Zoner Photo Studio is a popular bitmap editor and image file manager, which is commonly utilised for editing photographs. It is extremely popular in the Czech Republic, but is also used world-wide. It is only available for the Microsoft Windows series of Operating Systems, and has both a freeware and a shareware edition.
The latest release is Photo Studio 15, which marks a small number of changes from the previous versions, of the series which began under the name Zoner Media Explorer. In 2004, it was renamed to Zoner Photo Studio, as the software switched to focus on digital photography only.
From version 12 of Zoner Photo Studio onwards the program has been divided into a series of modules: a Library, Editor, and Viewer module, to enable easier photo management and manipulation. Version 12 also saw an overhaul of the user-interface to the charcoal-grey which persists today, and has been said to be designed with the intention of ease of photo viewing. Further versions saw dual monitor support and support for 64-bit versions of Windows. Further versions have also allowed the manipulation of RAW files with the addition of a RAW module. Version 15 also has the inclusion of some effects, such as tilt-shift which blurs the background of a photograph, making its foreground look like miniature. It also has automatic backups to the photo library and the ability to synchronise this archive between two devices.
Zoner Photo Studio Free is designed for its utility in organising and manipulationg photographs, much in the way of Adobe Lightroom, which is a superior program, but is also one which costs. For equivalent programs Zoner Photo Studio Free fares as well as any. But it lacks the photo editing features of another free tool, the open-source GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) which first appeared way back in 1996. Within GIMP there are tools to enhance contrast, brightness, saturation and more. There are tools to alter perspectives, remove red-eye, add lighting effects, turn a photo into a sketch drawing, and create animations. All these features mean GIMP does take a while to learn but mean it is more powerful than Zoner Photo Studio Free, although perhaps the comparison is unfair in that it is clear that the creators set out with different goals in mind.
For me, Zoner Photo Studio Free is a nifty bit of software, which provides a library and photo manipulation tool combined, and with features that are often seen on expensive competitors. For this reason Zoner Photo Studio Free should definitely be taken into consideration when choosing the software to provide your photo manipulation requirements.
About Zoner, Inc.
Zoner Photo Studio Free was created by Zoner Software, a Czech firm established in 1993 by a group of photography lovers who got together to create a simple photo editor. 20 years later, Zoner Software has grown from this 'garage industry' to a large company of over 100 employees and an annual turnover of 5million dollars. Zoner Photo Studio Free has become popular to the extent that it has over 100000 users and is becoming increasingly dominant in the freeware photo editor market, especially in the Czech Republic.
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