Software comes from America? Yes, often. But sometimes also from the town of Rastede near Oldenburg. The software company Ashampoo, which specializes in inexpensive programs, is based there. The best-known product is the WinOptimizer, version 18 of which is available free of charge from COMPUTER BILD. But the Lower Saxony also offer the Photo Commander 16 for managing and editing photos. The test says what the 16-euro software can do.
From looking to editing
Many image editing programs started out as image viewing programs, because old Windows versions did not give users much pleasure in this regard. The Photo Commander, for example, already exists over 20 years, it started as Slow View with the display of bitmap graphics. The range of functions has grown over the years, but is still far from reaching professional programs such as Adobe Photoshop CC. But that doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, because not everyone needs dozens of professional functions, and using the Photo Commander 16 is learned much faster than with Photoshop. Try before you buy? No problem with Photo Commander 16 – an executable demo version can be downloaded free of charge from COMPUTER BILD (see link above).
Easy to handle
The program interface of Photo Commander 16 is a bit confusing, but it is still easy to use thanks to the many wizards and help functions, even after a short training period. When installing Photo Commander 16, you need an email address and an Internet connection to activate the program. It’s better to do that before going to a deserted island or mountain hut.
Folder instead of library
Professional programs often create libraries, mostly to store information about the individual photos in a collection, such as the development settings for photos in RAW format. The Photo Commander 16 dispenses with a library. Instead, users can Moving through the folders in a similar way to using Windows Explorer (see picture above). The window is divided into three areas: on the left the folder structure, in the middle reduced views of the photos (thumbnails) sorted by date of capture and on the right a larger view of the selected image and the most important image information, such as the date of capture or exposure data.
Just make a panaroma
A real strength of the Photo Commander is to assemble a panorama from several individual images. The integrated Photo Wizard does this in three steps: simply select a photo, then click on CreateandCreate a panoramic image click. Select the remaining photos in the wizard and click on with two clicks Further complete. In the “Create” menu there are other wizards, for example to create a slide show (is saved as a video in WMV format and can be played back very easily on other computers and many current TV sets from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony ).
If you only want to make minor changes to a photo, simply click on in the menu bar of Photo Commander Quickfix. Then the program will show the photos in the current folder in a Gallery view: in the middle the selected photo is nice and large, including a bar with thumbnails of the remaining pictures. In this way, users can quickly switch between the images and make simple corrections to the selected photo, such as a section or automatic contrast and brightness adjustment, with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Free: The best photo editing programs
Not a RAW specialist
Photo Commander can also handle RAW files, but offers significantly fewer functions than expensive professional programs. That’s okay if only you occasionally photos in RAW format want to edit. If you take a lot of photos in RAW format and need as many and extensive functions as possible to develop the images, you will do better with Photoshop CC or the RAW specialists Capture One 21 and DxO PhotoLab 4.
No video tutorials
Test conclusion: Ashampoo Photo Commander 16
In terms of functionality, the Ashampoo Photo Commander 16 (Test grade 3.0) not nearly as much as the competition. However, if you limit yourself to minor corrections and beautifying photos, you can easily cope. It is easy to use. Some things are easier to achieve than with the competition, such as creating a panorama or a slide show.