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Serif Affinity Photo beta arrives to take on Photoshop

Free beta available to all before Affinity Photo goes on sale through the OS X App store

Serif has officially revealed Affinity Photo, an image editor for Apple OS X that aims to challenge Adobe’s Photoshop in terms of features and performance, but at a fraction of the price. It arrives in beta form today, around six months after Affinity Designer arrived and shot to the top of the OS X App Store charts.

As with Affinity Designer, which performs virtually every function you’ll find in Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo goes toe-to-toe with Photoshop. It has true end-to-end CMYK, 16-bits per channel editing, RAW processing, ICC colour management and LAB colour. It might only be an initial Beta, buy you can expect professional-grade features like frequency separation editing, live blend modes, Inpainting and advanced retouching.

Lossless scaling, cropping, blurs and other edits will maintain your images’ original image quality, and are non-destructive. The entire app is built from the ground up for OS X, so should be lightning fast too. Plus, for anyone that’s converting from Photoshop, Affinity Photo will also include PSD import and export functionality as well as 64-bit plug-in support.

Unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud, however, Affinity apps only require a one-off purchase and don’t need a monthly subscription in order to retain access. That alone should mean a significant saving versus Photoshop, which can be prohibitively expensive for anyone looking to get started with professional-level image editing.

As much as we can’t wait to put Affinity Photo through its paces, we expect Serif will have a harder job selling it to users. Unlike Affinity Designer, which only really had to compete with Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo will face stiff competition from cheap and free applications like Pixelmator and the free GIMP editor. They are well established and have their own prior fanbases, but anyone still on the fence should definitely give Affinity Photo a try.

The Affinity Photo beta is available to download now from, and is compatible with OS X Lion 10.7.5 and newer on 64-bit Intel Mac desktops and laptops. Serif expects it to go on sale through the Mac App Store for £39.99 later in the year.

We’ll be putting it through its paces throughout the week to see if it’s a must-have download.

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