Photo Edit Application

Started Nov 4, 2012 | Discussions
tomkinsr
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Photo Edit Application
Nov 4, 2012

I am currently using a PC included Corel PainShop Photo Pro X3 for working with images.

There are times when I am not happy with the application, either the User Interface or the Results.

Now, the X5 version has come out. There have been reports of problems, random crashing being one.

My PC is Windows 7, 64 bit. I use Nikon NEF (RAW) files.

For the images I want to work with, I use Nikon ViewNX 2 to convert the RAW files to 16 bit TIFF.

I want a 64 bit native (not simply compatible) photo editing application that will work with 16 bit TIFF images. I do not want to convert to 8 bit and back, far too much dynamic range is lost.

I have seen some lesser known products (other than Adobe and Corel) such as Serif, ACDC, and at one time had seen some software from smaller firms in Europe.

One product that I had seen once was Photoline.

The issue is that I do not want to spend money to upgrade to a buggier version of Corel when it might be the right time to change product entirely.

Would anyone care to comment on photo editing applications that meet the requirements, 64 bit native, mulit-core CPU and 16 bit TIFF?

Many thanks for all valuable insights you can provide.

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Jen Yates
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 5, 2012

The industry standard application is (and has been for many years) Adobe Photoshop.

Is there a reason why you appear to be avoiding it?

If it's for cost reasons then I personally feel you're going to have accept some compromises when looking at the alternatives.

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stormyboy
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 5, 2012

Hello.  You might also post in the retouching forum for ideas, but here's mine.

I'd get Lightroom 4 which most people find sufficient for about 90+% of post processing work.  Then I'd keep your current product for pixel-level work, or another pixel editor for the rest.

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brn
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 6, 2012

Because you're processing NEF, you might want to try the trial version of Nikon Capture NX2.  A recent update takes much better advantage of 64 bit processing and multiple cores (night an day improvement).   However, there are some serious questions about the future of the product, especially now that Google has purchased Nik Software. 

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 10, 2012

Hm, rather spartan responses.

Yes, Adobe Photoshop is very pricey. Corel has their Christmas specials on now, so X5 is going for $49.00 as an upgrade.

I downloaded Capture NX2, it is very capable, although, some pixel level stuff is not available and the Google purchase is another one of those issues that I didn't know about. Nikon has had a propensity for continuously revising/re-writing their software, which has always been a pain in the ass. Picasa is free, I'll have a look at it as well.

I did some more hunting and found the following, all 64 bit native, multi-core, 16 bit TIFF and NEF,

PhotoFiltre Studio X, 29 Euro, it makes use of an 8BF RAW filter from somewhere

PhotoLine, 59 Euro, possibly using Open Source dcraw, same as GIMP?

DxO Optics Pro, $99 USD, very high end with calibrations for huge number of lenses

GIMP, free, some bugs on upgrades, maybe not on a fresh install

Corel PaintShop Pro X5 is 32 bit native, $49 CAD for upgrade

Serif PhtoPlusX5 is 32 bit native, $90.25 CAD and X6 is supposed to be 64 bit native.

So, there are alternatives to evaluate, before plunging ahead and just upgrading Corel's offering.

Once I've played with the evaluation versions a bit, I'll try to remember to report back.

Thanks for you input folks.

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 11, 2012

The following is a first cut review of the applications I chose to evaluate. Some of these applications were installed, tried and uninstalled as they didn't make the cut.

I will be hanging on to PhotoLine, Nikon Capture NX2, DxO Optics Pro, RawTherapee and LightRoon 4 for further testing and evaluation. These applications exhibit good inital characteristics that warrant going through their learning curves before making any sudden judgments. I am seriously unimpressed with PhotoShop Elements 11, I had expected a more solid product with much better support by now. 64 bit computing has been around since Windows XP Pro and that was 2005, more than y years ago. C'mon Adobe, get with the program, same complaint for Corel and Serif. If you want the public to pay bleeding edge prices, then we should be getting bleeding edge technology. The stuttering menus in PhotoShop Elements was really disconcerting and even happened after a reboot so it was not an install artifact or anomaly.

The comments listed are my subjective observations.

