December 2016

Looking for a Photoshop alternative: $40 for Affinity Photo is your best option

For photographers looking for an alternative to Photoshop, that want all the power it provides and aren’t satisfied with the more limited processing capabilities of or , there haven’t been too many alternatives. The best options to date have been , Gimp, or perhaps Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector. Now though, Affinity has dramatically improved the capabilities of its Photo product and has also made it available on both Mac and Windows. For the value price of $40, you can have a product that does almost all of what Photoshop does, and many things it doesn’t. I’ve taken it for a spin and enjoyed using it. You can read my .

Samsung Gear 360: Excellent image quality in an awkward package

Samsung Gear 360 Spherical VR CameraThis year has seen the first consumer-friendly 360-degree cameras capable of 4K video capture. 4K or better resolution is much more important for 360-degree cameras than for traditional models, because those 4,000 x 2,000 pixels have to cover a full 360-degrees of the scene. The best known of these cameras is Samsung's Gear 360, so we took one out for a spin to see if it is indeed a worthy upgrade to the Ricoh Theta S that we reviewed earlier in the year. In short, it is a solid step up in output quality, but at the cost of a somewhat-awkward form factor. Keep in mind that to use the full features of the you need to pair it with a Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S7, S7 Edge, or Note 5. It’s bundled software is also Windows-only.

Lightroom adds a Reference View -- not that having multiple windows is a new thing

There is no doubt that Lightroom’s new Reference View is a useful addition to the product. It is a fancy name for allowing you to have a static image displayed on part of the screen while you work on another. This is helpful for looking through a variety of shots, comparing them, checking for stable white balance, etc. However, it does make me laugh a little bit, since if Lightroom supported any type of windowing or multi-document interface – like Photoshop and nearly every other full-blown desktop application, we could already do that, and much more.