WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
As I browsed through my image files, I was surprised
to see that the Exposure X browser did not display an image
for my Photoshop PSD and PSB files even though Maximize
Compatibility was turned on for them. While I can accept that
they could not be opened in Exposure X, I wish they had just
been grayed back or a warning displayed over the embedded
preview so I could at least see what the image was. Also, with
the increased availability of image-editing tools, I find the lack
of a histogram to be even more frustrating than it was with
And the Export function still needs work. The version 7
problem with exporting a RAW file in its original format to a new
location while retaining the original file in its original location
is fixed, but other issues remain. The only renaming option is
to add a suffix to the file name. While bulk renaming can be
done within Exposure X, I would like the ability to do that on
export also. And I found the Image Sizing subpanel confusing.
I had no clue what the dimensions in the Width and Height
options meant until I hovered the mouse over them for a few
moments to discover they were dimensions in pixels. I guess
that works if you enjoy math, but if you want to export an image
for an 8 x 12 inkjet print at 240 dpi it gets annoying. Even more
frustrating: the width and height are not linked so you must do
the calculation twice! There are better ways to do this.
HOW IT COMPARES
The image presets and the way they are handled
and adjusted in both the standalone and plug-in versions of
Exposure X are first rate and among the best available in the
market. The standalone version still needs work if the intent is to
draw users from the Creative Cloud (CC) versions of Bridge and
Lightroom. Users of pre-CC versions of these programs who
refuse to subscribe would be wise to look at the trial version
of Exposure X for a comparable tool set, effect presets and
comprehensive support of RAW files from the latest cameras. I
did find that, when comparing Lightroom and Exposure X TIFF
output from a RAW file using each program’s default settings
that the results differed slightly in warmth and exposure, but
sharpness and other characteristics were comparable.
Exposure X, while not greatly expanding on its core list
of presets, is quickly emerging as a full-fledged file browser
and image editor.
Stan Sholik is a commercial/advertising photographer in Santa
Ana, CA, specializing in still-life and macro photography. His
latest book, Shoot Macro, for Amherst Media, is available now.
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Alien Skin has managed to
combine many of the best
features of Adobe Bridge
with those of Lightroom in the
standalone Exposure X.