RawTherapee

Free

  • Lightning fast browser
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Uses Adobe Lens correction profiles
  • More menus than DxO Optics Pro or Nikon Capture NX2
  • Some Not Responding time
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Professional level
  • Unorthodox User Interface, non-intuitive
  • Exhibits various bugs in User Interface and behaviours
  • Still a work in progress
  • I could do without the fancy scroll work used in some areas of the User Interface
  • Steep learning curve

Nikon Capture NX2

$134.95 CAD

  • 64 bit native
  • No png files
  • Professional level
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Support for camera and lens
  • Llens correction profiles built into lens are then embedded into RAW file and automatically processed by Capture NX2
  • Lightning fast browser
  • User Interface is traditional with novel method for adjusting Black, Neutral, White and Colour control points and the level of influence, intuitive
  • Easy to learn

DxO Optics Pro 8

$99.00 USD

  • Lightning fast browser
  • Detected camera and lens and downloaded appropriate correction profiles, these profiles are developed through extensive optical testing by DxO
  • Does HDR
  • Uses GPU to process images
  • Professional level
  • No png files
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Strong Rival to Nikon Capture NX2
  • Steep learning curve

Google Picasa 3

Free

  • 32 bit native
  • Limited Tools
  • Opened Nikon NEF files
  • Did a good job of indexing all images and moves
  • Rapid startup
  • Very clean uninstall

GIMP

Free

  • Steep learning curve
  • Lots of Tools
  • Lots of Menus
  • Lots of separate plugins to locate and install
  • Slow operation
  • Lots of Not Responding time
  • Separate Help Install
  • Sophisticated but not conducive to rapid workflow
  • Uninstall not clean
  • User Interface is non-conventional as is the multi-panel display arrangement
  • Steep Learning curve

PhotoFiltre Studio X 10.7.1

29 Euros

  • 32 bit native
  • Could not see Nikon NEF files
  • Lots of Tools
  • Very Busy menus
  • Rapid Startup
  • Dirty uninstall
  • Lots of separate plugins to install

PhotoLine

59 Euros

  • 64 bit native
  • Opens Nikon NEF files
  • Lots of Tools
  • Lots of Menus
  • Better feature set than Corel Paintshop Pro X3
  • Could be a keeper
  • Installer installed 32 bit native and 64 bit native

Lightroom

$151.99 CAD

  • 64 bit native
  • I could do without the fancy scroll work used in some areas of the User Interface
  • Various operations when changing menus are slow
  • No Layers
  • Steep learning curve due to User Interface

Photoshop Elements

$99.99 CAD

  • 32 bit native
  • The Organizer crashed while importing media, dropped itself down to offer Debugging
  • Slow to open Nikon NEF RAW file
  • Suddenly Windows complained the Synaptic Touch Pad driver was missing.
  • Funny thing about this, recently, all PC users with Windows 64 bit who had a fingerprint reader experienced continuous non-stop crashing when Adobe updated Flash automatically. It took them more than a month to fix the problem and that was achieved by regressing versions and then they updated that twice again and caused further crashing.
  • Menu selections stutter when moused over
  • If you open a RAW file as 16 bit, most of the important functions such as Layers do not work, you have to use 8 bit
  • Clean uninstall
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bullet1
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 11, 2012

Capture One express ($99) is another option.  I use Capture One Pro which meets all my needs.  Everything is done inside Capture One.  I heard they discontinued Capture One Express in Version 7.

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acdtech
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to bullet1, Nov 11, 2012

Another option to try is ACDSEE Pro. www.acdsee.com. It is a native 64 bit application. You can also get a 32 bit it you are running  32 bit windows.

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abelits
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 13, 2012

tomkinsr wrote:


GIMP

Free

  • Steep learning curve
  • Lots of Tools
  • Lots of Menus
  • Lots of separate plugins to locate and install
  • Slow operation
  • Lots of Not Responding time
  • Separate Help Install
  • Sophisticated but not conducive to rapid workflow
  • Uninstall not clean
  • User Interface is non-conventional as is the multi-panel display arrangement
  • Steep Learning curve

Gimp now has "Photoshop-like" single-window mode.

I have no idea about installation/uninstallation on Windows, on Linux it's a package in all existing distributions, with plugins and help files distributed in separate packages as well, so package manager takes care of keeping things consistent.

