Though Photoshop rules the roost when it comes to image-editing software, not everyone needs many of the more advanced functions Photoshop has to offer. Many casual digital camera users probably don't want to spend the money on higher-end software, either.
That's where Pixelmator comes in. With Pixelmator ($59) you get most of the tools, color-correction features, effects, and layer management options you would find in a program like Photoshop, but without the steep price tag. The recently released version 1.3 adds several more useful features and fixes bugs from previous versions.
Familiar image-editing tools like the selector, magic wand, pencil, eraser, and paint bucket tools are all included. But you also get retouching tools for blurring hard edges and sharpening tools to improve blurry areas and enhance images to your liking. With the layer manager you can experiment with changes before making them permanent, complete with opacity sliders making it easy to compare between layers. If you really want to get down and dirty, you play with over 130 filters and effects, many of which give you similar results to Photoshop. When you're finished, you can save your work in several different formats making it possible to continue working in other programs or upload your work directly to the Web.
Certainly Pixelmator will not make you want to throw out Photoshop. But if you're not a pro photographer and just need some better than average image-editing tools, this app offers all the right features at an affordable price.