Corel AfterShot Pro review

2 Feb 2012

Comes top for photo management, and a close second to Lightroom for raw processing – a streamlined, powerful and keenly priced application

Price when reviewed: 
80(£80 inc VAT)
5

Bibble Pro was a photo-management and raw file-processing application that predated Adobe Lightroom but never quite managed to break into the mainstream. That might just change, with a recent buy-out by Corel, a new name and a significant price cut.

AfterShot Pro is ostensibly a new product, but differences to Bibble Pro 5 are minimal. We’re told the cosmetic interface and underlying colour processing engine have been revamped, but its functions are largely unchanged. Bibble users will need to pay £60 to upgrade; this price also applies to PaintShop Pro users and cross-graders from Lightroom or Aperture. It supports Windows, OS X and Linux; we tested on Windows 7 64-bit, but the application is only available as a 32-bit build.

The sub-£100 price is welcome, but hardly surprising, following recent price cuts to Apple Aperture (£55) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 (£95 from Amazon), although it remains to be seen how Adobe will price version 4, currently in beta.

Corel AfterShot Pro

Importing our 39,000-image library was quick at 1hr 50mins, but raw format support is not as comprehensive as we’d like. We can forgive a few newly launched cameras not making it onto the list yet, but some established models, including the Sony Alpha NEX-C3, the Samsung NX Series and Fujifilm’s raw-capable compacts, are missing too. Corel tells us more cameras, both new and old, will be added but didn’t make any specific promises.

The Metadata Browser allows the entire catalogue to be filtered by date, file type and a range of other attributes gleaned from photos’ EXIF metadata. It’s the best metadata filtering system we’ve seen. It took a few seconds the first time we asked for a breakdown of available ISO speeds, for example, but subsequent responses were instantaneous.

The number of matches for each value is shown in brackets, and the software took less than a second to show thumbnails of all the relevant matches. Holding down Ctrl or Shift allows multiple values to be selected, and a Refine button locks the current selection, so other metadata criteria can be added.

Comparing photos for rating and selection is extremely elegant, too. Multiple images can be tiled and their zoom and pan position matched for close comparison. We’d have liked an option to jump to an image’s containing folder in the library, and to be able to span the interface across dual monitors, but otherwise the management facilities leave little to be desired.

Details

Price ex VAT £67
Price inc VAT £80
Overall rating 5
Ease of Use rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6
Software subcategory Photo editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? yes
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes