The shipping version of LightZone 2.0 (it's been in beta for several months) was announced yesterday.

A powerful RAW converter that handles an expanded list of cameras and proprietary RAW formats in see-through fashion, LightZone is also a sophisticated image processing program. It can either be used in place of Photoshop or in addition to it. You can choose versions that integrate into Lightroom, Aperture, or other programs, or use it as a stand-alone.

LightZone has a large number of innovative and unique features, including the fact that it works in "stacks" that automates a "layers"-like function (preventing the accidental degradation of any file), always works in 16-bit color, and opens and uses RAW files as easily as TIFFs or JPEGs. However, the centerpieces of the interface and the user's experience of the application are the ZoneMapper and ZoneFinder, both of which are inspired by and based on the Zone System of Ansel Adams. No other program has anything like either one. Both tools are serious fun to use and can get addictive after you start to get used to what you can do with them.

LightZone is the primary sponsor of The Online Photographer. The new ad (top left), leads to a Holiday Special page that will give you a 20% discount on any LightZone program.



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