Customer Reviews: PaintShop Pro X5 [Old Version]
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Price:$29.98 - $35.00
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VINE VOICEon October 30, 2012
Platform: PC Disc|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been using Corel photo software for many years now. I first purchased Corel Photo Album in 2008 and have been using Corel products ever since.
The installation is simple, registration is easy and I have never had any of the programs crash or fail on any of the computers I have owned over the years.

Paint Shop Pro X5 has many new features that add to the usefulness of the program. I am one who uses the program to enhance and improve photo quality, correct issues such as contrast, saturation, brightness, and other functions. There are auto features that you can use to do these things, or custom settings that you can choose to employ. This program however contains many more applications than those. In fact, I am quite impressed with all this software package offers. The interface is easy to use, and there are many tutorials that explain the various features if one needs help. I am still exploring all the features offered in this package and am very impressed. There are previews of the effects shown for comparison to the original image, which is very helpful.

This is a very good, stable program that will serve the user quite well. I have been satisfied with Corel products purchased in the past and the same applies to Paint Shop Pro X5.
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on January 6, 2013
I've used PaintShop for years, and been very happy with it. For a fraction of the price of Photoshop you get a ton of functionality.

In this latest version though, they've made some unwise choices. When I first started it up the organizer started indexing my drive without asking... bad idea. It took hours until I was able to do anything with it. I've since turned it off but it still takes forever to start up, I probably need to clean its database. If only they had bothered asking me whether to index 15 years of pictures on a 2TB disk...
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on January 29, 2013
First off when you install it asks if you'd like some nice background DRM and a browser toolbar. Not what I want to see in professional software or really any software. Even The Gimp doesn't do that.
They call the background DRM an update service but it doesn't really work well for that.
You still get DRM anyway in the sense of a call home and activate feature the first time you run it, and it also tries calling home when you connect to the internet so as to make sure your copy is legit. I know because I have an app telling me whenever another app tries to do such things.
After getting through the activate/register/verify nonsense I did find the program itself quite nice to use. The photo manager or thumbnail viewer is not quite as fast or feature-rich as ACDSee (another low-cost alternative to Adobe's offerings) but it works well and is easy to switch between viewing and editing. I only mention that because users of X3 complained it was rather clunky.

The tabs work well and make all your basic needs quick to deal with. The adjust tab is for basic quick editing of photos such as you might find in Adobe's Lightroom. Only more stripped down. But it works more than well enough for the casual user and professional photographers who dont plan on doing pixel-level editing. Also gives basic histogram and exposure info. The tools include smart fixing for brightness, saturation, and such. Also included are more advanced and less automated adjustments for WB, contrast, fill light or clarity, tone map, sharpening, and noise removal. All of them operate on sliders and adjust the image in real time (dependent on your processing speed of course). On the other side of the image you have tools for cute photo effects, a job which has been taken over by Instagram and clones. But there are many options and the quality is better than you'd find in those free apps designed for grandma. They also work a bit slower and there are no adjustments for speed versus quality.
Zooming is done with the mouse wheel in all 3 tabs and I don't know if that can be remapped like in other programs.

The last tab is Edit and where all the real work is done. You have all the stuff in previous Corel versions but if you are coming from something much older (like in my case Photo Paint 8) then you will have a bit of a learning curve. Some of the more commonly used functions these days are moved up and available on top by default, some of the less common features have been merged with others, dropped, or pushed deep into the menu's. You can make layers and work with fields same as any other good photo program. They also include the quick'n'easy touchup tools here as well as the artistic, Instagram stuff. You can save to more formats the average person needs though I should point out you can't actually work in RAW. You must import or convert first, then save to something else like TIFF or whatever your favorite is.

The work-space tabs can be moved and closed and there's actually a lot of things you can have open at once. If you've got the desktop space you can open all your tools at the same time. Not smart, but its doable. The color scheme can also be changed between light, med, dark, and also baby blue for some reason, but no other colors. I guess professionals would choose one of the grays and Corel expects grandma to want blue.

All the tutorials and demos are online, Corel no longer seems to release plain old PDF or WinWord tutorials (either that or they hide them). The good news is because this particular brand is home for many enthusiasts, there's tons of independent tutorials all over the web. Even Youtube has a few. That's important because many amateurs see the low price, jump in, then realize they are over their heads. DON'T RETURN THE SOFTWARE! Now is as good a time as any to start learning. Find some help, figure the tools out, enjoy what a full-fledged editor can do for you.

Overall its a very good deal for the money provided:
1. You dont need or can't pay for full Photoshop. 2. You are knowledgeable enough to appreciate moving beyond Windows Paint Brush. 3. You arent getting exactly what you need from free or cheap editors included with other suites, such as ACDSee. 4. You don't feel like learning Gimp.
It is not needed for people who need the most basic photo touch-ups like brightness & contrast, or those who just want Instagram effects. Its also not the best choice for experienced software users that make money from their photography or editing and need to automate workflow on thousands of images. There are some batch tools and some script tools, but nothing as heavy duty as Photoshop.

Final Note: The stupid DRM thought the program was illegal after about a month and disabled the software. Uninstalling and re-installing fixed it but if this keeps up I will toss it and re-install an older version of Corel Photo Paint. I don't need the aggravation and it didn't cost me much to begin with.

