Discovering Zoner Photo Studio X Pro's New and Attractive Functionality

Discovering Zoner Photo Studio X Pro's New and Attractive Functionality

Since HDR has been used (wrongly) so much in the past, it's a good time to make people aware of the changes happening in the industry. Zoner Photo Studio X Pro's latest update includes its new True HDR process. This comprehensive software has much to offer, not least an end to overblown HDR photos.

Zoner Photo Studio X (ZPS X) has been around for a few years and is rapidly improving. With its wide range of asset management, image development, and editing tools, a comprehensive printing service, and a user-friendly video editing module, it is an attractive proposition for many. The latest release has several new features added to its already wide range of functions, making it even more attractive to photographers and videographers. This short overview gives you an idea of what is new and why it could well be a product you might want to use for your photographic workflow.

Eye-Friendly HDR

The HDR processing works on a range of subjects.

As I mentioned in the introduction, the biggest improvement to this release is its new high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities. When we think of HDR photography, what often comes to mind is over-processed, hyper-real images with sickly colors that result from bracketing three or more images. Those bracketed images brought out the details in the shadows and highlights but were often not attractive to behold. Although they were all the rage ten or more years ago, tastes have improved. However, HDR is still a useful tool, and Zoner has found a new approach to creating HDR images that are more subtle and pleasing to the eye.

Zoner Photo Studio X claims its True HDR technology displays a greater dynamic range of light, getting the maximum brightness, detail, and emotion from your photos. They say that you’ve never been closer to reality than with HDR using ZPS X.

Zoner can give subtle results and not overcook images.

Of course, to take full advantage of this improvement to the software, you will need an HDR monitor. Furthermore, it is necessary to calibrate both that and ZPS X before you begin working with it. Then you will be able to get the maximum benefit of your HDR monitor. However, it isn’t absolutely necessary; you can still process images with a standard monitor, and ZPS X includes tools for that.

ZPS X allows you to save your HDR images to various formats, including JPEG, AVIF, and JPEG XL. JPEG allows the use of gain maps, and ZPS X supports gain maps so users without HDR monitors can correctly see HDR edits. Meanwhile, AVIF and JPEG XL are HDR-supported formats that have a rich feature set. Zoner says that you will have full control over what people will see either on High Dynamic Range or Standard Dynamic Range monitors.

You can present your HDR work fully on Zonerama, an online gallery with unlimited space, which started handling HDR content last year.

Other Photographic Improvements to Zoner Photo Studio X

Besides the new HDR functions, you can now create unique editing styles with ZPS X’s new Develop module effects. That includes the following:

  • Glow, which adds sparkle to your photos. This effect brightens up the highlights in your photos, making them more dynamic and allowing the lens flare to stand out.
  • Halation is an effect that gives your photos a retro feel. It adds a subtle glow around objects and people.  
  • The new, finer 3D Grain feature adjusts the smoothness and intensity of added grain, emulating the look of analog photography.
  • The 3D LUT effect is a fast shortcut to achieve the particular looks of your photos in just a few clicks.
  • Zoner Photo Studio X also includes a new Color Fringe feature. The program easily removes chromatic aberrations.
  • This version of Zoner Photo Studio X has also added more keyboard shortcuts. That includes a quicker way of culling your images, which has become easier with this release too. In line with other asset management programs, there is now a Reject function, allowing you to mark unwanted images by tapping X on your keyboard and then batch deleting those.
    A wide range of layered editing tools are available

New Features for the Video module

Zoner Photo Studio X also handles video. Its functionality in this area has also been expanded with this latest version. Included are six times more transition effects now with 36 transitions for your videos. Moreover, you can customize each transition and pin those to your favorites, conveniently shown at the top of the list on the left of the screen. There are also interactive thumbnails that give you a live preview, showing which transition is right for you.

The new timestamps for key moments are an essential new feature that marks important sections of your video. You can also add color labels and captions. Furthermore, you can now easily mark where you want to zoom and add sound or special effects.

The new version of Zoner Photo Studio X also has improved keyframing, and the curves adjustments have been made much more user-friendly. Similarly, you can now easily zoom and rotate video.

Finally, there is native support for even more cameras and lenses.

Editing of video projects in Zoner

Is Zoner Photo Studio X for You?

Zoner Photo Studio X is certainly a fast-growing and comprehensive piece of asset management, image development, and video handling software. Its look and feel are comfortably similar to other programs on the market. It's easy to learn, and photographers transitioning from other programs should soon adapt to using it too.

There are five modules:

  • Manager, which browses and catalogs your images.
  • Develop contains a wide range of raw adjustments.
  • The Editor module offers a wide range of layered photo editing adjustments.
  • Print has a range of printing options, including creating photobooks, canvas prints, and fridge magnets.
  • Finally, the video module has a good range of video editing functions.

If you want to give it a try, there is a free trial available from its website. Furthermore, Zoner Photo Studio is affordable as a subscription at just $59 per year or $5.99 per month. Every subscription also gives a free photo printing service; you just pay for the postage. There is also an extended family license available.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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Subscription? NO THANKS!

It's how most apps work, but I understand why some people don't like it and choose software with perpetual licenses. This is pretty affordable, nonetheless.