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Thread: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

  1. #1
    New Member nhweid's Avatar
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    Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Somebody help me here. I now own (roughly in order of purchase)
    Photoshop 7 (old, old), Bridge CS4, Photoshop Elements 8, Lightroom
    3.4. Now I use mostly iPhoto for simple cropping, corrections and
    Graphic Converter for resizing. But I got LR to handle RAW.

    My impression is that Photoshop is for artists and designers,
    that Bridge was a database system to oganize files, Elements was
    added as a less expensive (and less fully featured) version of
    Photoshop, Lightroom was added exclusively for photographers and
    incorporated many of the features of PSE in a photographer friendly
    way.

    Now it seems like PSE 9 has the database (PS 8 does not and needed
    a front end such as Bridge) and LR 3.4 has localized modification
    (LR 2 could only make changes to an entire image).

    So my questions are:

    1. What do I (as a photographer) need? I'm not going to tell you
    that money is no object, but I'm neither am I going to shell out
    $700 for a PS CS5 that is not necessary.

    2. What does PS CS5 have that PSE 9 does not have?

    3. Is LR the complete solution (or likely to become a complete
    solution in the future) for photographers?

    4. What is Adobe up to (other than trying to suck up every dollar
    that we have)?

    Thx.

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    I don't have all of what you have but I can pretty much tell something about each of them except the PSE 9. Photoshop 7 can do what CS5 can except the newer sophisticated features (which are great, btw). Bridge CS4 features can be handled by Lightroom. I'm now test-driving Lightroom 3.3 and at first I'm a bit intimidated by it. Adobe does not work like Apple when it comes to its ability to easily familiarize yourself crossing from one platform to another. However, after 3 days I'm up and running LR 3.3 with ease. I've been a user of Photoshop since version 7 and the changes within new versions are just incremental and not by leaps and bounds. It only became sensational when they started migrating to the CS versions.

    My opinion... stick with Lightroom if you are really only after basic editing and superb color control. If you have a problematic image to work on and needs to heavily clone out some parts, export it to your Photoshop 7 and it will still work. You already know the answer to your question about Adobe sucking up every dollar that we have... marketing. Actually it's the same with cars and electronics. Don't be too hard on Adobe, they are still a good company, and just like every company does, they just want to earn a lot more money.

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    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    1. What do I (as a photographer) need?
    The short answer is... a camera. Beyond that, only you can decide, and it all depends on what images you shoot, for what purpose, and how much you're willing to invest. If you're happy with what you already have, then you don't need anything else. So ask yourself "What do I want, and what product will help reach that goal?"

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    2. What does PS CS5 have that PSE 9 does not have?
    It's a long list, but I think the basic distinction between PS CS and PSE is this: PSE is for image adjustment; CS is for image editing. Adjustment simply means the ability to "tune" things like exposure, contrast, WB, etc.... Editing includes those things, but goes much further; not simply adjustment, but alteration of the image. PSE does have some simple, very basic editing capabilities like cloning, but PS CS goes much farther and supports many 3rd party plug-ins.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    3. Is LR the complete solution (or likely to become a complete solution in the future) for photographers?
    If you want (or need) to do image editing, I'd say it's very unlikely that LR will ever fill that role. LR is basically a database for keeping track of your files plus an interface for Adobe Camera Raw. PS CS includes ACR as part of the package, but the user interface for ACR is nowhere nearly as good or as simple as LR. Again, ACR is what does image adjustments (including local adjustments), but not alterations.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    4. What is Adobe up to (other than trying to suck up every dollar that we have)?
    Overall, I'd say that Adobe does a decent job of serving the market, though it's clear that LR could easily be included as part of PS CS, and some more additions to PSE. It just isn't possible to create a different variation for every tiny niche, and the lines must be drawn somewhere. Regardless of where those lines are drawn, they will never perfectly fit the requirements of any one particular person.

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    New Member nhweid's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I don't have all of what you have but I can pretty much tell something about each of them except the PSE 9. Photoshop 7 can do what CS5 can except the newer sophisticated features (which are great, btw).
    I forgot to mention that Adobe dropped support for PS 7 on the Intel Mac with Leopard (quite some time ago actually). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it goes ...6, 7, 8=CS3, CS4, and now CS5. My only option now is to purchase CS5 (not an upgrade).

