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Author Topic: Mini Review - Helicon Filter - photo editor  (Read 17749 times)
brett
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« on: September 07, 2008, 01:23:36 AM »

App NameHelicon Filter
App URLHeliconsoft
App Version Reviewed4.88
Test System Specsxphome, 2.33Ghz Duo, 2gb Ram
Supported OSesCompatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Vista x64.
Support Methodsforum, email
Upgrade PolicyNumber of options, 1year, lifetime see web site
Trial Version Available?30 day trial, reverts to free version
Pricing SchemeFree version, Pro $75(plugin&multiprocessor),  Home $60, v4xx options, 1year option
Reviewer Donation Link Donate to Brett, the Review Writer
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product REVIEWER: No relationship with Helicon other then a registered Pro user


Intro:
Helicon Filter is a complete image editing solution for the digital photographer.
Pro Version used in review, but there is only minor difference for most users.


Who is this app designed for:
Originally I thought this was a fantastic easy to use program for the average photo taker that wants to perform some improvements to their photo's.
But after using for a while you will find that there are some unique and Power user options, tools that Photoshop find difficult if not impossible are a breeze in Helicon Filter.

The Good
Fast, Fast, Fast.  If you need to improve some photos quickly, turn out some work that is presentable, this is it. Make some adjustments, save the adjustments and apply them to other images or batch process a whole folder.

Simple, even your mother could use this. (my mum could not use Photoshop)

Powerful, there are some features that are unique, but you have to poke around to find them (especially in Pro)
Easy frame tool, reduce noise by colour, side by side comparisons, noise and sharpening maps, blur/sharpen brush, eyedropper white balance, Image stacking HDR, etc.

The needs improvement section
Programmers probably take for granted what a new user does not understand, the tutorial/help section is good, but you need to read it over and over.
Some buttons and sliders are available, and you will need to dig to learn what they perform.
No layers or masks.

Why I think you should use this product
Cant afford Photoshop, PSP, etc. The free version has more then enough, and the Pro version adds a few power tools.

How does it compare to similar apps
It is hard to compare because Helicon Focus Filter uses a different approach.
I originally found Helicon Filter in a post here at DC. Since then I have become a fan of its simplistic design and layout, its ability to perform some very powerful features, and its editing workflow.
So how does it differ from other photo editors, best put by other comments elsewhere on the web.
Helicon Filter is Task based, and other editors are Tool based.
Photoshop might have 100's of tools, but does not lead you in what to use first or how.
Helicon Filter lays out a series of tasks, with tools for each task.
The advantage is that your workflow becomes fast. I have both PS elements 6 and Helicon Filter (also Lightroom2) and if time is a factor, I reach for Helicon Filter.

Quick example (reduced size 800w 100%jpg)
I was happy with the original photos composition, but the photo feels flat and washed out.

A quick run along the tabs adjusting
contrast, highlights, shadows for sand highlights
Dull and Bright colors, add some richness.
reduce a little noise
Sharpening, heaps of edge sharpening
Add a frame for presentation
Save 
(workflow time from start to finish, around 4mins)


Conclusions
I still use PS elements and Lightroom, just not very much.
This is not a full replacement for high end photo editing as it does not support layers or masks.
But if you have never used Layers or masks, then Helicon Filter will be more then you will ever need.
(The pro version has a PS plugin )
and if you need speed, its stunning.

Overall, free version is great, that great I paid for the Pro.


« Last Edit: September 09, 2008, 01:03:40 AM by brett » Logged
Grorgy
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2008, 02:09:12 AM »

Looks good Brett, nice review
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tomos
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2008, 04:05:04 AM »

thanks Brett thumbs up must try out the free version

notice it corrects:
... chromatic aberration
....
Distortions:

    * Vignetting correction
    * Barrel/pincushion correction
    * Perspective correction
    * Rotation, squeezing, stretching
    * Skewing, bending
they dont seem to have any good comparision page to see differences of different versions
do you know offhand Brett what limitations the free version has (after the 30 day trial is over) ? (esp. if it can correct all those distortions ? that would be nice Kiss)
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Tom
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2008, 04:42:16 AM »

Hi Tomos

found a table so here is Free Vs Home Vs Pro

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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2008, 09:34:55 AM »

Thank you for the mini-review -- very nice  Thmbsup
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Lutz_
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 09:51:01 AM »

Hello Brett;
good to see a review of this great program!!!  I very much agree with your observations.
(I actually was thinking of writing a review myself.....).
At one point in your review it seems to erroneously mention the "other" program, Helicon "Focus" instead of Filter.

Personally, I do not believe the free version has too much value (too restricted) - the home and Pro versions on the other hand are pretty ingenious.
The Pro version can also be called as a plug-in from other programs like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, PhotoLine, etc.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 07:47:05 PM by Lutz_ » Logged
Dormouse
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2008, 11:27:39 AM »

I've never thought of Helicon Filter as a photo editor or an alternative to Photoshop.
The lack of layers kills that stone dead anyway.

I see it as a relatively simple/straightforward production tool from in-camera image (raw or jpeg) to final photo with an emphasis on correcting camera/lens problems and distortions. Certainly fast. Some retouching tools, but not really an editor. Agree pretty much with Brett. Certainly enough for many people and better than any version of Photoshop for those who just want to tweak their photos and publish/print.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2008, 11:38:50 AM by Dormouse » Logged
pictoriser
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2009, 02:25:00 PM »

Mmm... Nice app! Cool
Free version, Pro $75(plugin&multiprocessor),  Home $60, v4xx option
BTW. I found in Google distributor who offers it with a bit chipper price  Wink
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Lutz_
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2009, 06:10:29 PM »

It would be quite surprising, if this would be legit ???
The lifetime licenses directly from the source are very affordable anyhow.

Mmm... Nice app! Cool
Free version, Pro $75(plugin&multiprocessor),  Home $60, v4xx option
BTW. I found in Google distributor who offers it with a bit chipper price  Wink
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cianoc
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2009, 03:28:34 AM »

How does it compare to Photo.NET?
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cianoc
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2009, 03:28:47 AM »

Ah, Paint.NET even...
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tomos
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2009, 03:44:16 AM »

How does it compare to Photo.NET?

have a look at the "how does it compare.." part of the review above  Grin
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Tom
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2009, 02:30:09 PM »

It would be quite surprising, if this would be legit ???
The lifetime licenses directly from the source are very affordable anyhow.
It appears to be legit. I bought license directly from source, but when I searched for HF site again, I found distributor's site with 20% off.
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pictoriser
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2009, 02:33:00 PM »

Oh! I finally found it in browser's history!
http://d-studio.com.ua/pr...helicon_filter/index.html
Now you can appreciate it by yourself smiley
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cmpm
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2010, 11:08:29 AM »

Update-

Helicon Filter 4.93.2 is completely FREE now!

http://www.heliconsoft.com/index.html

Also Helicon Focus has a freeware version and comes with a free viewer application for it.

http://www.heliconsoft.com/downloads.html
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Lutz_
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2010, 11:34:43 PM »

Thanks. Great news that Helicon Filter 5 is on the way.   Thmbsup
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