In this ACDSee Photo Studio review, I’m going to provide a summary of the important topics about the digital asset manager and RAW processor developed my ACD Systems.

What is ACDSee Photo Studio?

Other than having a bad name and reminding me of the rock band AC/DC, ACDSee Photo Studio is a standalone image management and photo editing software.

If you have thousands of images, then ACDSee Photo Studio can help organize and edit your photos.

And Here’s My ACDSee Photo Studio Review

First, I need to point out that I’m primarily using the ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac 6 version. I also have a Windows computer to test some parts of Photo Studio Ultimate 2020.

However, there are different versions of ACDSee Photo Studio on Mac and Windows. You can compare the differences for Mac and Windows yourself. Pretty much I’m testing the top versions in both operating systems.

Importing Images

Importing images into ACDSee Photo Studio is straightforward. You choose your source folder/files and import them wherever you want on your computer. You also get to rename your files during the import process.

ACDSee Photo Studio screenshot importing images

Image Management

In the Manage module, ACDSee Photo Studio allows photographers to assign the standard tags to images for improved sorting and searching.

Here are the tags that can be assigned:

  • categories (e.g., food, people, places)
  • numerical ratings
  • color labels
  • keywords

Photographers can add their IPTC information to their images such as contact, copyright notice, and usage rights.

There is also a map view of your photos. If you have GPS tracking (which I do with my Canon 6D) with your images, then you can view where the images were photographed. This is beneficial when you are in remote places with no location names. The map does need some improvement as I find it a bit slow.

Image Editing

As expected, Photo Studio has the standard image editing tools for adjusting light, color, detail, etc.

Photo Studio has a special tool called Light EQ that allows you to brighten and darken different levels of the tone graph. It helps correct tonal values throughout the tone map.

If you want a subtle color effect, then you can use LUT’s, split toning, or color grading to make the image more appealing.

ACDSee Photo Studio is non-destructive: it won’t alter the original image files. However, when you edit an image, you have to save the adjustments. So, make sure to activate autosave to speed up the workflow.

One downside is zooming and panning. I couldn’t figure out if there is a hand tool for zooming and panning on the fly. I could have sworn I saw one but was never able to activate even after reading the manuals.

Overall, ACDsee Photo Studio is able to render RAW files and create visually appealing photos.

ACDSee Photo Studio image editing screenshot

Differences Between Mac Photo Studio 6 and Windows Photo Studio Ultimate 2020

This might be the most important part. The Windows Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 vastly outperforms the Mac Photos Studio 6.

Here are some important things to know with Photo Studio between the operating systems.

The Mac version only allows you to import images from an external source (SD card, portable hard drive), whereas the Windows version allows you to also import from a local disk.

The Windows version converts the imported RAW file to DNG but doesn’t compress the file to save space. On the other hand, Mac keeps the same file type, .CR2 in my case.

Here are more important tools the Windows version has that is not available in the Mac version:

  • soft proofing
  • layers
  • lens profiles
  • auto chromatic aberration reduction
  • healing brush tool
  • facial recognition
  • masking
  • text
  • various selection tools

The above list is not exhaustive. Furthermore, Windows Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 comes off more like a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. Photo Studio for Mac 6 is like a poor man’s Lightroom.


Mac Photo Studio 6 costs $99.99 and Windows Photo Studio Ultimate costs $149.99

ACDSee also offers subscription or home plans where you can obtain multiple licenses plus cloud storage and video editing software.


Windows ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 is a great tool since it combines the advantages of Photoshop and Lightroom. It’s useful for beginners to professional. The software is great if you want to buy it outright and avoid the Adobe Creative Cloud membership.

Mac ACDSee Photo Studio 6 is not so good. In my opinion, it’s more suitable for occasional photographers that don’t do post-processing often. And at a retail price of $99.99, I would rather use Luminar 4. Read my Luminar 4 review for more information.

I’m going to continue to review ACDSee Photo Studio and make updates to this summary as needed.


What is ACDSee Photo Studio?

ACDSee Photo Studio is a photography software developed by ACD Systems to help photographers organize and edit photos.

Can ACDSee Photo Studio replace Lightroom?

Yes, Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 can replace Lightroom for some photographers. But the Mac version of Photo Studio is limited in tools and can’t replace Lightroom.

Can ACDSee Photo Studio replace Photoshop?

The Windows version of ACDSee Photo Studio can replace Photoshop for some users. However, advanced users of Photoshop will need to stick with Photoshop.

Is ACDSee Photo Studio Any Good?

Yes, ACDSee Photo Studio is a great image management and photo editing software for beginners. Professional photographers should stick with Lightroom or Capture One since they are far more superior.

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Author Rating
Aggregate Rating
3 based on 3 votes
Software Name
ACDSee Photo Studio
Operating System
Windows, Mac
Software Category
USD $149.99
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