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The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
Adobe Photoshop is one of those weird products that has an cultural significance far beyond its actual purpose. As we've said before, it has become a verb - we commonly speak about 'Photoshopping' images regardless of the software that we actually used to do it.
Adobe’s recent announcement that everything beyond Photoshop CS6 will need to be rented as part of its Creative Cloud lineup has caused a fair amount of disquiet (some of which has been pretty loud), but Photoshop isn't the only game in town, and never has been. In this article we'll be taking a quick look at ten other pieces of image manipulation software that you might not know about, but which are well worth exploring.
None of these applications is a true one-to-one 'replacement' for Photoshop CS6, particularly if you're a graphic designer or video professional. But for the rest of us - people that just want to retouch images, manipulate composition, adjust colors and saturation, apply canned filters and effects, and remove that kid who wandered into the foreground of an otherwise-perfect photo - they may prove to be very useful.
Obviously, this isn't a comprehensive list. If you think we've missed anything, as always let us know in the comments!
If you’re using Windows and looking to replace the one-two punch of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom entirely, ACDSee Pro 6 (a Lightroom alternative) and ACDSee Photo Editor 6 (a Photoshop alternative) may get you some of the way there for a fraction of the price.
ACDSee Pro 6 offers RAW processing, image tagging and organization tools, and exposure/color enhancements, while Photo Editor 6 is the more-Photoshop-like tool for layer-based, pixel-level edits. ACDSee Pro 6 doesn’t offer many of the facial-recognition, geotagging, and distortion-correction whistles and bells of Lightroom and Aperture, but both pieces of software offer extensive RAW-format support out of the box. Mac users beware though - you'll have to make do with ACDSee Pro 3 for now.
Lightroom isn’t a Photoshop alternative per se. Launched as a RAW workflow tool, Adobe has been steadily updating it through four iterations (a beta version of 5 is also available) and if you don’t need to slice and dice your images too intensively, it's a great alternative to 'full strength' Photoshop.
If you're a RAW shooter you may already be using Lightroom as part of your workflow, as it covers a few of Photoshop’s weakest points: organizing your photos, tagging your photos, and applying quick fixes and enhancements. If you work mainly with RAW files and need a program to quickly process your images, adjust exposure, remove noise, and apply the same adjustments to a batch of images, Lightroom may be all you need - which was precisely why Adobe created it.
Lightroom 4 is available for $150 as a standalone boxed package or via a $50/month Creative Cloud subscription. (Of course, if you’re already paying $50 per month for Lightroom via a Creative Cloud subscription, you’ll have Photoshop CS6 as part of the package, too.)
Aperture is more of a Lightroom alternative than a Photoshop CS6 alternative, and if you're a Mac user it might be just what you need. Aperture blends advanced features such as RAW processing, manual retouching, custom-printing elements, and tagging/organization tools with novice-friendly options such as facial recognition, geotagging, and one-click filters. Unlike Lightroom, Aperture does not offer built-in lens-distortion correction out of the box, but there are several Aperture plugins available on Apple’s site that offer that and many other features.
Earlier versions of Aperture were notoriously system-intensive, requiring a lot of processing power to run, but Aperture 3 is much improved. At $80 it's hard to find much to complain about.
If you’re looking specifically for a boxed-software Photoshop alternative for Windows, Corel PaintShop Pro X5 is one of the most-popular packages in that realm.
It’s arguably the best option in this roundup for graphic artists, as it can create vector graphics and offers interoperability with Photoshop’s own brush tools. As you’d expect, it also features a full array of photo-editing tools as well, including layers, filters, one-click HDR and other filters, retouch tools, and much more RAW-format support than any of the free packages (including 16-bit RAW). The 'Ultimate' edition of PaintShop Pro X5 costs just $10 more than the standard version, and it includes Nik Color Efx Pro 3.0 filters (which costs around $150 by itself, so that’s quite a deal) and additional enhancement tools for portrait photographers.
