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Affinity Photo 1.7 is here, with more speed, more power, more features

Affinity Photo 1.7

The Affinity Photo 1.7 update concentrates on speed, power and some new editing features to tempt photographers away from Photoshop. It’s a lot cheaper than Photoshop, with a single low-cost one-off payment rather than a subscription, yet it’s designed for the same high-end professional/expert photography and illustration market and matches or beats Photoshop in many key areas.

Already one of the best photo-editing programs on the market, Affinity Photo 1.7 is clearly going all-out for speed and performance, but with improvements in raw processing too.

Affinity Photo 1.7

It's Affinity Photo 1.7 for Mac that gets the biggest speed boost (up to 10x) with this release, but Affinity promises hardware acceleration for Windows users is coming in a future update.

Faster, faster

It’s the Mac version of Affinity Photo 1.7 that gets the biggest speed increase, with GPU computer acceleration, a new memory management system and end-to-end Metal computer acceleration via the Mac’s GPU system.

Affinity says raster (bitmap) layer and brush operations are now up to 10x faster, and Affinity Photo 1.7 now supports multiple GPUs, both internal and externally connected.

The Windows version doesn’t get hardware acceleration yet as Affinity is still working on this and will roll it out in a future version, but a rewritten memory management system will still give a claimed 3x or 4x speed increase for many tasks on Windows computer.

Affinity has also upgraded the support for Dial and Pen devices for Microsoft Surface devices

Even the iPad version gets an update. Affinity Photo for iPad, amazingly, offers pretty well all the tools of the desktop version, and version 1.7 has performance optimisations and a new ‘refreshed’ and more compact user interface so that there’s more room for your images. Affinity is aiming for the ‘ultimate experience’ on the new 7.9-inch iPad mini with its support for the Apple Pencil.

Affinity Photo 1.7

All the time Adobe's been promising a full-featured iPad image editor, Affinity just went ahead and did it. Affinity Photo 1.7 for iPad now has a redesigned user interface to make the best use of small screens.

HDR monitors, better raw processing and more

Affinity Photo 1.7 now supports the latest HDR monitors, like the new Apple Pro Display XDR, which Affinity says is important for raw editing and developing – it should allow users to see new levels of detail in extremely dark areas, for example.

Raw developing is a key area for serious photographers and pros, and Affinity has made a number of improvements here. It’s claiming faster loading of files, a new demosaicing algorithm, more effective noise reduction, hot pixel removal and ‘wide colour space development’.

Affinity Photo 1.7

Like Photoshop, Affinity Photo is a professional tool aimed not just at photographers but designers too, and many of the new features in Affinity Photo 1.7 are aimed at this market.

Other improvements in Affinity Photo 1.7 include improved batch processing, a completely overhauled Layers panel and (for designers and illustrators) a new Assets panel for commonly used elements and a rewritten brush engine with new multi-brushes, a symmetry mode (up to 32-way) and on-the-fly nozzle rotation.

Affinity Photo 1.7 is available now from the Affinity website at an introductory price of £38.99/$39.99 (usually £48.99/$49.99) for the Mac and Windows versions, and £15.99 (usually £19.99) for the iPad version.

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Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 

Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.