German software developer ashampoo GmbH & Co. KG has released Ashampoo Photo Commander 9.0 for Windows PCs. Version 9 boasts a large number of new features to give Photo Commander a foothold in the increasingly crowded photo organization and editing market. This is reflected in the download size of the package – which is a third bigger than version 8 at a whopping 135MB.
Standout new features include support for tagging photos, new filters and editing options and improved wizards, plus an extended user interface, which includes a brand new dual-pane view for comparing the effects of editing on the currently selected photo.
Ashampoo hasn’t blown a trumpet to many of Photo Commander’s new features, probably because they’re already present in competing products, including freeware tools Google Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery. Tagging is an obvious example here, but it does expand the possibilities of what Photo Commander 9 can do in relation to previous versions, and enhances other aspects of the program – for example, the miniature view used to provide thumbnail previews of a selected folder or group of photos can now be filtered according to tags, camera model, file format and so on.
The batch processing tools allow you to convert, edit or add filters to a group of selected photos, speeding up the editing and converting process, and version 9 introduces an improved wizard to make the process much simpler. Calendar and collage creation are also easier than before thanks to enhanced wizards.
Quick-fix mode has also been enhanced, adding an automatic red-eye removal tool and improved eraser tool. A new dual-view mode makes it easier to see the effects of editing a photo by providing “before” and “after” shots of the photo, while there are both new effects – including new sharpen and blur effects and an effect for transforming photo objects into “miniature” versions of themselves.
Video playback – particularly HD – has been improved, and video files can now be easily rotated during playback. Touch-screen support for Windows 7 has also been implemented, and it’s now possible to export and import the program settings for backup or transfer purposes via a single file.
Ashampoo Photo Commander 9.0 requires Windows XP or later, plus 256MB RAM and 160MB free hard drive space. The full software costs $49.99, while the trial version runs for 10 days without registration, with an option to extend this by a further 30 by registering for a free extended trial key.