Review: Affinity Photo vs Photoshop

A worthy adversary to Adobe by Serif Software?

By Cambo in Hands-On Tests on Apr 4, 2022

When Adobe first announced in 2011 that Photoshop, and all of its Creative Suite applications, would go to cloud-based monthly subscriptions, I was upset, like many users. Having been a Photoshop user since about 1996, and having spent literally thousands on Adobe software over the years, I had developed a good little side business doing photography and graphics which augmented my work as a musician. I started using Photoshop when we were still scanning prints, slides, and negatives. I had grown very used to its cumbersome, arcane, buggy, and, at times, inane, user interface. It was pretty much the only game in town for a long time. In 2013, the fear became a reality, and Adobe stopped issuing standalone software for Photoshop.

I was OK for a while, in that I still had a fresh version of Creative Suite 6 that was still working, so I steadfastly refused to sign up. At the same time, however, Apple was gradually shifting to 64 bit architecture in all of their computers and software, and by about 2015-2016, CS6 no longer worked on my machine. CS6 was 32 bit; I was hooped. What was I going to do? Pay Adobe’s monthly subscription fee, which initially was truly outrageous? And to top things off, what about users like me who needed Illustrator and InDesign two or three times a year, but didn’t use it all the time? Was I going to have to get a subscription for all of this? It was far beyond my ability to pay, and it still is, as initially they were on an annual subscription paid monthly fee schedule, so occasional users like me were disadvantaged. I was really mad and frustrated with Adobe, and I remain so to this day. But then I heard about a wonderful little company in England called Serif, who were building a product called Affinity Photo. I thought I’d give it a try. My heroes!

Affinity Photo does everything that Photoshop in CS6 did as far as I can tell, with the notable exception of 3D, which I never used anyway. It actually does many things better, more conveniently, and certainly more logically than Photoshop ever did. They have completely revamped the interface and user experience of the product, retaining the stuff that worked and dumping a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t. They have done a wonderful job on this, IMHO. On top of that, they also have the equivalent of Illustrator and InDesign available, and their prices are extremely reasonable. I’ve now been using Affinity Photo since about 2016, and here is my review of it, as well as a comparison to my memories of the last version of the more mainstream but more expensive Photoshop.

Think Tank Modular Belt System Review

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Dec 13, 2019

Always on the lookout for new ways to assist photographers in carrying and using their equipment, Think Tank recently introduced the third generation of their modular belt system.

Built around the principle that carrying and using photo equipment are two different things, with different requirements, the modular system offers numerous modules and accessories giving quick access to cameras, lenses, flashes, filters and accessories. The goal is to make using and switching gear painless and fluid.

Like many products from Think Tank, the modules can be used separately but work better as a system. How did we like this approach? Read our review to find out!

DA* 11-18mm Full Frame Compatibility Tested

A look at vignetting and dark corners on full frame

By PF Staff in Hands-On Tests on Sep 15, 2019

The HD Pentax-DA* 11-18mm F2.8 is the latest addition to Pentax's lineup of premium APS-C lenses.  With an ultra-wide zoom range, a fast aperture of F2.8 throughout, and the latest in optical and lens technology, it's the perfect lens for demanding wide-angle shooters.

As a DA-series lens, the 11-18mm is of course designed for APS-C cameras.  But, can it also double as a wide-angle lens on full-frame?  You may recall that we recently posted a comprehensive test of all DA lenses on full frame.  Today, it's time to add the 11-18mm to the list of tested lenses!

Ricoh GR III First Impressions Review

The 24-megapixel pocketable APS-C camera

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on May 8, 2019

The Ricoh GR III is an interesting release from Ricoh. Surprisingly popular for a niche product (some stores in Japan listed it as their best-selling camera in March 2019), it has a lot going for it. The GR line has gathered quite a following over the years, and this new addition follows in the tracks of its predecessors.

While we work on an in-depth review of the GR III, today we take a first look at the camera to see whether or not it is worthy of the hype surrounding it.

Pentax K-1 II vs K-1 Autofocus Test

An early but detailed look at autofocus with the K-1 II

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jul 13, 2018

Continuing our series of "first impressions" hands-on tests with the K-1 II camera, and prior to publishing our complete camera review, today we will take a look at the autofocus performance of the K-1 II.

From the beginning, a lot of emphasis has been put in the K-1 II’s increased ISO range and, even more, on the accelerator unit supposed to improve high ISO handling. However, the K-1 II also offers better AF tracking and general AF speeds, at least according to Ricoh representatives.

This article will look at the K-1 II's AF performance in detail. First, single AF will be studied. We will then evaluate AF-C in a variety of scenarios. In each case, we directly compare the K-1 II to its predecessor, the K-1.

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