Serif Affinity Photo 1.4 £40/$50
Powerful, fast and a Ph otoshop replacement
Five years in the making, Affinity Photo has been designed as a professional-level Photoshop competitor offering feature-forfeature parity with high-speed, real-time previews. It’s the cheapest program on test, but this is down to Serif’s highly competitive pricing, rather than any lack of power or capability.
One obstacle for many will be that this is a Mac-only product, but there is a Windows version on its way. Another is that this is not an all-in-one cataloguing and editing tool. While it does have an effective little Media Browser, you’ll have to look elsewhere for proper filtering, searching and cataloguing tools.
Regular image adjustments are carried out using adjustment layers, just like Photoshop’s, complete with masks and blend modes, which preview as you cycle through the menu choices. Beyond that there’s a range of in-built Photoshop-style filter effects, plus a fast and powerful Lighting filter for ‘relighting’ photos, panorama stitching, haze removal, perspective and blur effects, selection and masking tools and more.
Affinity Photo is fast, slick and effective, though it’s not quite the finished product in every area. The Develop Persona workspace offers similar tools, but doesn’t yet match the finesse and power of Adobe Camera Raw. While you can use thirdparty plug-ins, you may have to add them manually – though Serif is working on this.
Make no mistake, this is a tool for professional photographic and design use. It offers end-toend CMYK and 16-bit editing for those who need it, together with brush, text and vector tools. It’s not an all-in-one program for non-experts, and it doesn’t offer one-click photo effects. Think of it as Photoshop re-imagined – it’s a direct replacement for Adobe’s flagship program, but cheaper.
Platform: Mac (PC TBC) Requirements: Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, 2GB RAM, 780MB hard disk space Browsing: Yes Cataloguing: No RA W processing: Yes Lens corrections: Yes Localised adjustments: Yes Layers and masks: Yes Preset effects: No Plug-ins: Yes
Features Ease of use: Performance Value for money
A few rough edges aside, this is a genuine, great value Photoshop alternative.