Months after OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion shipped, Ambrosia Software has finally updated the popular Snapz Pro X screen capture utility to be compatible with Apple’s current operating system. Snapz Pro X 2.5 has been rebuilt from scratch and is compatible with only 10.8 Mountain Lion and 10.7 Lion; it also gains support for MacBooks with Retina displays.
There aren’t many improvements to Snapz Pro X’s still image capture support. Most notably, screenshots can include full alpha masks (transparency) and optional shadows when windows are captured using the Object tool, and that tool can also capture windows that are partially obscured by other windows. On the downside, the Object tool can no longer capture menus, as it could in the previous version, nor can it capture individual icons on the Dock or the Desktop, since Mac OS X no longer treats those icons as individual windows. In both cases, the workaround is to use the Selection tool, which requires manually dragging out a rectangle and getting it positioned exactly right. The Selection tool does offer better feedback for height and width numbers, and an improved magnifying glass that even shows the hex value of the pixel in the middle. Unfortunately, the Selection tool no longer remembers positions on secondary monitors, and window borders can no longer be added automatically.
Snapz Pro X 2.5 also features a rewritten video capture engine that promises additional features and performance. Notably, Ambrosia says that recorded movies are now compatible with video applications like Final Cut Pro, and movies with both microphone and Mac audio tracks can be saved such that the two audio tracks are either mixed together or kept separate. Finally, a new preference lets you select a scratch folder to be used when recording movies.
Other changes include a preference for setting the volume of Snapz Pro X’s interface sounds, a new Save As option in the Send To menu that prompts the user with a Save dialog for each capture, and a new Help tab. Snapz Pro X 2.5 requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later, and costs $69 with movie capture capabilities (Snapz Pro X was previously available for only $29 if you didn’t want the movie capture capabilities; that option seems to have disappeared from Ambrosia’s Web site). It’s a free update for users of Snapz Pro X 2.x.
Frankly, this update is a bit disappointing for those of us who have long relied on Snapz Pro X for screenshots. The previous version crashed when using the Object tool under Mountain Lion, rendering it significantly less useful for professional authors working in Mountain Lion. Many fell back on Mac OS X’s internal Command-Shift-4 screenshot capabilities, which can capture menus and windows as objects, and Mac OS X’s included Grab utility, which can do timed captures, different cursors, and captures of sheet-based dialogs. Others started looking into alternative utilities, such as Global Delight’s Voila, which offers image management and editing capabilities, and Layers from Wuonm, which captures everything on screen as a layered Photoshop document.
Snapz Pro X’s newfound Mountain Lion compatibility may reduce the need for an alternative for many people, but if you’ve found another screen capture utility effective for your needs, let us know about it in the comments.