I RECOMMEND EVERYONE TRY THE FREE 30-DAY TRIAL FIRST. Save yourselves some headaches and money.
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on September 9, 2012
I've been using Paint Shop Pro for years and I love this software. The 5th version presents the expected improvements, compared to the 3rd version I had been using. The interface is easy to use. The software is responsive and previews of applied effects even seem a little faster on my old computer with Vista than with Paint Shop Pro 3! (I also use it with another computer and Windows 7). Lots of help and tutorials, clean interface loaded with fairly intuitive and powerful effects. This is great for anyone not ready to invest the time, training and money in Photoshop. You will still get A LOT of tweaking/retouching power. Absolutely necessary to improve on your point-and-shoot pictures and other images you'd like to modify. The 2-star reviews I've seen are strange. One complaining because the program didn't work (ok this happens with software. If it doesn't work, don't write a review). The other one must hate conservatives because he won't use the software if menus don't dock to the left. 5 stars for me, though.
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on October 22, 2012
Platform: PC Disc|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a long time Adobe PhotoShop user, but lately have been turned off by the price. Even version upgrades from Adobe cost hundreds of dollars each. If you're a professional photographer (i.e. making thousands of dollars from your photo shoots), then the Adobe features and compatibility may be worth the price of the software to you. I cannot really recommend Adobe PhotoShop to amateurs simply because of the price.

PaintShop Pro has enough functionality for most amateurs. It has a photo organizer similar to Adobe Lightroom. There is also a layer-based photo editor similar to Adobe PhotoShop. The photo editing features cover all the basics. For beginners, there is a one-button optimization mode and also a one-screen manual editing mode that both work fairly well. Advanced amateurs have enough other features to keep them busy for a while.

Casual photographers are unlikely to ever need more features than this program offers. Advanced amateurs will probably want to experiment with several programs before deciding which one best meets their needs. PSP is cheap enough to experiment with for a while before moving on if you like something better.

I am running PaintShop Pro on a several-year-old Windows XP computer with no problems.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 9, 2012
Used PSP X2 for years w/o a hitch. Great goto product that successfully bridged the gap between Photoshop and less sophisticated "quick edit" software like Photofiltre. But recently upgraded OS to Win7 & needed a newer version of PSP for compatibility. Downloaded PSP X5 and checked it out. It looked great - no radical changes and a familiar interface. That's the good news - and that's where it stopped. Attempting to use X5 for even the most simple tasks resulted in crash after crash and error after error. "Not enough memory" it said. "Not a valid file type" it said. For the record if my PC can run Photoshop w/o any trouble at all I'm sure it can run X5 - it has plenty of memory. As for the 2nd error, PSP X2 was used to create those "invalid file types" X5 complained about, and they open just fine in every other software I use, including Photoshop, GIMP, Photofiltre, and others. There is no information about any of these issues anywhere on Corel's site, and no fixes, either. But there are a growing number of similar complaints about the product cropping up across the internet, so did the right thing: Deleted X5 and went in search of a better bridge between my Photoshop and Photofiltre. RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hi nd2kos

I'm Nadim from the PaintShop team at Corel. PaintShop Pro X5 marks a dramatic upgrade from PSPX2, so we were concerned when we read your review. We aren't able to address the multiple issues you experienced based on the minimal info in your review, but given these experiences are not typical, we'd love to hear a little more from you to see if we can help troubleshoot here and see if there are any issues we can address. Please email with "Amazon Reviewer:" in your subject line at your convenience and we'll see what we can do!
on May 25, 2013
I just finished uninstalling this trash. I guess I should have learned my lesson from version 10, Corel's first version after JASC sold out to them. Jasc version 9 was the final and best version worth owning. Corel turned an awesome image processing and paint program into a piece of photo processing crap. After uninstalling version 10, I went for a few years on version 9, even though there is one minor issue on Windows 7 that was easily worked around. Finally, I decided to go with the current version in the hopes that it would be 100% compatible with W7. Big mistake. This version is very unstable. My PC is extremely reliable and never crashes or gets infected, but this is the only software that causes it to lock up. That's it for me. I will never buy another Corel product.
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on May 18, 2013
I purchased the program because of its ability to use it as a drawing program. The learning curve is difficulty as you do not have great tutorials that cover all aspects. A good program but not a great program. I seem to be really stuck in the photography side so it is very one sided.
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on April 23, 2013
I started using PaintShop Pro ten or fifteen years ago when it came on one CD (not DVD) and before Corel purchased the product. I have always found it to be intuitive and easy to use, much less arcane than Photoshop, capable of doing just about any image editing task you need, and a bargain for what you get. Thankfully, Corel seems to understand why people like this program and they have kept those good qualities, while updating it gradually with newer versions. Customer support is also good. If you don't want to go to classes to learn how to use Photoshop, and you don't want to let Lightroom take over your image library, this may be exactly what you need for image editing software.
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on May 7, 2013
With Adobe's products going to a cloud-based subscription service (which is just a DRM), I wanted to keep with the perpetual license scheme. Problem is, there are no products that come close to Photoshop or After Effects interface which is beautiful. Sad to say, Paint Shop Pro does not fit that bill to fill that gap that Adobe will leave behind for people like me, but then again, what other choices are there? Apparently plenty, but so far, they fall short.

I picked this software over the others such as the open source GIMP which is widely recommended as a Photoshop alternative because I used Paint Shop Pro before moving over to Photoshop. Granted, I was also using Paint Shop Pro 6, which was a very, very long time ago.

That is not to say this software lacks features. It does, but the interface is ultra-clunky. The Gimp is also clunky. I suppose it is just a matter of getting used to the interface. Also, at $60 or so, that is a far cry from the $600 price tag attached to Photoshop.

Bottom line? If you are on a budget, give this a try. Better yet, save your money and get GIMP.
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