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Review of Serif PhotoPlus X5

Review of Serif PhotoPlus X5

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


PhotoPlus X5 from Serif is a Windows only photo editing software at a low cost that offers tools usually found only in higher priced alternatives. With strong tutorials to guide new users and a nice array of tools and bonus goodies (filters, templates, etc), PhotoPlus X5 is a real contender for your photo editing needs.

What I Like About It


Serif PhotoPlus X5 is an excellent option for new to editing beginners purely based on the tutorials within the program. A sidebar offers feature help and links rather than the user needing to hunt through help files or find the "right" search term to convince help to return a valid topic as with some other editing programs.


While newer users probably won't delve into layer masks, I love seeing this ability as it allows the program to remain useful for more advanced users.


This additional CD is a great addition for scrapbookers and other home publishing folks who want to make something out of their photos. Cards, photobooks, and scrapbooks are made much quicker and easier with the CraftArtist tools/templates.

Lots of Power for a Low Price

There aren't many programs on the market for under $100 that deliver the features/power of Serif PhotoPlus X5.

Facebook/Flickr Integration

Again, while not a tool that pros might look for, the Facebook and Flickr integration is a great tool for those wanting to share photos with friends and family.

Handles RAW

This version of PhotoPlus has a robust RAW development side that is nice to see in a program at this price range.

Includes HDR Blending

HDR is one of the most popular photo techniques at the moment and PhotoPlus includes the capability to merge your shots into HDR, eliminating the need for extra software.

What I Don't Like About It


- I can't quite but my finger on what it is but there is an oddness to the navigation for me that makes the program slightly awkward. For new to editing users not used to other systems I think this would be negligible as you would learn this system from the ground up.

The Little Things

PhotoPlus is continuing to make improvements but every so often you run across something small that is missing that affects your workflow in a big way. For example, this version just now added one click functioning for showing only the current layer.

Windows Only

I admit it, software that only works on one platform is a pet peeve of mine. I prefer software that users can take with them if they swap platforms.

New Features in Serif PhotoPlus X5

Vibrancy Adjustment

Different from the standard hue/contrast/brightness you might be used to the vibrancy adjustment adds pop to your photos without turning skin and hair into cartoonish nightmares.

Clarity Filter

A specialty filter to quickly sharpen and add contrast to your photos. Often, this is all that is needed for otherwise excellent out of the camera photos.

Blend Modes

Anyone familiar with digital editing knows how much the way you blend layers can change the results. PhotoPlus has added more blend modes in the X5 version.

Brighten and Contrast

Some under the hood tweaks have made brighten and contrast controls stronger and return more pleasing results.

Adjustments Tab

Faster, restore, and layer improvements make the adjustments tab are stronger tool in this version.

Faster Blending

No one likes to wait on spinning wheels and dripping hourglasses. Blending is now faster.

User Interface

Lots of changes to the user interface with X5. Whether you like them or not is likely to wind up a matter of purely personal preference.

Clip to Layer

Fastening the adjustments tab to the layer makes organization much easier.

Show Only Current Layer

A small adjustment that once you use it you are appreciative of it immediately.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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