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Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3
  • PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (Image Editing - Complete Product - Standard - 1 User - Retail - PC - English)


Our Score:


Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 is the latest version of an image editing program which for nearly 20 years has been the leading consumer alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Starting life in 1992 as a fairly basic raster painting and image editing package called Jasc PaintShop Pro, it has steadily developed over the years into a very powerful program. Jasc Software was acquired by Corel in 2004, and since then the program has undergone several changes, not least to its name which has got progressively longer and more complicated with each new iteration. The latest version changes the name from the well-known “PaintShop Pro Photo” to “PaintShop Photo Pro” for some reason that probably seemed like a good idea to Corel's marketing department.

PaintShop has always been seen as a cheaper alternative to Adobe Photoshop, and indeed its success was one of the main reasons that Adobe launched Photoshop Elements in 2001. PaintShop Pro is quite possibly the most pirated program ever made, and earlier versions (up to version 9.0) are freely available for download from a number of websites. The latest version is available as either a boxed program with a full printed manual, or as a download from Corel's own online store, priced at £79 for the full version or £59 as an upgrade from version 10 or higher. However if you shop go to Amazon you can find the full version for as little as £65. If that still seems a bit expensive, bear in mind that the latest version of Adobe Photoshop will cost you around £600, and even Photoshop Elements is around £75.

Alex 5

February 15, 2010, 3:31 am

There is only one drawback to PaintShop Photo Pro X3 that Corel continues to neglect and that is making a native app of it for the Mac.


February 15, 2010, 9:01 am

Although on the Mac, if you want a cheap alternative to Elements, there's Pixelmator http://www.pixelmator.com/ Not sure if it's as fully featured as Photo Pro X3, but it has a lovely native Mac interface.

Hal Trachtenberg

February 15, 2010, 11:35 am

Here's the deal for me. I originally used Corel PSP X2 as my only photo editing program. However, I eventually switched to Nikon Capture NX2 because I did not like the way PSP X2 handled the NEF RAW files. However, once I switched to Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit, I wanted a program that runs in 64, so I began using Lightroom 3 beta, which I eventually preferred over Nikon Capture. I have now switched back to Corel PSP X3 after being dissatisfied with Lightroom's ineffective noise reduction. Now I am using both LR3 and PSP X3. I use the LR 3 for most of the editing and use Corel mainly for noise reduction, when and IF needed, but only after the photo has been converted to jpeg. I find PSP X3 crashes often when trying to work with NEF (Nikon) RAW files.


February 17, 2010, 11:40 pm

Excellent review Cliff. Just one thing missing - how stable and system-hungry is it? With Photoshop it's safe to assume the buyer will also invest in a powerful computer, but consumer-level software like PSP (PSPP?) needs to run reasonably well on fairly average systems - in my case dual-core machines around 2GHz with 4Gb of RAM and relatively low-end graphics cards. Other reviews have criticised X3 for being exceptionally slow, and some have also mentioned frequent crashes.

I am seriously considering X3 for desktop use - I have Elements 8 on the laptop and it's pretty good but I find the organiser frustrating and would like more control, while CS4 is overkill and far too expensive. But all the benefits of PaintShop are for naught if it wont't allow me to open and edit my 14mp RAW files without grinding to a halt or crashing. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

Cliff Smith

March 3, 2010, 5:19 pm

My system spec is a dual-core 2.4GHz with 4GB RAM running Windows XP Pro. Having now used the program for several weeks I've not experienced a single crash. It is a little slow to start up, but once it's going it's noticeably quicker than PSPP X2. It uses around 100-160MB of RAM depending on what it's doing. I've had no problems opening 14MP Raw files, 50MB TIFFs or any other image files. In my opinion it's a much better option for a hobby photographer with a DLSR than Photoshop Elements. For one thing the organiser doesn't crash when presented with over 20,000 photos, which Elements 8 does.

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