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Ronj2
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to abelits, Nov 13, 2012

All Corels versions of PSP seem to have issues untill a patch or two comes out. X5 occasionally crashes when merging the last 2 layers and seems to cause LR to slow down when PSPX5 is running. I work around those issues until a patch comes out. I also have PSPX2 which has no issues at all for me other then not having a 16 bit workflow and access to Niks filters that came with X5. X5 is the best so far once the issues get worked out ( lets hope).

I tried Gimp a few year back, no comparison to PSP. You can often get PSP for $29-39, that should not be a problem for anyone into photography. You would think going from PSP to PS woud be easy but its far from it. Way too steep of a learning curve for me to find the time to re-learn everything over again. Otherwise I would have left PSP a long time ago.

I really like LR though. It works well with PSP.

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Ron J

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abelits
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to Ronj2, Nov 13, 2012

Ronj2 wrote:

I tried Gimp a few year back, no comparison to PSP.

It's also likely an important difference that I used Gimp on Linux, not the Windows port. I have the opposite problem, I run Silkypix under Linux (under Wine), and UI is flaky, even though the program works fine.

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BobSC
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 13, 2012

Lightroom is us$150, and there's a free trial. I don't use lightroom, but Photoshop has the best user interface of any software I've ever used. (IMO).

For me, a big issue is waccom tablet support. If you don't use a tablet, that's not an issue, but most of the programs I've tried haven't worked well with the tablet.

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 13, 2012

I added ACDSee Pro and SILKYPIX to the bottom of this list as I was not aware of these products.

This serves to make this list more complete for others to refernece. It is important to understand that my personal observations are not to be construed as a definitive evaluation of any of these products, these are simply my first run observations.

They both have new ways of working with images that is non-intuitive (hm... this accusation is based on my traditional thinking of how an application should look and feel on a PC, which may be rather narrow minded of me). This would lead to a steep learning curve for me.

tomkinsr wrote:

The following is a first cut review of the applications I chose to evaluate. Some of these applications were installed, tried and uninstalled as they didn't make the cut.

I will be hanging on to PhotoLine, Nikon Capture NX2, DxO Optics Pro, RawTherapee and LightRoon 4 for further testing and evaluation. These applications exhibit good inital characteristics that warrant going through their learning curves before making any sudden judgments. I am seriously unimpressed with PhotoShop Elements 11, I had expected a more solid product with much better support by now. 64 bit computing has been around since Windows XP Pro and that was 2005, more than y years ago. C'mon Adobe, get with the program, same complaint for Corel and Serif. If you want the public to pay bleeding edge prices, then we should be getting bleeding edge technology. The stuttering menus in PhotoShop Elements was really disconcerting and even happened after a reboot so it was not an install artifact or anomaly.

The comments listed are my subjective observations.

RawTherapee

Free

  • Lightning fast browser
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Uses Adobe Lens correction profiles
  • More menus than DxO Optics Pro or Nikon Capture NX2
  • Some Not Responding time
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Professional level
  • Unorthodox User Interface, non-intuitive
  • Exhibits various bugs in User Interface and behaviours
  • Still a work in progress
  • I could do without the fancy scroll work used in some areas of the User Interface
  • Steep learning curve

Nikon Capture NX2

$134.95 CAD

  • 64 bit native
  • No png files
  • Professional level
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Support for camera and lens
  • Llens correction profiles built into lens are then embedded into RAW file and automatically processed by Capture NX2
  • Lightning fast browser
  • User Interface is traditional with novel method for adjusting Black, Neutral, White and Colour control points and the level of influence, intuitive
  • Easy to learn

DxO Optics Pro 8

$99.00 USD

  • Lightning fast browser
  • Detected camera and lens and downloaded appropriate correction profiles, these profiles are developed through extensive optical testing by DxO
  • Does HDR
  • Uses GPU to process images
  • Professional level
  • No png files
  • Geared to RAW processing
  • Strong Rival to Nikon Capture NX2
  • Steep learning curve

Google Picasa 3

Free

  • 32 bit native
  • Limited Tools
  • Opened Nikon NEF files
  • Did a good job of indexing all images and moves
  • Rapid startup
  • Very clean uninstall