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    I forgot to mention that Adobe dropped support for PS 7 on the Intel Mac with Leopard (quite some time ago actually). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it goes ...6, 7, 8=CS3, CS4, and now CS5. My only option now is to purchase CS5 (not an upgrade).
    I think the last on the numerical version is 7, then it jumped to CS, CS2, CS3... CS5. Version 8 is actually called CS. Anyway, there are some whistles on CS5 that can really help you a lot (like the content aware feature) but any of the CS versions are very much capable to help you out on your editing work. If you are totally sold out on CS5 then that's a good decision indeed. Good luck.

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    What does CS 5 offer which is extra to earlier versions; or alternative software?

    Well, in my opinion, it all depends on what you want to do.

    For the average photographer, I would say that CS 5 is a waste of money and any extras are beyond the scope of the average user's needs or abilities.

    Let me explain a little deeper. Recently, I have given away some of my older software, mostly Serif Photo Plus of various vintages, to people who I would consider to be of above average intelligence; and theoretically much cleverer than me. In my opinion, Photo Plus is easier to use than Photoshop in all the versions.

    In each case, they have found my give away programmes to be unacceptably difficult and only really wanted something where you feed digital data (shot in full auto mode) in at one end and prints come out of the other end. Just like taking your camera card to the corner store printers.

    That I am afraid is the average user.

    However, for anyone who wants the very best from their photography and is prepared to spend a bit of time and mental agility in editing enhancements the situation is different.

    So what works better with CS 5 for the advanced, or willing to learn, user.

    Well to be honest, there are a lot of options which I would rarely use. But amongst the commoner options:

    Improved Raw Conversion, arguably you don't need any other converter like Lightroom or any of the third party converters.

    Improved Bridge which does make finding the required image a lot easier.

    Selection tools that really do work and (probably) out perform any other software. Masking or Extraction, etc, on tricky subjects is now possible; I'm not saying that it is always easy but it is possible.

    For example, a friend, who can be a bit 'cantankerous' about software, was complaining that he couldn't manage a partial image extraction with his current software; so I suggested he tried the trial version of CS 5 and he was overjoyed with the result.

    Improved sharpening and noise removal. It is claimed that extra third party software isn't necessary.

    Improved operation of Smart Objects.

    A number of new/improved filters. Although this isn't something which I have experimented with in any depth.

    Other users will have different preferences.

    To be honest, I still prefer the layout of Photo Plus X3 to any version of Photoshop but CS 5 not only has more options but produces better results and I have noticed an improvement in the sharpness and colour of my prints.

    So is that worth the not inconsiderable price? Well I suppose that decision will always be up to each individual person, therefore, I will refrain from making any personal recommendations.

    ps. Nelson, if you do think seriously about getting one of the CS programmes you may find that choosing the best option is also rather complicated with several alternatives and considerable price differences.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 26th March 2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: extra paragraph

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    I got by for years with ACDSee and it worked for me at the time. I was always aware of Photoshop but never had the system resources to support it. By the time I did have the system resources I did some research and found that PSE would meet my needs and eventually purchased version 8. I've used it for about six months and now PSE9 is available but I haven't fully utilized PSE8 so why bother upgrading until I get everything I need out of what I currently have. If what you are currently using isn't doing it for you, then try a trial version first before jumping into a new purchase.

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    New Member nhweid's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I think the last on the numerical version is 7, then it jumped to CS, CS2, CS3... CS5. Version 8 is actually called CS.
    I think I was right initially. There was no CS1 or CS2. Version 8==CS3. According to Wikipedia, my source for everything .

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    I think I was right initially. There was no CS1 or CS2. Version 8==CS3. According to Wikipedia, my source for everything .
    OK. I must have mixed up some of it. My buddy and I used to have a computer shop back then building desktop computer systems for finicky clients and most of them asks us to configure it to work with Photoshop. I think I still have some of the old CD covers with me somewhere. Perhaps this link can refresh my memory. http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets...p-timeline.jpg

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    For what it's worth, I use CS5 (including Bridge 7 ACR) for EVERYTHING.

