Corel Pain­tShop Pro X9 £60/$80

Ch eap, but dis­ap­point­ing for raw fans

NPhoto - - Gear Zone | The Big Test -

Pain­tShop Pro is a faith­ful standby of the photo edit­ing mar­ket. It’s an in­de­pen­dent al­ter­na­tive to Adobe soft­ware that com­bines an all-in-one novice-friendly ap­proach with a good deal of power.

Pain­tShop Pro is split into three dif­fer­ent mod­ules for dif­fer­ent tasks: Man­age for brows­ing and or­gan­is­ing your pho­tos; Ad­just for ev­ery­day enhancements; and Edit for more in-depth im­age edit­ing.

Edit is where you’ll find the full range of Pain­tShop Pro’s Pho­to­shop-style edit­ing tools. It of­fers lay­er­ing, group­ing and mask­ing tools, and a wide range of im­age ad­just­ments, in­clud­ing lens corrections and grad­u­ated fil­ter ef­fects.

It’s not just an im­age ed­i­tor, though, ad­ding in text ef­fects (im­proved in this ver­sion) and web de­sign tools (slic­ing, op­ti­mi­sa­tion, im­age maps) which may not all be di­rectly use­ful to pho­tog­ra­phers. Corel is aim­ing Pain­tShop Pro not just at be­gin­ners, with new Guided Tours, but business users too.

In this lat­est ver­sion, 10 of the most com­monly used ed­its now pre­view in real time, in­clud­ing Smart Photo Fix, White Bal­ance and Fill Light/Clar­ity con­trols. This is a big im­prove­ment on the old dia­log pre­views where you had to com­mit the ef­fect to the im­age be­fore you could prop­erly see the full re­sult.

Per­for­mance

The in­stant ef­fects in Ad­just are fine, but of­fer no ad­just­ment pa­ram­e­ters, so you have to ac­cept them as-is. The Cam­era Raw Lab, mean­while, is very prim­i­tive, with only ba­sic con­trol over colour and tone.

Pain­tShop Pro X9 might look cheap, but if you want proper RAW edit­ing tools, you re­ally need to spend a bit more and get Pain­tShop Pro X9 Ul­ti­mate (£80/$100), which in­cludes Corel’s much bet­ter RAW pro­ces­sor AfterShot.

Specs

Plat­form: PC only Re­quire­ments: Win­dows 2 or later, 2GB RAM, 1GB hard disk space Brows­ing: Yes Cat­a­logu­ing: Yes RA W pro­cess­ing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Lo­calised ad­just­ments: Yes Lay­ers and masks: Yes Pre­set ef­fects: Yes Plug-ins: Yes

Ver­dict

Fea­tures Ease of use: Per­for­mance Value for money

Over­all

Poor RAW edit­ing tools here make X9 Ul­ti­mate a bet­ter bet for en­thu­si­asts.

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