PhotoForge by GhostBird Software just got a new update and for a limited time, the price has been reduced to $1.99. After this weekend, the price goes up to $4.99 USD.

Several apps have tried to wear the namesake of “Photoshop for the iPhone” including Photogene and PerfectPhoto. PhotoForge truly is the image editing powerhouse for iPhone. I use both this and Photogene regularly to process my images. If you’re only using Photogene, you are missing out on so much that your iPhone is capable of.

When I’m asked which iPhone image editor I recommend, my first answer is Photogene. It’s got a powerful enough feature set, and it’s fast and fairly easy to learn. However, when I’m asked if I could only choose one image editor, I’d choose PhotoForge. It has a far more robust tool set than any other image editor on the app store allowing me much greater control over the adjustments I make.

In addition to the set of image editing tools found in Photogene and others, PhotoForge also allows you to edit curves in RGB, CMYK and CIE Lab color spaces. One extremely nice feature is the ability to edit your RGB color space images using CMYK sliders — something even Photoshop doesn’t do. If you’ve worked in Photoshop, you’ll recognize how powerful curve editing can be. Other tools include noise reduction, both sharpen and unsharp mask, vibrance, and simulated HDR. You can even perform clone tool operations — cool! PhotoForge has the most comprehensive set of editing tools available for iPhone.

PhotoForge also features a nice set of effects, including Dreamy (a soft focus), a lomography simulator, Sin City which produces an effect similar to Color Splash, a television noise generator,  blue sky and sunset enhancers which are surprisingly effective and handy, and a good sepia filter. There is a set of paint tools, but my big fingers are too clunky to create any real work that doesn’t look like graffiti with this feature set.

PhotoForge works with a 3GS and will process and save images at resolutions up to 2048 x 1536.

All this power comes at a price. PhotoForge is slower than Photogene when performing many operations. For most basic color operations, I’ll use Photogene simply to get in and out of the app quickly. Both have a good auto-enhance which produce different results on an image — I’ll often try both and see which one I like best. I’ve found the saturation adjustment of PhotoForge sometimes produces artifacts that Photogene and PerfectPhoto do not — yet another reason why I keep more than one image editor on my iPhone.

Currently, PhotoForge is on sale for $1.99 USD. It’s on sale for 60% off for a limited time, which means that after this sale the app will be priced at $4.99. It’s a great app at five bucks. For $1.99, PhotoForge is an essential purchase.

App Store link: PhotoForge