Photon is a free PC screen capture tool for Windows Vista and later.
The program’s core capture engine is basic, but good sharing support and some unusual processing options make it worth a closer look.
Install Photon, press PrtSc, and you’re prompted to draw a freehand rectangle.
There’s no full screen capture type, no “active window”, no ellipses or anything advanced, unfortunately (like we said, it’s basic).
Once you’ve selected an area, a couple of toolbars appear around it and the rest of the screen dims.
You’re able to annotate the image with simple drawing tools: a pen, line, arrow, rectangle, highlighter, maybe add a text caption.
The capture area isn’t quite right? You can adjust it, conveniently – just click and drag on the border.
The results can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and VK, uploaded to the developer’s free online storage service for instant reuse (you’ll get a link you can post anywhere), or saved locally.
Unusually, there’s integration with Google’s “Reverse image search” feature. Just tap the Google icon and a browser window opens, displaying similar images and giving you more information about them.
There’s OCR support, too, quickly extracting and displaying any plain text from your image.
You also get a basic tool for recording a video of your desktop activities. You can’t do nearly as much with this, but there are options to show your mouse cursor or highlight clicks, and the results may be saved as MP4, AVI or OGG.
Photon has some quirks. For example, once you’ve selected an area and the toolbars are displayed, you can’t switch to another application until Photon is closed. Alt+Tab still works, and makes your chosen program visible, but its window is dimmed and it won’t respond to clicks or keypresses.
The program does win out for its connections to other web services, though – social networks, reverse image searches, OCR and more – and if you need any of those then give it a try.
Photon is a free application for Windows Vista and later.