PhotoRetouch DigiCam 4.0.4

PhotoRetouch DigiCam is the baby brother of PhotoRetouch Pro, a powerful yet easy-to-use image-enhancement and colour-management tool for pre-press production. DigiCam was unveiled just a year ago, and contains only Pro's image-editing features. This latest iteration sees Tiger optimisation, stability and performance improvements.

As someone who has been using Pro since its launch nearly four years ago, I cannot speak highly enough of the core technology underlying its editing tools. The beating heart of DigiCam is the Colour RECO process, which provides one-click optimisation of an image's levels and sharpness. As a quick, accurate way to enhance image data – not just colour – it's unbeatable for gaining professional results time after time.

RECO is one of DigiCam's 17 ‘processes', all of which are applied in a floating window that contains before-and-after panes giving a real-time preview of changes made. A number of these processes will prove invaluable for digital photography enthusiasts.

One is Quantifier, which automates the retouching of old colour images that have been scanned. A single click results in faded colours becoming vivid and balanced – a real boon for those who are digitising old photos and have no wish to spend half their lives restoring them to their former glory.

Another valuable tool is JPEG Removal, which smoothes out noise in low-resolution JPEGs, often rescuing otherwise unusable images (for use online if not in print).

One DigiCam tool that has much to commend it Paint Process. Using this allows you to ‘paint' edits onto localised areas of an image, meaning you can change colours, lightness, sharpness, etc, in specific areas without having to use layers. This will appeal to those who want impressive results without having to pore over a manual in order to get there.

PhotoRetouch DigiCam 4.04 zips along in Tiger, and its RECO feature is almost worth the money alone. But it's more than a one-trick pony, offering impressive, easy-to-achieve results on sharpening, the editing of selective colours and transforming pictures into black-and-white, among many others.

OUR VERDICT

At 49 DigiCam represents decent value – but only the first 3,000 customers will be able to buy it at this price. After that it will cost 149, a price that makes it difficult to recommend DigiCam over Adobe's much more versatile Photoshop Elements 3, which costs just £54. Another downside with DigiCam is Binuscan's approach to licensing; it's licensed to the computer rather the user, meaning you can't install it on both your desktop and laptop, or work and home machines. Many will find this irritating, even at the cut-down price of 49. At 149 it will surely succeed only in putting custom Adobe's way.

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