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Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 - Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3


Our Score:


Improvements to existing features include an enhanced organizer which is now a separate interface rather than opening as a pane in the main window as on previous versions. Images can be zoomed in the organiser window, and it can also display EXIF data and additional information about an image such as the file name, caption, search tags and the date on which it was created, all of which can be edited.

Also enhanced is the Express Lab, a more basic image editor for quick adjustments to digital photos. As well as this the overall performance and stability of the program has been greatly improved. Further additions include the bundled Corel Painter Photo Essentials 4 and Project Creator, allowing quick loading of images, slide shows and videos to file-sharing sites such as Flickr, Facebook and YouTube.

All in all PaintShop Photo Pro X3 comes across as a very well thought-out package. The new features work well, the improved existing features work more quickly, and the whole program feels very slick and competent. Although it offers no serious competition to Adobe Photoshop in the professional sector – it still can't edit 14 or 16-bit image files, and the Raw processor isn't a patch on Camera Raw – for home or hobby use it is ideal, with every feature one could realistically need. It offers much more control and versatility than Photoshop Elements, and it is easier to use and more intuitive than the open-source freeware GIMP2, as well as having a much more attractive interface.


Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 may have a rather unwieldy name, but there's nothing silly about the software. It is a well-designed and highly effective photo editing and organising system that offers home users and hobbyist photographers 9/10th of the features of Adobe Photoshop for 1/10th of the price, which makes it a good bargain by any standard.


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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