Zoner Photo Studio X is a Windows-based software for editing and organizing your photos. They’ve announced some new features and they’re offering support for a new efficient file format (HEIF) that they hope lands them in more than a few online carts this Christmas. They’re a Windows alternative for anyone looking for a life outside of the Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom bubble. Will this offer enough for you to jump ship?

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Per the Official Release:

Our being first to support HEIF makes us one of the few options for users to work with their photos from the latest iPhones on Windows.

We often fail to consider all of the hard work that takes place behind closed doors to make our use of technology as seamless as it is, but, as our gadgets and software evolve, there are still barriers to the next “new thing” fully integrating into our quotidian tech consumption; case in point, HEIF files.

These files are more efficient and don’t compromise the quality found in the ubiquitous Jpeg. HEIF files and Windows haven’t played nice since the format’s introduction, but that’s now changing and Zoner X is leading that change.So, if you shoot iPhone 8 or X and edit in Windows this worth a look. You can find a more in-depth take on HEIF files in the link below.

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The New Tools

Smoothing Brush & Structure Cloning

This feature aims to simplify a tried and true method of high-end retouching; frequency separation. If it can make that process easier and still produce good results, they’ll position themselves to gain good traction. Efficiency seems to be a driving force behind ZPS, and that’s a good thing us.

Both of these features use the pro-class frequency separation technique that you may know from Photoshop. But unlike the competition, they’re non-destructive, and above all they turn an otherwise tough and complicated job into one that’s so simple it’s almost unfair,

Polarization Slider

Anything that claims to save money and cause you to carry less in your bag will be a hit for photographers that absolutely need to travel light. Plus, good filters cost good money and if this tool delivers, they’ll  a good bit of loyalty from their users.

part of the color-editing tools in Develop and the Editor, can save photos with washed-out skies. It works as a replacement for a polarizing filter, and so it can save photographers up to hundreds of dollars.

Improved Tools

  • Layers
  • Masks
  • Photobooks

ZPS is a company that definitely wants to set itself up a viable Adobe competitor on Windows machines. Their features and interface look appealing and the cost of their product would lift the burden off of anyone whose work doesn’t demand anything Photoshop or Lightroom offers.

A ZPSX subscription will cost you $49 a year but, if you’d like to give it a test drive before you buy, you can download the 30-day free trial here.