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Thread: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

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    On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Hi I'm new here and very much a novice when it comes to digital photography. I grew up with a 35mm in my hands but haven't done much shooting in a long time. I just recently purchased a canon D500 and am looking forward to honing my skills.

    I don't have the budget to allow me to spend thousands of dollars on my rediscovered hobby which means that I won't be buying a lot of image editing software. In other words no Photoshop. I do have a basic knowledge of Gimp and was wondering what the prevailing opinion (If any) of this freeware is on this forum.

    Also any suggestions for other free or budget software would be appreciated.

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    Re: Software question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boutte View Post
    I don't have the budget to allow me to spend thousands of dollars on my rediscovered hobby which means that I won't be buying a lot of image editing software. In other words no Photoshop. I do have a basic knowledge of Gimp and was wondering what the prevailing opinion (If any) of this freeware is on this forum.
    We have a few GIMP users here, but I haven't used it personally - so can't comment. If Photoshop isn't an option then Photoshop Elements ("PSE") might be an option for you?

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    I agree with Colin.
    Photoshop Elements is worth every single penny.
    Latest versions are very sophisticated.
    My daughter just bought a laptop and PSE was installed on it.
    Lot of times this software is delivered with other digital photography stuff.
    You might get a original CD with license very cheap on ebay or other marketplaces on the internet.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    IF you know how to DL music and movies off the internet then you can doa search for programs aswell...not saying you should do this,,,just saying its apossibility,,,

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Basic Elements programmes are frequently given away with cameras, photo magazines and other equipment. Once started with a particular programme it is easy to get upgrades as your pocket allows. And Adobe Photoshop is without doubt the most popular programme worldwide.

    However, it can work out expensive if you 'go all the way', and I would prefer to spend that money on improved lenses.

    Personally, as I have said many times, I never really got on well with Photoshop Elements and found Serif Photo Plus more to my liking (currently using version X3) although the earlier versions which are often given away as freebies are very basic compared with the latest models which cost around £50. But only work with Windows.

    As Colin said, Gimp is favoured by some users and you can't beat it on price. It appears to be more popular in the US than the UK, although there may well be more photographers in the US to start with!

    Most people tend to recommend whatever programme they are currently using so I would suggest having a look at a few photography magazines that do independant reviews (if there is such a thing) and see how the average price to results stacks up before making a decision.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Thank you all for your input. I'll research all of the suggestions. For those of you haven't looked at Gimp I'd definitely suggest giving it a whirl. It's free and does a lot of the things that PS does. I've owned PS in the past and Gimp does a lot of the same functions. It does tend to crash from time to time.

    Again thanks, and I'm off to look at PSE.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    I learn gimp to help my students that don't have ps and I'm very satisfied. Is a very capable tool, better than elements, you can do very fine photo manipulation on then. If you are not using the full PS, gimp is the best tool. PS have advanced tools thats needs expertise to use, if you are nor aware of then, gimp is best for you.
    Best,
    Alex

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Alex makes a good point in that pshop (full versions) has some very niche tools which make it complicated for new users or those with simple needs even if you are familiar with them if you never use them they are wasted. I own gimp but tend to use cs3 or cs4 for photo editing as they are there (use them for work but not photography related). If I didn't need photoshop for anything else I'd use gimp for photo editing as I doubt there is much many people need on average as hobbyist to do that it wont.

    Only time full blown photoshop is worth it is if you really need a feature nothing else does or if it's a workflow consideration or suite integration issue for instance. If you find you do need full version of photoshop then there is always previous versions to consider since they tend to be cheaper. Also adobe education licensing pricing is good, very good in fact as they could milk it more and other companies are not so great on edu and charity licensing (hmmm popular OS creator I'm looking at you ).

    Another thing to consider is other adobe software not related to photography, if you did need other software for instance you might get full photoshop version bundles with it. Eg. If you need illustrator and Indesign then standard design ed comes with those and pshop too and it's much cheaper than buying them stand alone (and still eligible for edu discount). The only time you really need to pay full price is for the high level feature versions of cs4 like the ones with vid editing and 3d features but if you need those work is likely to buy it for you as that kind of stuff tends not to be a hobby and more of a chore and not something you'd willingly pay out of your own pocket to do hehehe.

    edit: I have gimp btw as came with my OS and another strength of it that it shares with pshop is the community support and resources are great, as are plugin availability. Being open source and increasing in popularity it's likely to get bugs ironed out quick and and features get added all the time. This is something the cheaper proprietary packages (corel draw etc) don't tend to have so unless you are familiar with them I'd personally steer clear of those.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    After looking at Elements it looks like Gimp is pretty comparable. While there are some tools in Elements that look interesting I think I'll hold off on buying anything for a while. Especially since I just spent a wad of cash on my 500d, which I just got delivered today.
    WHOOHOO!

    Thanks again for your help.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    How much did u pay for it?

