though it looks like it could give Lightroom a run for it’s money. I like how it is all in one program and you don’t have to go to another one. I thought you could buy it outright, I don’t anything about the subscriber part. It is a shame that you had those problems, I have asked the company about it. Thanks for that Geoff.

    2. They do offer a purchase version (currently at $75, regularly at $150) which is about a tenth of the cost of Photoshop, so I would not expect it to be a on-par competitor. I’ve not used it, but there are a number of glowing reviews for their latest offering specifically as applying to photographers who do volume editing.

      I should probably also do a post on this, but if one is looking to replace Lightroom/Photoshop one could look into the ON1 Photo Raw. Also, just for organizing and light editing, Nikon’s own ViewNx-i is what I currently use and it includes the now free Capture NX-D. Both work with native Nikon RAW files. For extraordinary tweaking of photos (but no local adjustments) DxO OpticsPro can do wonders. And, for lifetime licenses with free upgrades, the Topaz Suite can wear many hats (they’ve now added nondestructive and layer capability with their latest offering of Topaz Studio, itself free but offered with modules one can add for specific needs).

      Still, for $120/year ($9.99/month) the Photographer Subscription package from Adobe is hard to beat as it includes Lightroom and Photoshop.

    3. I noticed that as well Disperser. It does look like it has some great features.

      I’ve been looking at On 1 as well. the package from Adobe is hard to bet with what you get, though it is more than that now, they put it up to $12 and then to $14.

    4. YOu can bet if the dollar goes the other way, they won’t put the price down for us. On iTunes, in America you might pay $1 for a song, we get charged over $2, it is all digital, no postage or shipping, so why do we get charged double?

    5. I’m pretty sure there are taxes added by your government, and while it may seem unfair, the currency imbalance has been for a while now, so you could look at it that you’ve had a discount until now. The last time the currency was on par was in 2013. You could look at it as having had a 25% discount since 2015.

      But yeah, if it goes the other way they probably won’t lower it. Then again, they might. I don’t want to condem them before the fact.

      As for iTunes and digital content, the same argument holds (I think). There are many articles written on it with different viewpoints depending who is pissed off and about what.

    6. NO, no taxes, we don’t pay any taxes on products that are purchased if they are under $1000 from overseas, companies here would like to change that, but so far it is tax free. We have never had a discount, never, while I acknowledge that it might cost more in terms of the exchange rate, but not over double, it seems they feel they can charge us that much and what can we do about it, nothing really, we are being ripped off. Sorry I was talking about iTunes here.

      Though I don’t know, I always assumed we were paying in US dollars for Adobe, must have a closer look. We might have been but that would have been unusual, we do tend to pay more for everything here.

  12. Could you show the unedited version? I ask because it would give an indication of the amount of processing done and perhaps jint at the range of processing that can be done.

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