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ACD Systems announces ACDSee Free, a free Raw file browser: Digital Photography Review


ACD Systems, the maker of ACDSee Photo Studio, has announced ACDSee Free, a free Raw file browser and viewer.

It’s important to note ACDSee Free isn’t a photo editor – it’s only a photo viewer. Similar to Adobe Bridge or Photo Mechanic, it’s designed to be a fast way to quickly browse through and organize photos, including Raw photos.

ACDSee Free is a reference program, so there’s no catalog or library to work with. All you do is point the app to the media on whatever drives you want to access and ACDSee Free will get pull up the files for you. Users can search by file name and folder contents, and sort photos by image type, file size, capture date and date modified.

In addition to photos, ACDSee Free also displays videos, text documents, PDFs and can play audio files. You can also set up slideshows to view your images. While there are no robust photo editing tools in ACDSee Free, it does let you rotate and flip your images to ensure they appear in the proper orientation.

ACDSee Free works with ACD Systems’ SendPix. SendPix, which is also free, lets you share photos and photo albums with clients, friends and family. You can also print single images and generate contact/proof sheets within SendPix.

A comparison chart showing the differences between ACDSee Free and ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate.

ACDSee Free is available for Windows. To download ACDSee Free, visit ACD Systems.

It’s clear ACDSee Free is meant to be an entryway to ACDSee’s other software, such as ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a more robust DAM and post-production program that allows you to use keywords, ratings, color labels and metadata to sort and organize their photos. You can also search and sort images using face detection and facial recognition tools. The biggest difference between ACDSee Free and ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate comes down to editing capabilities – ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate includes full layer-based non-destructive raw image editing.

If you’re interested in the fully-featured Adobe Lightroom alternative, read our ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate review to find out if it’s for you. The review is for last year’s version of ACDSee Photo Studio, so if you want to learn about what’s new in the latest version, click here. A free 30-day trial of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is available as well.



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