That discomfort is mitigated somewhat by the increasing value of Mac apps which do far more than the price tag would imply by creating a value proposition that’s utterly unexpected. Here’s a quick look at my top three.
The Free To Replacement Trio
At the free end of the scale of Mac photo enhancement apps is Fotor. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is free.
Fotor is a straightforward Mac photo editor which adjusts color, adds borders, drops in effects and filters, and even comes with 800 photo collage templates. For free.
At the other end of the scale, and weighing in at less than a 10th of Adobe’s ongoing rental fee for Photoshop et al, is Pixelmator.
It looks like Photoshop, works like Photoshop, and if it could exude digital fragrance, it would smell like Photoshop, but at a fraction of the price tag. At the pro level there’s no better value for the money.
Stuck right in the middle of my favorite non-Photoshop trio is CameraBag. As the title suggests, CameraBag is a photo enhancement app packed with over 150 effects and filters, dozens of advanced photo tools you won’t find in most other apps.
The claim to fame here, besides a remarkable price, is the balance between ease of use, and the incredible number of effects and filters.
Everything is adjustable so you can create your own effects and apply them to other photos. Filters are non-destructive, too, so you won’t lose your original. Color depth is 32-bit per channel, and you can layer filters over filters for unique effects.
Controls are simple and seem slightly larger than normal which makes them particularly accessible on Mac notebooks. If you like CameraBag you’ll probably like the fact that there’s a Windows PC version, and a version for iPhone and iPad.
I recommend you try the trial version from the developer’s website first, as the Mac App Store version doesn’t have a trial and it’s priced slightly above my tolerance for throwaway money on an app.
What’s missing are a few items that work make CameraBag perfect. It needs to play nice-nice with iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom. Its ease of use also means no spot specific tools to learn or use; both a good feature and a missing feature. And while it does RAW image processing there’s no support for the MacBook Pro’s Retina display. Go figure.