So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10
Price$ 189.95 (AUD)
Another contender in photo editing software more involved than basic tools bundled with a camera is Microsoft's Digital Image Suite.
The core of this year's upgrade is Digital Image Library 10, a photo organiser that looks a lot like Windows XP's Explorer. It lets you easily upload your shots, rate them with up to five stars, flag them for future attention, label them with captions, and assign key words for easy categorisation.
When you're ready to begin editing your photos, you launch Digital Image Pro 10. Microsoft arranges the tools logically and a set of Auto Fix commands makes completing basic changes easy. Tasks such as red-eye removal and panoramic stitching require little user intervention. Digital Image Pro provides fewer options and complex commands than competitors such as Adobe's Photoshop Elements and Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, but what you do get generally works very well.
The app's simplicity can be a bit limiting, however. For example, unlike most editors Digital Image Pro 10 will let you work on only one image at a time, so you can't try out different edits on side-by-side copies of the same. This is a solid package, particularly for photographers ready to step up from basic image editing software. Advanced users however, may not appreciate the way the suite's ease of use masks some control limitations.
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