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boutte View Post
    After looking at Elements it looks like Gimp is pretty comparable. While there are some tools in Elements that look interesting I think I'll hold off on buying anything for a while. Especially since I just spent a wad of cash on my 500d, which I just got delivered today.
    WHOOHOO!

    Thanks again for your help.
    Congrats on the new arrival

    I guess that there will always be "great debates" over Photoshop (and it's "derivatives"). In my opinion, any post-processing software is just another part of the overall system (the camera being another major part) - and if people want a "solution" without the bottlenecks then they need to invest in their systems in a balanced way (I put over NZD $10,000 into my PP system). In terms of software - for me - that meant Photoshop. Is it superior to what else is out there? Probably yes. Will I ever tap it's full potential? Not a hope in Hades. But probably the most important thing was the availability of books + DVDs + seminars + web resources to help with ANY aspect that I needed help with.

    Like it or not, it's Photoshop that has the momentum - and you'll probably find that 99 times out of 100, that's the "language" people will be talking when it comes to offering assistance with your images. "Language" is probably a good metaphore - just as this is primarily an English language site; I'm sure if some choose to converse in - say - French, we'd love to help, but most of us wouldn't be able to understand them, and they wouldn't be able to understand us. Possibly a lot like that with other packages out there - thus I fear that there are a lot of people wh make major investments in camera equipment but never get anywhere close to it (or their) true potential because they suffer major limitations in other areas.

    Just my thoughts anyway

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    I didn't see Bibble mentioned anywhere in this discussion. So just thought I'd muddy the waters a little more by mentioning that.

    I was seeking a low-cost alternative to Photoshop though that seems to be the "industry standard". In my experience with using Bibble, I can vouch that it does a lot that Photoshop does and dare I say, even better! The developers have v5.0 "preview" out there and I just LOVE it! When I purchased version 4.xx I paid $129.00 on Amazon, but since they shipped me what looked like a "used" version (box damaged and some pages in the user manual torn) I got a nice $40.00 refund.

    With the release of the "preview" versions of Bibble, I think the pricing structure is going to change. So I'm not sure how much they will be charging for a full blown (the Pro) version.

    I do have to agree with what Colin said about the supplemental resources that are available with Photoshop. You don't find a lot of supplemental resources with Bibble, so if you are one of the people that likes to peruse third party resources in addition to the "Help" menu, Bibble might be a challenge, though their accompanying user manual was sufficient for me.

    Just my $0.02 ...

    Cheers!
    Sai

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    I thought bibble was more like lightroom rather than photoshop? I could be completely wrong though as never used it. On that note though things like bibble and LR might be more suited to your purposes if it's just for photo orientated stuff and regular tweaks rather than a full editing suite. If I'm wrong on that as half guessing I'd appreciate being corrected as it's helpful to know (even if I will never use it) for recommending to others.

    I think the thing with those is they are aimed at batch and speed processing from what I can see hence are slimmed down in what they do so are fast and simple and more batch management compared to the more complex editing suites which are more aimed at heavier editing working on single images at a time.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Hi Davey,

    Bibble v5.0 is capable of doing some sophisticated stuff (including layers, dodging and burning etc.). You should try out their trial version if you are interested. Its a big jump from the earlier version (4.10) and the looks are more along the lines of LR, but in my experience it has performed a lot better than LR. As its a preview version, some of their releases are not quite stable yet as they work to fix the bugs, so that's sometimes a pain, but in the long run I'm positive that this will improve my workflow.

    I just hope that they get out of the beta stage quickly and not do something like Google did keeping Gmail in beta for 2.0 years almost before getting rid of their "Beta" in the logo on the Gmail login page

    Cheers!
    Sai

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Another consideration is the 8-bit vs 16-bit processing issue.
    If you're shooting RAW then you're going to lose some of the benefit if you process the files with an 8-bit program. Having started with the early version of GIMP then Photoshop Elements, I discovered that doing 8-bit processing of RAW files has its limitations.
    At one point I used RawTherapee which I think is an excellent 16-bit program that competes with Lightroom and Adobe ACR. However it does not support layers (at least, it didn't).

    I haven't kept up with the latest "open source" photo editing software since I've started using CS3 but there could be some good stuff out there. I do emphasize however that if you're trying to get the most out of your camera, shoot RAW and process with 16-bit capable software.

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    Re: On a tight budget - which image editing software?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerb View Post
    Another consideration is the 8-bit vs 16-bit processing issue.
    Although ...

    ... it's not so much of a big deal if your - basically - aiming for photorealistic results and you do most of the large corrections in a RAW converter that handles 16 bit (which I guess it would have to do by definition, as RAW files are over 8 bits).

    Once you get through that phase (with major adjustments complete) then dropping down to 8 bit isn't usually a problem (although having said that, I usually stick to a complete 16 bit workflow - debates aside - simply "because I can").

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