DigitalCameraReview.com
CameraBag 2 Photo Software for Mac and Windows Released for Under $25
by Jacqueline Emigh -  2/3/2012

For those seeking a less expensive and easier-to-use alternative to Adobe Photoshop, Nevercenter this week released CameraBag 2, an innovative photo touch-up software application for Macs and Windows PCs which is currently priced at $25 or less.

Like its archrival Nik Software, makers of Snapseed, Nevercenter is very well known for its special effects software apps for smartphones and tablets. Along with Nik and MacPhun, another player in this increasing populous space, Nevercenter also produces fuller-bodied photo applications which take advantage of the greater processing power and display space available on notebook and desktop computers.

When initially released as an iPhone app, the mobile edition of CameraBag rose as high as number 2 among paid apps in Apple's App Store. Nevercenter soon followed with its first edition for Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows, CameraBag Desktop.

The new CameraBag 2, though, has been completely revamped in efforts to keep features highly accessible while also giving users greater control, according to Nevercenter President Tom Plewe. The second release of the Mac/Windows application is geared to both laptop and desktop use.

Full-screen Quicklooks and instant previews

A new UI in CameraBag 2 offers a tile-based interface, for quick access to tools, along with a new full-screen Quicklooks and instant previews, to let users view multiple shots and choose the best possible ones before moving on to apply special effects filters and image editing tools.

After making side-by-side comparisons in Quicklooks and viewing photos more closely in instant previews, you can then select filters, working with sliders such as Remix to layer, rearrange, and tweak special effects and to make image adjustments.

CameraBag 2 comes with 100 fully adjustable filters and more than 25 professional controls. Onboard editing tools let you play around with and apply adjustments such as cropping, exposure, color correction, and advanced vignetting. Through built-in styles, you can control the strength and variation of these adjustments.

Styles: 1958, 1983, Hipster, Helga, etc.

In a quick hands-on this week, we experimented with built-in styles that include, for example, 1958, 1966, 1974, 1983, Hipster, Italiano, and Helga, a holdover from the mobile side touted as supplying a "toy camera feel with washed-out highlights and old-school vignetting."

Another intriguing style, Colorcross, "brings chemical color-swapping straight out of the darkroom."

Each adjustment appears as a tile in the tray, and tiles can be edited and rearranged. When you create new looks by layering adjustments and styles, you can save the changes directly to the tile-based UI as new filters.

CameraBag 2 also comes with a new high fidelity, 32-bits-per-channel multi-threaded image processing engine known as the Analog Engine, in honor of the analog photography of days gone by.

Meanwhile, Corel has also been challenging Adobe on the basis of pricing and ease-of-use, with PC and/or multiplatform software applications such as the recently released PaintShop Pro X4 and AfterShot Pro.

On the mobile apps side, Nevercenter now offers separate apps for iPhone and iPad. Beyond that, CameraBag has also been released for about eight different Nokia phone models.

Nevercenter is offering a Mac-only version of CameraBag 2 in Apple's App Store for $29, and a cross-platform (single-license) version for both Mac and PC on its own Web site. Each version is currently available at a $5 discount at special "launch sale pricing." Thirty-day free trials are also available.