capsule review

PhotoZoom Pro

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder PhotoZoom Pro

PhotoZoom Pro 2 is a professional-level tool that lets you take create high-quality enlargements from digital images.

The stand-alone program works with TIFF, JPEG, PNG, TGA, BMP, and TIF files and offers a wide range of color models (RGB, CMYK, Grayscale), channel types (8-bit, 16-bit, alpha), and profiles (ICC, EXIF, IPTC). The download includes a plug-in that's compatible with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Corel Paint Shop; this plug-in works with a wider range of file formats, including PSD, EPS, and RAW.

To test the program I enlarged a 2.5-by-1.65-inch image using BenVista's proprietary S-Spline XL resize method, which is the default. Doubling the size yielded excellent results, crisp and clear. Tripling the size resulted in some pixelation and fuzziness. Quadrupling the size yielded general fuzziness and some digital noise. However, you aren't limited to using the default parameters. In addition to choosing the resize method, you can select from a list of preset adjustments that includes "Reduce noise/artifacts." Selecting this option removed the digital noise completely and yielded much better results, but the enlargement still looked soft, almost fuzzy. I fine-tuned the image by clicking a double-arrow button next to the presets menu and tweaking a range of settings, including Sharpness, Artificial detail, and more. Ultimately, I ended up with a very good quality 10-by-6.6-inch enlargement from a tiny original.

The Photoshop Elements plug-in is accessible via the File, Export menu and uses the same intuitive interface.

It's worth noting that the program offers ten resize methods in addition to its S-Spline XL, including Bicubic, B-Spline, and Nearest Neighbor. However, in my informal tests the default S-Spline XL produced the best results. I also compared enlargements made with PhotoZoom Pro 2 to enlargements made in Photoshop Element 6, using its resizing feature. None of Photoshop Element's resized images were acceptable.

PhotoZoom Pro 2 is a professional imaging tool, and as such carries a professional price of $189. The trial version is free to use indefinitely, but saved or printed images are covered with watermarks.

This powerful program would be a useful tool for anyone working in graphic design, digital imaging, desktop publishing, and similar fields.

--Kim Saccio-Kent

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder PhotoZoom Pro

  
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