GIMP

Free

  • Steep learning curve
  • Lots of Tools
  • Lots of Menus
  • Lots of separate plugins to locate and install
  • Slow operation
  • Lots of Not Responding time
  • Separate Help Install
  • Sophisticated but not conducive to rapid workflow
  • Uninstall not clean
  • User Interface is non-conventional as is the multi-panel display arrangement
  • Steep Learning curve

PhotoFiltre Studio X 10.7.1

29 Euros

  • 32 bit native
  • Could not see Nikon NEF files
  • Lots of Tools
  • Very Busy menus
  • Rapid Startup
  • Dirty uninstall
  • Lots of separate plugins to install

PhotoLine

59 Euros

  • 64 bit native
  • Opens Nikon NEF files
  • Lots of Tools
  • Lots of Menus
  • Better feature set than Corel Paintshop Pro X3
  • Could be a keeper
  • Installer installed 32 bit native and 64 bit native

Lightroom

$151.99 CAD

  • 64 bit native
  • I could do without the fancy scroll work used in some areas of the User Interface
  • Various operations when changing menus are slow
  • No Layers
  • Steep learning curve due to User Interface

Photoshop Elements

$99.99 CAD

  • 32 bit native
  • The Organizer crashed while importing media, dropped itself down to offer Debugging
  • Slow to open Nikon NEF RAW file
  • Suddenly Windows complained the Synaptic Touch Pad driver was missing.
  • Funny thing about this, recently, all PC users with Windows 64 bit who had a fingerprint reader experienced continuous non-stop crashing when Adobe updated Flash automatically. It took them more than a month to fix the problem and that was achieved by regressing versions and then they updated that twice again and caused further crashing.
  • Menu selections stutter when moused over
  • If you open a RAW file as 16 bit, most of the important functions such as Layers do not work, you have to use 8 bit
  • Clean uninstall

ACDSee Pro

$99.00

  • 64 bit native
  • Steep learning curve, non-intuitive User Interface
  • Slow changes between modes
  • Seems to be duplicate menus with different functionality (eg White Balance) Control-Z did not work from a single change on the Edit – White Balance. The Undo menu was grey and not accessible. Icons had to be used to reset the change
  • The forced workflow is confusing and could lead to saved mistakes in processing until some level of familiarity is established
  • Multiple button clicks are required to exit Edit mode to be able to Save As…
  • The Online mode (BIG BUTTON) is of little value to me
  • Slow adjustments
  • No layers

SILKYPIX

$340.00 USD

  • 64 bit native
  • Steep learning curve, non-intuitive User Interface, menus appear to be randomly grouped and placed, this could be unfamiliarity with the forced workflow
  • No layers
  • Environment Setting has a big blue I beside each of two different button icons, which produced completely different sub-menus from each other, this is confusing
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jonnyz2
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A comparison request
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 14, 2012

I've used DxO, Ligntroom, and Photoshop for several years.

I used to prefer DxO over lightroom for intital raw conversion due to it's lens correction capabilities.

When Dx0 7 came out I compared it to LR 3.6. The difference between the two was hardly noticeable on most images with a slight advantage going to DxO. Adobe had substantially improved its lens correction capabilities from the previous version of LR.

From a workflow standpoint, I like LR more and appreciate its integration to Photoshop when I want to do some heavy editing work on an image.

That said, I'm now wondering whether to bother upgrading to DxO 8. I'm certain I'll upgrade to LR 4.

DxO claims to have improved its lense correction and micro detail processing; so, I'm curious which is better.

If you have time, I would be pleased to see your thoughts on comparing DxO 8 to LR 4 in terms of image sharpness, detail, and overal image quality.

By the way, in DxO 7 the GPU processing does not necessarily engage even if the computer is capable of it. There were posts on DxO's own forums on this issue around the 7.0 release. It's possible that issue may have carried over to DxO 8.

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 26, 2012

Photo Edit Software review

Hopefully, some folks will find this list of applications and links useful.

I had been offered an upgrade from Corel for Corel PaintShop Pro X5. Before purchasing the upgrade, I was interested in what was available to work with photos today. Some specific functionality was called for in my evaluation.

I wanted 64 bit native, multi-CPU, GPU would be nice, RAW, PNG, 48 bit TIFF and Layers. Some products listed here do this, many do not.