If you want automated, tailored-to-your-camera lens correction in your RAW-processing software, look no further than DxO Optics Pro.
This Lightroom alternative features an extensive database of camera/lens combinations, which you can activate as 'modules' to automate lens-correction, chromatic aberration, sharpening, vignetting, and noise-reduction fixes. The Standard edition’s database of lens/camera combinations is built to support everything from RAW-capable point-and-shoot cameras to consumer-level DSLRs, while the Elite edition is a better fit for those shooting with a full-frame DSLR or other professional-level kits. Optics Pro 8 takes some getting used to, but it's an incredibly powerful tool and its lens corrections really do have to be seen to be believed. Be prepared to wait for new cameras and lens modules to be added, though DxO is getting better in this regard.
GIMP is an open-source project that costs absolutely nothing. It does an admirable job of replicating Photoshop’s feature set when it comes to recomposing and manipulating your photos, applying effects, and cropping and resizing images.
GIMP supports editing PSD files, and its arsenal of tools is without equal for the price: Filters; brush tools; text tools; layers; distortion and color-correction tools; and plenty of cropping, resizing, and effects options. Although it shares a surprising amount of features with the much-higher-priced Photoshop, GIMP is nowhere near as much of a resource hog. The most common gripes with GIMP are that it isn’t as polished or easy to use as Photoshop, nor does it match up to Adobe’s editing software when it comes to advanced features and color management (no 16-/32-bit RAW or CMYK support, for example).
GIMP has a healthy selection of plug-ins that make its feature set even more Photoshop-like, including content-aware healing tools, extensive RAW-format support, and even a modified version that looks and acts more like Photoshop, if you get homesick.
Paint.net is a free Windows-only program that's often mentioned alongside GIMP (it's free, for one thing) but avid users give it an edge in terms of learning curve; if you know your way around Microsoft Paint, you should get the hang of Paint.net pretty quickly.
Paint.net's palette of basic selection and paint tools are nearly identical to those found in Microsoft Paint, but it ups the ante with Photoshop-like support for layers, filters, and effects. It’s also similar to GIMP in terms of extensive plug-in development, and those add-ons will be essential to more-advanced users. You’ll need to download and install plug-ins in order to edit PSD files and work with RAW images, for example. For basic JPEG photo edits on a Windows machine, Paint.net might be your simplest, cheapest option. Anyway, it's free - why not?
In our Raw Converter Showdown earlier this year, Phase One’s Capture One Pro 7 emerged as the top pick for studio and fashion photographers thanks to its excellent support for tethered shooting, including in-application camera adjustments and live-view capabilities.
There are plenty of reasons for enthusiast photographers to consider this RAW-processing package, too though, including excellent organization tools, speedy performance, and a unique focus-peaking preview that helps you identify the sharpest shots in your batch of photos. Like Lightroom and DxO Optics Pro, it also offers an extensive selection of noise-reduction, lens-correction, color-correction, and custom-printing tools. If its relatively high cost gives you pause, you can always download a free trial version and see how you get on.
Pixelmator is another full-featured editing tool, and it’s probably a safer option for Mac users thanks to its user-friendliness. Pixelmator only runs on Mac OS X, and while it isn’t free, it's a bargain at $30 - and an even better bargain at its current (May 2013) sale price of $15.
Think of Pixelmator as the anti-GIMP in terms of interface: It’s easier to use and much easier on the eyes. For basic to semi-advanced image-editing needs (color correction, brushes, layers, masks, filters, text tools, and a content-aware healing tool), it has the bases covered. Like GIMP, it also supports editing PSD files, so you can work with any projects you’ve already started in Photoshop. You won’t get everything you’ll find in Photoshop, of course: It’s more restrictive in terms of scripting/automating tasks, color management, and RAW support; basically, you’ll need to make sure your camera’s RAW files are supported by Mac OS X itself (if you're running the latest version of OS X these updates are pretty frequent).
