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Thread: High Dollar Edit Software?

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    Default High Dollar Edit Software?

    Am I missing something? I don't understand why people spend so much money on edit software. There's talk here all the time about folks using $600 & $700.00 editing software and I just don't understand that. I post images regularly here and to me they usually look technically as good as anyone elses. They print out very nice also. Are my eyes that bad and everyone's just being nice or what.

    I spent $79.00 three years ago for Helicon Filter & life time updates and have PSPX and that's all I use. The Helicon only about 90% of the time. I sometimes brighten, Clone, selectively sharpen/blur or denoise an image. If I can't make it look right with that I throw it away and try to learn from the mistakes I made taking it and do it correctly the next time. I'd like to hear what folks do with a software that cost so much.
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    I use the GIMP, Cinepaint, UFRaw, and others for FREE! I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, and in fact, I prefer it. I've used Most CS versions of Photoshop and I just don't see whats so great. I also find that the menus in the GIMP are arranged more logically, but that's a personal preference.
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Well, you're right. Most folks have no practical need for the most expensive and competent software packages. I suspect that the best way to go about selecting PP software is to become familiar with the software that comes with whatever cameras you buy and decide what additional capabilities, based on experience, that you need and then select the best priced software that will provide those capabilities. I used to be on the Adobe PS treadmill (PS CS was the last version I upgraded to) and finally got tired of the high acquisition costs and annual updates. I have since moved to much less costly software that still allows me to do whatever PP I'm inclined to do.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonR View Post
    Am I missing something? I don't understand why people spend so much money on edit software. There's talk here all the time about folks using $600 & $700.00 editing software and I just don't understand that. I post images regularly here and to me they usually look technically as good as anyone elses. They print out very nice also. Are my eyes that bad and everyone's just being nice or what.

    I spent $79.00 three years ago for Helicon Filter & life time updates and have PSPX and that's all I use. The Helicon only about 90% of the time. I sometimes brighten, Clone, selectively sharpen/blur or denoise an image. If I can't make it look right with that I throw it away and try to learn from the mistakes I made taking it and do it correctly the next time. I'd like to hear what folks do with a software that cost so much.
    I assume you are talking about Adobe's photoshop? The amount you spend on that package quickly becomes miniscule when you start to put reasonable figures on the value of your time. There is just such a huge amount of information available, from seminars to books that almost exclusively use photoshop examples that you can save tons of time compared to figuring things out on your own with a different piece of software.

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Well, in all fairness, you really should mention that PS has no useful help files or tutorials that come with it, it has a steep learning curve, and you just about have to get books, tutorial and or seminars to learn how to use it efficiently. The other thing you didn't mention is that there is other alternative software available that is just as competent as PS, less expensive, has a shallow learning curve, and comes with extremely good documentation so you don't have to go through all the books, tutorial and seminars to understand it.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Just installed Photoshop CS4 recently. Comes with an extensive set of tutorials on a DVD. I went through a couple of them, not bad. :-)

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by E B View Post
    Well, in all fairness, you really should mention that PS has no useful help files or tutorials that come with it, it has a steep learning curve, and you just about have to get books, tutorial and or seminars to learn how to use it efficiently. The other thing you didn't mention is that there is other alternative software available that is just as competent as PS, less expensive, has a shallow learning curve, and comes with extremely good documentation so you don't have to go through all the books, tutorial and seminars to understand it.
    I wasn't really talking so much about books and tutorials to learn photoshop, but about books and workshop that talk about photography in general and use photoshop as the tool to explain how to get stuff done. "The creative digital darkroom by Eismann/Duggan" is on my desk. Talks about everything from file preparation, file organization, editing to printing. All examples are based on the assumption that the user has photoshop. It is hard to find good books that are software neutral these days (at least that is how it appears when I'm browsing my local bookstore).

    Ottmar
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Ahh? That's a significant improvement since I was using PS. Back then you just about had to buy books or workshops.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by E B View Post
    Well, in all fairness, you really should mention that PS has no useful help files or tutorials that come with it, it has a steep learning curve, and you just about have to get books, tutorial and or seminars to learn how to use it efficiently. The other thing you didn't mention is that there is other alternative software available that is just as competent as PS, less expensive, has a shallow learning curve, and comes with extremely good documentation so you don't have to go through all the books, tutorial and seminars to understand it.
    You never did have to learn all of Photoshop in one go before you could use it, so its just as simple as Olympus Master and Elements if thats all you have previously used. The other thing is if you ask a question about Photoshop on the internet there are about a gazillion tutorials and videos to show you the bit you need to know.

