I have been using Affinity Photo for about six months now, and I find that I go to Photoshop less and less often. I have read complaints that it is missing this or that feature, or that it crashes on occasion, and of course this is true. For that matter, Photoshop crashes on occasion too, and it could be argued that it has too many features! Affinity Photo (AP) is a new product, and as such still have some growing pains, but it also has some distinct advantages. For example, all the filters work in 16-bit per channel. Admittedly I have Photoshop CS 5, so this may be different on Photoshop CC, but I always hated to convert an image to 8-bits per channel just so I could use a particular filter. Photoshop had years to get all the features that it currently has, but it also carries with it a lot of historical baggage that isn’t all good.
I read one review where the reviewer was upset that AP wasn’t a replacement for Lightroom. It doesn’t claim to be a cataloging program, but Lightroom and AP can be made to work together reasonably well. In fact, I find that for most purposes, Lightroom works better with AP that it does with Photoshop CS 5. You just have to learn how to make it work and I have no doubt that the AP programmers will be improving this over time.
I have read complaints about it’s cropping and it’s resizing, but I have used those features with out any of the problems described. Perhaps it is the learning curve. It does have a different User Interface than Photoshop, so that means you have to figure things out. I never heard anyone say that Photoshop is “intuitive” or “User Friendly”, with the occasional exception of the Photoshop junkie who has forgotten how hard it was to learn. If you are an old hand at Photoshop, then you will need to pay attention to a new ways of doing things. If they just cloned Photoshop’s UI, Adobe would be suing them shortly. If you are new to photo editing then there is a lot to learn, but that’s a good thing. Simple programs do simple things. Take some time, visit the Affinity Photo Forums and their Tutorial video library. The tech support on their forums is helpful and responsive.
The bottom line is that Photoshop is a much more mature program that costs a heck of a lot more ($120 a year in a photography subscription with Lightroom) vs. $50 for a complete license of AP. Certainly AP is not completely equal to Photoshop yet, but the comparison is a serious one, and Adobe should be worried, as there will be an AP version coming for Windows soon. At the price, it’s worth a look for any serious photographer.