Serif PhotoPlus X4
Serif's PhotoPlus photo editing software gets more powerful
- Better handling of non-destructive editing, improved support for 16-bit images
- Lacks pre-conversion custom colour adjustments
Serif PhotoPlus X4 offers significant improvements in nondestructive editing and 16-bit support, but it still needs better control over RAW conversion for its photo enthusiast market.
Price$ 98.53 (AUD)
Serif PhotoPlus is designed for photo enthusiasts who seek more creative control and functionality than what novice programs offer, but who aren't ready to graduate to the depth, complexity, and expense of Adobe Photoshop. The latest iteration, PhotoPlus X4 offers significant improvements through the addition of nondestructive editing, greater support of 16-bit images, and interface changes that help smooth workflow.
One of the strengths of PhotoPlus is the quality of its help and guidance. From the opening splash screen, you can access useful, online video tutorials. In addition, when you hover your mouse over the list of recent files, a thumbnail preview now pops up. The How To help panel in the main screen still provides intelligent advice, as well as step-by-step instructions, with links to commands rather than just descriptions of them.
The redesigned PhotoPlus Organizer is now integrated with the main program, which makes it easier to organise and use your photos. But getting a photo into the Organizer is a two-step process, rather than a simple double-click. The Organizer will watch folders for changes; however, it failed to be able to connect to our external or network drives and watched only those hard drives that are installed in the local computer. On the other hand, it was able to access and work with image files on network and external drives. Organizer can now use geotag metadata from your camera or phone to place your photos on an integrated Google Map, or you can manually drag and drop a series of photos onto the zoomable world map. The Organizer also now has direct export of photos to Flickr and Facebook. Unfortunately, the Organizer can be sluggish, especially when tagging or geotagging groups of pictures. For instance, after selecting about 15 photos of our cat Rascal and dragging to tag them with his name, the program became inaccessible, not allowing us to tag an additional dozen photos of our other cat Teddy.
The customisable interface of the PhotoPlus main screen is highly accessible, with the default workspace docking How To on the left and the edit panels to the right. Some of the most significant changes with X4 are the changes in those edit panel. For instance, the new adjustments panel (for exposure, color and similar edits) is more accessible and versatile than the old menu dialog, and the new Filter layers function like Photoshop's Smart Filters, as part of X4's greater commitment to nondestructive editing.
Leveraging existing Serif technologies, PhotoPlus X4 now includes the Cutout Studio (for masking), and the full Panorama Plus X4 program for stitching photos together from the Organizer (or as a standalone).
The one area that hasn't been improved but should be for the photo enthusiast market is the RAW Studio. While PhotoPlus supports a wide range of RAW file formats, it sometimes automatically adjust the colour temperature of the image (often related to the export colour model chosen), and doesn't provide colour tools before the RAW conversion for controlling the image colours.
Under the hood, PhotoPlus X4 now supports multi-thread processing, such as with the new dual, quad- and six-core systems. It also finally retains and exports all EXIF image metadata, rather than throwing it away. More obvious is its much better support of 16-bit images, with a larger number of its tools and filters now enabled for 16-bit editing. In addition, screen rendering of your images is improved, using a new pixel sampling.
While the improvements in PhotoPlus X4 tend to be catch-ups rather than innovations, this version marks a clear step up in power, accessibility, and enabling features. PhotoPlus X4 makes it possible for photo hobbyists to do sophisticated editing without the expense of Photoshop.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Snapchat just got way easier to use thanks to a new search bar
- Microsoft is retiring the Blue Screen of Death for some users
- 2016 will be 1 second longer: Google can help you cope
- Microsoft declares summer's Windows 10 upgrade fit for business
- Stop pouting: Google’s Santa Tracker is updated just in time for the Christmas countdown
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCWebMethod DeveloperSA
- TPProjects Planning ManagerQLD
- FTSystems AdministratorVIC
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - Permanent OpportunityNSW
- TPProject Manager - Data ManagementSA
- FTSAP BW ConsultantACT
- FTJunior Business Process Analyst Perm North SydneyNSW
- FTOffice365 Solution SpecialistSA
- CCWebMethod DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- CCSenior Developer - Appian/PegaVIC
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCCapacity and Performance Analyst - Mainframe - Z SystemsVIC
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCFIS Connex Developer (Brisbane Based)NSW
- CCIT Support AnalystVIC
- TPPrincipal Business Analyst - DAFFQLD
- FTTrading Systems EngineerNSW
- FTService Delivery Manager - EnterpriseACT
- FTInformation Security ManagerNSW
- TPChange ManagerNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant Advanced Warehouse ManagementNSW