Over time, my list grew from the traditional incumbents to more than thirteen products.

ACDSee Pro $69.99

Adobe Lightroom $119.20

Adobe Photoshop $699.00

Adobe PhotoShop Elements $59.99

Corel PaintShop Pro $39.99

DxO Optics Pro $169.00

GIMP Free

Google Picasa Free

Magix Xara $89.00

Nikon Capture NX2 $134.95

PhaseOne Capture 229 Euro

Photo POS Pro Free

Photofiltre 29 Euro

PhotoLine  59 Euro

RAW Therapee Free

Serif PhotoPlus $89.99

SILKYPIX $328.23

Some of the prices for the products are fluctuating right now, due to Black Friday and pre-Christmas pricing, Lightroom, Elements, and PaintShop Pro all seem to be at more than 60% off in some cases.

Cost for all these products ranged from free to more than $700.00 USD.

Some products are 64 bit native, some support multi-core CPU processing, some GPU processing, some do 16 bit/channel, drop down to 8 bit and then go back to 16 bit, some tell you, some do not. Some stay at 16 bit /channel.  Some products have a traditional User Interface, others make use of a new style of User Interface, geared towards a workflow metaphor of traditional photographic work. Some do this new User Interface very well, others do not. Many of the new User Interface styles, eschew the use of Layers. I can do things with Layers that I could not do otherwise, but, that’s me. Some products are of little value. Others show potential for the future, but are not yet ready for prime time. Some products fit right smack dab in the middle of the high end consumer user, with great features, ease of use, good results and low cost.

I believe that people should install and evaluate the software provided by the camera manufacturer with their camera. It’s free, it works and it will help you become familiar with photo edit software and the camera.

Seriously consider looking at the new User Interface based applications. These are Nikon Capture NX 2, DxO Optics Pro, Adobe Lightroom, and ACDSee Pro. These are probably the only applications the majority of Digital Photographers will ever need for processing photos.

PhotoShop, PhotoShop Elements, Corell PaintShop Pro, Serif PhotoPlus and SILKYPIX all make use of the tradition User Interface and have many more tools for editing photos, in addition to processing photos. All the other applications.

After all the installs and uninstalls and quick looks at the various applications, I upgraded Corel PainShop Pro for $29.00, it’s cheap today, and it came with free shipping for the box set.

In the end, I will continue to use Nikon View NX 2, PaintShop Pro, IrfanView , Microsoft ICE and Luminance HDR , the last two being 64 bit native and the last three being free.

I transfer files from the camera to PC with Nikon View NX2 and use View to convert them to 16 bit / channel TIFF. I may or may not make some deletions and adjustments in View. I then process and edit with PaintShop. At times, I stitch a group of photos together with Microsoft ICE, and sometimes I enhance non-flash shots of bracketed images from inside buildings with Luminance HDR. Generally, I use a dye-sublimation printer, larger stuff on a Canon and at times go out to a printing shop for high end colour stuff.

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 26, 2012

I have recently found, but not looked at,

ArcSoft

and

onOne

Both of these firms seem to break out their photo editing software into a plethora of smaller offerings. Are they afraid to put them all together as one product and state a real price up front?

I hate Corel for having two versions of PaintShop Pro, a standard and an Ultimate, which one is best, which one is a better ROI?

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BobSC
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 26, 2012

tomkinsr wrote:


I hate Corel for having two versions of PaintShop Pro, a standard and an Ultimate, which one is best, which one is a better ROI?

They're just following Adobe's lead with Photoshop CS 6 Standard and Extended

Better ROI = return on investment. It's the ratio. We know the investment for each of them ($29 and $39 right now). But what's the return?

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Glen Barrington
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I should think ROI will vary from photographer to photographer.
In reply to BobSC, Nov 27, 2012

That's why they all offer free trials.

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I still like soup. . .
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos. . .
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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Nov 29, 2012

Just trying to keep the big list up to date, I stumbled upon Photo Mechanic.

I have not looked at it either.

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tomkinsr
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Re: Photo Edit Application
In reply to tomkinsr, Dec 1, 2012

Stumbled onto another photo application, the pro version sells for $59.00.

Coded Color PhotoStudio

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