Definitely blows Adobe Lightroom out of the water, and not just as far as value for money is concerned. From interface to functionality to speed, I have no complaints. Based on the old Bibble software, AfterShot Pro is faster, more versatile, more open and extensible, more customer-friendly and, yes, considerably cheaper than Lightroom.
Apart from Lightroom, I have found no other software that has equally powerful and comfortable tagging and cataloguing features, which is what I mainly purchased the software for. There are a lot of applications doing a good job at RAW handling and post-processing, some of them even free or open-source. But for some reason, Lightroom and AfterShot Pro are the only ones who get the metadata aspect right. Of course, the notion of using Lightroom has become absolutely laughable with Adobe's recent changes in licensing. I'm not going to let myself be forced into a time-limited subscription of a software which can be deactivated at any time. If you purchase AfterShot Pro, you own the copy and will be able to use it forever. When there are major updates, you decide freely whether the upgrade is worth the price or not.
As I upgraded to version 3, I was pleasantly surprised to see how development has ramped up again, after it seemed to have stagnated for a while. There are lots of new tools and features (such as a blemish remover or a highly configurable watermarking tool) and the team seem to be active and also listening to customer requests. I particularly like the new extensible lens correction database.
Of course, all the important features are still there, from non-destructive editing to layers support and batch processing. I want to particularly mention what are easily the two killer features for me, that made me choose AfterShot Pro in the first place. One is the fact that the catalogs work with the files as they are stored on your file system. You don't have to hand over control of where and how you store your images to the software. It maintains a database of all the information it needs, and lets you keep your originals where you want. None of that annoying nonsense of importing moves that most tools, Lightroom in particular, force you to do. Second, the fact that the software offers a plugin API, so that if ever you find a tool missing, you have the option of finding a third-party extension, or just writing it (or having it written) yourself.
[Edited by Anamon, September 24 2016]
It's reasonably priced and has a version for all major operating systems.
While I'm very happy with the software itself, and would without a doubt recommend it, there are a couple questionable details about the purchasing process on the Corel website that I want to let you know about.
Prices: The prices displayed on the Corel/AfterShot store pages are not definitive. They use a weird system that loads and displays prices dynamically, yet somehow they still manage to be wrong. My upgrade license for AfterShot Pro 3 was displayed as being CHF 45 in the Swiss store. When proceeding to checkout, the price had suddenly and inexplicably increased to 52.95.
Shopping cart: If you're profiting from some special offer or discount, don't change anything about your shopping cart, or be careful if you have to. Even slight changes, which shouldn't make a difference for the validity of the offer, can make the discount disappear. When I was purchasing my license, there was a 15% discount, which suddenly disappeared after I had added and then removed again an additional product. I had to clear my shopping cart, log out of my Corel account, clear my browser's cache, and start over to have the price drop again. (Incidentally, 15% would also exactly match going from the 52.95 that I had to pay to the 45.- that was the initial offer – the price just increased even more when the discount issue happened – so I think this shop system is even more broken.)
Download insurance: In short, don't fall for this. By default, your cart will also contain an item called "software download insurance" for $8, which claims to keep your software download accessible to you for 2 years instead of 30 days. This is an entirely pointless waste of money, because what you're buying is a license key to unlock the free trial version of the software. The downloads they're "insuring" are the exact same files that you can always download for free from a huge link on the very front page of the AfterShot Pro website. Yes, I downloaded them both, and they are identical. The service implies that it backs up files that would cost money to replace if they were lost. This is entirely untrue, the only thing you pay for is the license key, which you can always recover for free from your Corel account page, and which also gets e-mailed to you after purchase. To top if off, even if the "service" actually did concern some buyer-exclusive files that are worthy of protection, it borders on a scam to ask any money for it at all. The files they are distributing total at a whopping 233 MB – which they have to store anyway because it's the same files they serve to all new buyers. In summary, this item is a $8/2yr access to an additional mirror of a tiny set of files that you can always download for free without even owning a Corel account. I'm sorry that I've used so many words for this, but I still find the absurdity and audacity of it hard to grasp.
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