Zoner Photo Studio 13 provides the tools you need to organise, edit and publish your photos all integrated into one powerful package. Some minor interface quirks, such as the lack of a 'file' menu, may take a little getting used to, but while it's not as immediately user-friendly as Google Picasa or Adobe Photoshop Elements it becomes very quick and easy to use with a little practice.

From the initial "Manager" view you can browse your collection, either by searching your personal catalogue on a variety of criteria or by using the Navigator pane which browses though folders on your PC. The 'Favourites' tab gives you quick access to the images you use the most.

You can perform sophisticated searches based on multiple criteria simultaneously including textual keywords, image attributes and geotags, but face-recognition is lacking.

Buying advice: How to choose photo-editing software

Switching to the Viewer mode lets you examine, rate and tag your photos, while the Editor provides a wide range of tools encompassing both automatic 'quick fix' options as well as advanced ones such as a healing brush for easy retouching and an effect brush which lets you subtly 'paint' effects just where you need them. It also comes with a full range of selection tools including a magnetic lasso. Filters can be combined and saved as pre-sets which can then be applied to future images at will.

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Support for RAW images incudes the ability to link RAW files with their corresponding JPEGs and treat them as a single logical item, keeping them together automatically. In addition to HDR and panorama stitching, there are some more esoteric effects such as creating 3D images from pairs of photos taken a small distance apart and some unique filters such as the Droste Effect which allow you to create mind-bending recursive images.

You can use the Multi-exposure features to combine multiple versions of the same shot and by removing the differences between them, eliminate camera noise or create spooky empty street shots by automatically removing all moving objects.

Your finished work can be shared directly to Facebook, Flickr and even Picasa online albums and many creative output options are available such as making postcards, calendars or PDF slideshows.

Zoner Photo Studio 13: Specs

  • 300MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • 512MB RAM
  • 300MB hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display
  • 300MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows XP/Vista/7
  • 512MB RAM
  • 300MB hard-disk space
  • 1024x768 display

OUR VERDICT

Whimpering technophobes may be a little put off by the sheer range of tools available and the lack of hand-holding from the start, but the powerful filters and many unique features of this package make it well worth a look for those who actually enjoy editing images. Support for layers and adjustment layers would have made it even better.

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