I tried a program called Photo Mix. The trial version has some items locked - like saving as a jpg, but you can save it in it's native format so if you purchase it later you can convert them.
It's not a bad program. There's a nice filter for black and white images, I like the layers dialog box, I LOVE BEING ABLE TO LOCK LAYERS, and I love how the program works quite well on my slow machine. Gimp and Scrapbook Factory are my primary programs and both snail along on my laptop. Also, I really like the feature of loading your items in the photo dialog box and later double-clicking to add the photo or element to your page. It's got a great photo arrangement tool box - though I haven't played too much with it yet.
There isn't a free rotate tool that I could find. Big bummer there. I couldn't take a string of alphas and align them together (like in Scrapbook Factory you can align all left, bottom, center, etc to either each other or to the page).
I can see there's some advantages of this program in non-scrapbooking projects too, so it would be nice to have around.
Overall, I'm keeping Photo Mix for creating quick pages, since it's a speedy program that loads fast and handles fast. It's not a bad price for what it has to offer, about $30 (US). I do plan on purchasing it mainly for the use with quick pages and to replace MS Paint for my quick edits.
I would like it if some of you could give me your input here and I'll forward this post on to Photo Mix later in the week. And let me know if you are an owner of a full-unlocked version.
To try it out yourself, click here.