Revel 1.5 - Do Pros Finally Have Their Panacea?

11/24/2012 6:20:58 PM

When Adobe's Carousel was announced a little over a year ago, the marketing sparkle failed to translate into a big user base. Still, the idea was solid: a cloud service for the more than casual photographer that would make your images available on any Mac, PC or iOS device, keeping images in sync across platforms. Carousel has now been renamed Revel, and Adobe is hoping this 1.5 point upgrade will be enough to drag photographers away from the likes of Dropbox and Apple's own Photo Stream.

Description: Revel 1.5

That's a tough pitch when you consider that both Dropbox and Photo Stream offer compelling free versions: Photo Stream comes with your iCloud account (until you hit 5GB), while Dropbox starts at 2GB but can reach as high as 18GB before you need to find your wallet, if you play your cards right. By contrast. Revel starts with a 30-day trial then jumps to $5.99 (£3.37) per month. Subscribe for a year and you get a slight discount: $60 is about £38.

The good news is that if you subscribed to Revel when it was first made available a year ago and let your subscription lapse, you can take out another 30-day trial now, which is testament both to the small impact Revel had on its release and Adobe's conviction that it will be able to get photographers on board and keep them there with this version.

At its heart. Revel remains more or less the same: a lightweight image editor and organizer that, via your Adobe ID, is synced across devices. Revel is on the Mac App Store as well as the iOS App Store. Getting your images into the cloud is done through the apps, whether on the desktop or on an iPad or iPhone, so you can import from the Photo Library in iOS or drag folders inform your Mac's hard disks. There's also a Publish Service available for Lightroom, so you can keep a continuously updated selection of images synced across devices from there.

It all works well, and there are real practical applications: for example, photographers visiting clients need no longer get caught out by iPads that haven't synced with iTunes recently and so don't have their newest photos on board. That's not to say, though, that Revel has all your needs covered.

REVEL DIFFERS FROM competing cloud photography apps by offering built-in editing, but pros should hold their horses: this isn't the mobile version of Lightroom that many have been holding their breath for. A series of 24 one-size-fits-all filters for adding punch, contrast and (inevitably) Instagram-style effects enables you to do quick, non-destructive photo makeovers, but some, such as Contrast punch, are positively cartoonish.

Slightly more fine-grained control is available from white balance, exposure and contrast sliders, and we like the crop and rotate controls, which work superbly on the iPad, even if you can only crop a photo within its original aspect ratio.

Edits are non-destructive, so you can walk back changes after you've made them, and exporting from Revel's desktop app REVEL 1.5 lets you choose whether you want to export the edited or unedited shot.

New features in version 1.5 are sparse. The big one is albums: before, your images simply appeared in order of the date they were taken; now, you can create in-app albums, such as 'Will's Wedding, August 2012'. This allows you to group images that span a number of dates, or a single trip. Version 1.5 also introduces captions, so you can type and synchronize text descriptions of images. These captions are appended to an image's IPTC data if you export from Revel.

This latest update also introduces anon-app companion in the shape of, a website that allows you to share your images to a private audience. It works neatly, and makes a clean job of presenting photography to those without the apps.

Description: Revel 1.5

For keen amateurs. Revel is fine, and for simple processing and synchronizing of the images on your iPhone, or for keeping a constant rotation of your 'proper' images synced between devices, it's very good. However, there are a few limitations that will put off more ambitious users. Those editing facilities really are basic: tone curve adjustment, sharpening and noise reduction are all conspicuous by their absence.

The omission of RAW support is also noteworthy, although it would place a big strain on both your internet connection and Adobe's Revel cloud servers. Those looking for more than a simple gallery might also note that you can't print from Revel, although you can share to social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

Revel currently falls awkwardly between twos tools. On the one hand, its main feature-photo synchronization and viewing between devices - is already offered by Dropbox. In fairness, Adobe's synchronization works very well and, in our experience, is near-instant. But professional photographers, the least likely customers to be put off by the price, will have a few unticked items on their wish lists. It'll be interesting to see where Adobe takes the service from here; for now, the free 30-day trial is worth investigating.


Price: $5.99 per month - $59.99 per year – 30 day free trial


Pro: Effective syncing, Attractive apps

Con:  Editing facilities are very basic, Competes with free services

Ratings: 3/ 5


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