In this ACDSee Photo Studio vs Lightroom summary, I’ll be discussing the important features of both software and will help you decide which one is better for you.

First of all, I’ll be comparing the Windows version of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 which is ACD Systems’ flagship photography software. The Mac version of Photo Studio is subpar, so there is not point of reviewing it. On the other hand, I’ll be using Lightroom Classic on my Mac.

You can also read my ACDSee Photo Studio review.

Now let’s get into the comparison.

ACDSee Photo Studio vs Lightroom

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 and Lightroom Classic are image management and editing software which can be used by beginners or professional photographers.


Lightroom has a clean and simple interface whereas Photos Studio is a bit clunky. On the other hand, Photo Studio’s interface is interchangeable while Lightroom’s is not. A customizable interface is important for many photographers’ efficient workflow.

Image Import

The image import process is straightforward for both software. You select files from an external disk or local drive and import the images to a destination folder. Lightroom has the advantage here because it can convert RAW files to DNG during the import process and saves a considerable about of hard drive or cloud storage space.

Image Management

I’m a travel photographer and the primary way I manage and organize photos is by country folders. This is easily attainable in the import process. In addition, both ACDSee Photo Studio and Lightroom allow you to assign images ratings, color labels, accept/reject tags,


Both image editors can render RAW files and edit images well. However, ACDsee Photo Studio also has:

Light EQ – Helps stretch the dynamic range in single-exposure images.

LUTs – Lookup tables to color grade images.


Probably the biggest advantage ACDSee Photos Studio has over Lightroom is the ability to create adjustments layers like Photoshop. In contrast, Lightroom doesn’t have layers and needs Photoshop for this image editing task.

And if you plan on doing advanced or selective editing, you’re going to need layers.


If you’re looking to print images, then you’ll be glad to know both software has soft proofing by selecting printer profiles and making any required edits.


Many photographers don’t like paying for subscriptions. Lightroom can only be used as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud starting at $9.99/month. On the other hand, you can buy Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 outright for $89.95. ACDSee also offers subscription plans which are bundled together with their video editing software.


ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 is a great software if you have a Windows machine. It helps save customers money while still able to make advanced image edits. I do see some people using this as a Lightroom alternative. However, if you’re a professional photographer looking for a Lightroom alternative, I suggest reading my Capture One review.

I mainly use a Mac so I won’t be playing around with Photo Studio Ultimate 2020 much longer.