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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft apologizes after a rogue Windows 10 preview build causes chaos
- Skype's major redesign prioritizes helpful bots and a smart camera over traditional video chats
- All-electric satellites are ushering in zippier in-flight internet access
- Microsoft shows the power of its Pen with a new Whiteboard app and other upgrades
- Windows 10 S will not run Linux, even though it's a downloadable Windows app
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Ring Video Doorbell review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 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
- TPDatawarehouse Analyst/DeveloperSA
- FTSenior Business Analyst, SuperannuationNSW
- FTLead Android DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Full Stack Web DeveloperOther
- FTIT PMO OfficerOther
- TPICT Customer Support Officer - ArmidaleNSW
- FTSenior SharePoint Administrator. Location -ACTOther
- FTInfrastructure EngineerACT
- FTFinance and PeopleSoft Project ManagerOther
- FTTeam Lead Enterprise Services & InfrastructureOther
- FTLevel 2/3 Application Support SpecialistQLD
- FTDigital Records ManagerACT
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCSenior Automation Test AnalystVIC
- FTProject Coordinator - DigitalOther
- CCBMC Remedy Business AnalystVIC
- CCMigration Project ManagerNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperOther
- FTJunior .Net DeveloperOther
- CCNetwork Architect - part time contract, Sydney Western SuburbsNSW
- FTService Desk EngineerNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTProject SchedulerOther
- FTTelecom RiggerOther
- FTNetwork ArchitectACT