PhotoPlus X4 or PS Elements or GIMP

Started Aug 14, 2011 | Discussions thread
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bvphotos
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PhotoPlus X4 or PS Elements or GIMP
Aug 14, 2011

I've been using DPP so far, but am looking for something more powerful. I've played around with Lightroom and find it to be a bit cumbersome. The lack of layering in it is a big issue. I've also played with Picasa,but it's too basic.

I recently downloaded GIMP and am learning it. I like the ability to use layers. It has helped me fix a few photos that had exposure issues with pronounced highlights. But to do so was very cumbersome. First I had to save the original in DPP as jpg. Then I clicked on the linear option in DPP and saved the image in jpg. I imported both these as layers in GIMP, merged them and got decent results. Lightroom, while it has a lot more controls, could not completely fix the exposure issues.

So, now the question is, for someone who wants to work with RAW and needs layers, should I seriously look into Elements? I've heard good things about PhotoPlus in comparison to Elements, and it's cheaper. PhotoPlus does not have a trial version, otherwise I would do the comparison myself. Would anybody recommend that over Elements?

Given that GIMP is free, other than the fact tat it can't deal with CR2 files, how does it compare with the other two?
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Canon 5D, Canon 50D, Canon 100 f2, Canon 100-400 IS, Canon 50 1.4, Canon 24-105mm IS, Canon 70-200mm f4 IS, Tamron Pro 1.4TC, Speedlite 430EX, Feisol 3402 + Giotto ballhead.

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