You won’t get RAW support with Pixlr, and you will need Adobe Flash to make it work. If those aren’t deal-breakers for you, this in-browser editor offers an impressive amount of image-editing power without the need to download, install, or pay for anything.
The Pixlr Editor offers the usual array of paint, blur, cropping, color-adjusting, and text tools, but you also have a context-aware spot-healing tool and an assortment of pre-set filters (HDR, tilt-shift, and color gradients among them) at your disposal. Along with the ability to open and edit PSD files (you can’t save as PSD, however), one of Pixlr Editor’s best features is its Google Drive integration. You can add Pixlr Editor to your list of connected Google Drive apps, allowing you to edit images from your Google Drive folder and save them to your Drive without ever leaving your browser.
Number 11 on our list (we know, we know...) is.... Adobe Photoshop. Kind of. Photoshop Elements 11 is the latest version of Adobe's cut-down version of 'full strength' Photoshop, and it's definitely the best yet. Traditionally, Elements was very much the poor cousin of its more expensive relatives, but over the past few years Adobe has been quietly and steadily adding to its feature set to the point where it's now a very powerful editing tool in its own right.
Although the interface (especially browsing) is different enough to be confusing for someone used to Photoshop CS6, Elements 11 contains almost all of the essential image browsing and manipulation features that photographers need. There are still limitations, but far fewer than there were in the past. For a breakdown of the differences between Elements and Photoshop CS6, this page on Adobe's help forums is pretty comprehensive.
Tim Moynihan is a freelance technology writer based in New York. After two years as Home Page and Features Editor at CNET, Tim joined PC world in 2007, and worked for six years as a senior editor for camera, camcorder and HDTV content.
Apr 29, 2016
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Mar 18, 2016
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The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD boasts an impressive zoom range in a relatively compact package. How does it perform? We took a look.
What’s the best camera for around $2000? These capable cameras should be solid and well-built, have both speed and focus for capturing fast action and offer professional-level image quality. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing around $2000 and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
If you're looking for the perfect drone for yourself, or to gift someone special, we've gone through all of the options and selected our favorites.
Most modern cameras will shoot video to one degree or another, but these are the ones we’d look at if you plan to shoot some video alongside your photos. We’ve chosen cameras that can take great photos and make it easy to get great looking video, rather than being the ones you’d choose as a committed videographer.
Although a lot of people only upload images to Instagram from their smartphones, the app is much more than just a mobile photography platform. In this guide we've chosen a selection of cameras that make it easy to shoot compelling lifestyle images, ideal for sharing on social media.
|_SDI2370bw by rick decker|
from Crashing Wave
|2019_0720_163302AA by old shutter bugger|
from In The Style Of EDWARD WESTON's Sitll Lifes
|IMG_750-16662-2 Dusty drive by Jill Hancock|
from Daylight Pictures of Modern Trucks in Action
|Winter Days by DaveN01|
|Annas Hummingbird over Mexican Sunflower by Fishchris|
from A Big Year - Birds 2022
Peep some pixels from the hefty 100 megapixel files created by the new Hasselblad X2D 100C, as we prepare our DPReview TV review of the camera.
About 95% of Earth's oceans haven't been observed. Researchers at MIT have built a battery-free, wireless underwater camera that may help scientists explore more of the oceans.
Drone manufacturer DJI has moved its staff into an innovative and masterfully-designed new building in Shenzhen, China. Here is a first look.
We (metaphorically) sat down with Brandon Faith of Baggen Photos to ask him a few questions about what it's like to photograph motorsports events with his Crown Graphic large format camera.
Sony's new 320GB and 640GB 'Tough' CFexpress Type A cards are due out next month and while the 640GB card will offer the most storage of any Type A card to date, it doesn't come cheap.