    Think of Photoshop as being a big toolbox; nothing says you need to use every tool on every project, but - just like a fire department's rescue tender - when you're trapped in a car wreck, it's good to know that whatever tool they need, they've got it if they need it. Lesser packages mean that you may need to approach a problem a different way ... and the consequences of that are a bit of a lottery; you may get exactly the same result or you may get an inferiour result. It may take the same time or it may take longer. You get the idea, I'm sure.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that Photoshop is a VERY deep and wide program - pick it up and start using it without any training and you'll probably never tap into more than about 1% of it's potential -- in my opinion, people probably need to invest in anywhere from "a few" to "lots" of books / online training.

    All of this may seem like a lot of expense and hard work ... and guess what - IT IS! But there is also a reward that comes with that investment. It's not unheard of for people (many who already own Photoshop) to send me a problem image that they can't fix -- and often I can fix it and send it back to them in just a few minutes.

    Horses for courses. To answer your question, I'd say "buy CS5" ... but only if you're prepared to make the investment in learning to use it.

  11. #11
    New Member nhweid's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    First of all, apologies to jiro. Apparently, according to Adobe's 20th Anniversary Timeline (which he linked to), Photoshop 7 was introduced in April 2003 and code named Liquidity, followed by CS, introduced October 2004 with code name Dark Matter, followed by CS1 in April 2006, codenamed Space Monkey, followed by CS3 in April 2008, codenamed Red Pill. I promise not to use Wikipedia as a source on this Forum again!

    Second, I want to provide a reference for a blog entry by the author Scott Kelby which covers much of the same territory as this thread (albeit a bit dated):
    http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2008/archives/1308

    Third, it is clear that we have lots of Photoshop masters participating here. You have just to look at the Postprocessing Challenge #1 (won by Snarkbyte) or the "How to Remove the Reddish Glow" where Colin came up with a quick PS solution.

    For me, I've decided I need to spend some time learning the software I already own, namely Lightroom and PSE. Then I'll be more ready to take the big step into Photoshop.

    Again, thanks for all the pertinent advice.

    Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by nhweid View Post
    ...First of all, apologies to jiro. Apparently, according to Adobe's 20th Anniversary Timeline (which he linked to), Photoshop 7 was introduced in April 2003 and code named Liquidity, followed by CS, introduced October 2004 with code name Dark Matter, followed by CS1 in April 2006, codenamed Space Monkey, followed by CS3 in April 2008, codenamed Red Pill. I promise not to use Wikipedia as a source on this Forum again!
    You're fine, Nelson. We all learn something from each other here at CiC. No harm done.

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post

    Think of Photoshop as being a big toolbox; nothing says you need to use every tool on every project, but - just like a fire department's rescue tender - when you're trapped in a car wreck, it's good to know that whatever tool they need, they've got it if they need it. Lesser packages mean that you may need to approach a problem a different way ... and the consequences of that are a bit of a lottery; you may get exactly the same result or you may get an inferiour result. It may take the same time or it may take longer. You get the idea, I'm sure.
    Just to correct the wise one, we mechanics never have the tool we "need" in our tool box and are always forced to use something else and make it work. As a 15 year tradesman/steamfitter I'd like to point out there is no job I can't tackle with a multi-tool and a channel-locks...

    Sorry for the humour all, but couldn't resist a little Colin ribbing/teasing.

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    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by hoffstriker View Post
    I'd like to point out there is no job I can't tackle with a multi-tool and a channel-locks...
    I often used to just use a swiss army knife (albeit a rather good one), but it was pointed out that this looked "unprofessional" ... so after that I'd walk in with a big tool case - lay it down - open it up - and then remove my swiss army knife from one of the loops!

  15. #15

    Re: Confusing array of Adobe Products for Photographers

    Short answers:
    -PS Elements is for 98% of the people
    -CS is for people who have very special needs---semi-pro/pro level
    -Lightroom is for people, including pros (weddings), who need more than Elements but want a real good filing system
    -Capture NX2 is for Nikon users. It will give you every thing you need without the complexity of Photoshop.
    I've used all of these products and I have to say Capture NX2 is one of the most underrated pieces of software on the market.

    Suggestion: try Elements first. When you outgrow it, if you do, then move on to CS.

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