Adobe's Photoshop and Premiere Elements apps make editing photos and videos easy for users of all skill levels. The latest versions add more editing tools, more AI features and improved performance.
The Sony FX30 is an explicitly video-focused camera, but could its technology herald a refresh of the company's APS-C stills line-up? We have a look at what that might mean.
The lens offers a constant F2.8 aperture through a rather unique focal length range for full-frame camera systems. It’s expected to be available starting October 27, 2022 for $699.
Can AI overcome the physical limitations of smartphone sensors and lenses? A Qualcomm executive thinks so, thanks in large part to improvements in processing power, hardware and artificial intelligence.
We're starting to see cameras offering 'open gate' video recording, so what is this tool and when is it useful?
The Sony FX30 is a 4K/120p-capable Super35 / APS-C cinema camera that wants to take the battle to the likes of Panasonic's GH series.
Sony's FX30 Super35/APS-C Cinema Line camera is effectively a crop-sensor version of the company's full-frame FX3 camera with sensor-based image stabilization, oversampled 4K/60p capture and '16-bit' Raw output and more.
If you've ever wanted to become an action figure, Hasbro is providing you the opportunity with its new 3D-printed Selfie Series action figures.
When you store photos on the cloud, you expect them to remain safe for a long time. However, some Google Photos users were scared over the weekend when they realized that their photo libraries had become corrupted.
DALL-E's Outpainting feature uses AI to expand existing images and artwork. Ad agency Ogilvy Paris has used Outpainting to expand Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, 'The Milkmaid.'
iOS 16.0.2 addresses, amongst other bug fixes, a problem wherein the second-generation sensor-shift image stabilization tech was causing camera shake issues in some third-party apps.
For the past eight years, the Library of Congress has been working on figuring out the subjects in a large collection of film, TV and music photos. Many of the mysteries have been solved. However, 17 photos have eluded the LC's best efforts, and the public's help is needed to help put names to the final unknown faces.
After having to pull the initial firmware update last month due to an issue that caused some units to stop working, Sony has re-released firmware version 1.1 for its a7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera.
Sigma's latest wide Art-badged prime for full frame is capable of some stunning landscapes. Check out a new batch of sample photos in the gallery.
Winners for this year's annual Comedy Pet Photo Awards have been announced.
While visiting the team in Seattle, Chris and Jordan attempt to eat some chowder. It's difficult. Also, this week they are puppets.
Meike has released its first adapter for Nikon Z cameras. The new MK-EFTZ-B adapter allows Nikon Z users to attach Canon EF and EF-S lenses to their cameras, complete with autofocus and automatic exposure functionality.
The Canon 5D Mark II was released in November 2008. Since then, a photographer used theirs to capture nearly 2.3 million images, which is an average of about 450 photos per day if they shot every single day. The camera is still going strong for its new owner.
Capture One for iPad users cvan now connect their camera, wired or wirelessly, to their iPad for quick image transfers without the need for memory cards and readers.
Digital film scanners can be pricey, so Lomo's latest scanners let shooters do it themselves. Whether you have a digital camera, or simply a smartphone, there's a DigitaLIZA that'll work with your kit. But are the results any good? Let's find out.
The Leica Q2 'Dawn' is the same camera on the inside, but features an all-black paint job and a special Japanese-woven fabric wrap produced by Japanese brand, Hosoo.
It's been a while since we've encountered a lens with a normal to super-telephoto range, how do the photos from the Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 look? Take a gander.
Also new is a built-in screen for checking the battery and shooting mode, as well as a Quick Launch feature for iPhone devices.
Venus Optics' Laowa 58mm F2.8 2x Ultra-Macro APO is available for Canon R, Leica L, Nikon Z and Sony E mount camera systems.
Kubrick had three of the ten Zeiss Planar 50mm F0.7 lenses Zeiss produced re-engineered to work as cinema lenses. Kubrick is most known for using these lenses in a candlelit scene in his Oscar-winning film, Barry Lyndon.