    As for there being cheaper alternatives I'll give it to you that many other programmes are cheaper, but they are not an alternative. I can appreciate that if you just used to take your film into the corner shop and get the prints back, then Olympus Master etc are the nearest equivalent. But I used a wet darkroom, and many of the functions you find in CS4 are a direct equivalent to that, masks, dodging and burning, filters, more control over local contrast etc.

    But CS4 is like any other large package of features, most you don't use but its worth it for those you do use, and if anybody wants to get beyond the corner shop 'Happy Snapper' its worth thinking about what the traditional techniques can do. Its just a shame people who have never understood a wet darkroom tend to imagine CS4 is all about complicated 'artistic filters' or photo-montage effects, and to the shame of so called tutors in the subject this is often how it is promoted. In reality it just replaces all of the things Ansel Adams used to do.

    Steve

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    EB

    What software are you using these days

    Phil



    Quote Originally Posted by E B View Post
    Ahh? That's a significant improvement since I was using PS. Back then you just about had to buy books or workshops.

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Personally I started using Photoshop because it allowed me to do things quicker and easier and with more control than other programs, I do feel it is over priced, but having said that I am willing to pay for it. I have used PSP regularly and have a copy of X2 and have also used the later versions of Elements. I found that around 10% of my photographs needed something extra post RAW conversion and for these Photoshop gave me what I needed. I found that for the 10% that did need some work post RAW conversion, Elements was two restricting and PSP never seemed to quite get me there. That said I was happy to use eiter Elements or PSP for years until I could afford to purchase Photoshop, at which point a speculative month with the trial convinced me of its worth.

    My take on any editing software is buy what suits your needs, if PSP, Elements, GIMP etc works for you then save your money and use them. As for being hard to learn I can achieve in 10-15 minutes what it used to take me hours to get right in PSP, so I have moved from being a non-believer to one of the converted.

    Having Photoshop will not automatically make you produce better images than someone without, as a good picture is 95% down to the photographer and not their tools, but for me Photoshop gave me more time and made my life much easier when it came to editing that 10% of images that needed something extra.


    Neil

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Well, in the context of the original poster's comment, I would say that I use Picture Window Pro version 5 for my heavy duty editing/post processing. It has about the same functionality as PS though the procedures are completely differently in that it doesn't use layers. Very shallow learning curve. Superb documentation. The electronic manual is actually readable as a book. Many interactive examples of how to do things. First download the software then download the electronic manual and white papers (standalone documents explaining the theory and practice of specific subjects such as histograms, dodging and burning, masks, multizone adjustments, image stacking, etc.) Place the electronic manual and white papers into the Docs folder created when you installed the software and you're ready to go. Has the usual 30 day free trial and the software is inexpensive. Frequently updated to keep up with new cameras and formats and routine updates are free, no routine annual update costs. Supported by a forum and the software author is readily available by email. I spent about two hours yesterday conversing with him.

    In the larger sense of your question, my primary RAW development software is now DxO because I think it gives me the best detail from an ORF image without other compromises. If the image I'm working with was created with a body/lens combination not supported by DxO, I RAW develop with Studio. I started posting some DxO vs Studio comparisons here but never finished the project as not too many folks thought it was useful. If the image needs major editing/PP after RAW development I then transfer it to PWP as I noted above. PWP does, of course, have its own RAW development capability and could be used as a one and only RAW developer and editing/PP package.
    Last edited by E B; 02-28-2010 at 08:22 AM.
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    As for there being cheaper alternatives I'll give it to you that many other programmes are cheaper, but they are not an alternative. I can appreciate that if you just used to take your film into the corner shop and get the prints back, then Olympus Master etc are the nearest equivalent. But I used a wet darkroom, and many of the functions you find in CS4 are a direct equivalent to that, masks, dodging and burning, filters, more control over local contrast etc.
    Steve
    I really disagree that you can't find essentially the same functionality in other, less expensive and easier to use software. But then it really doesn't make any difference as long as you're happy using whatever it is you're using. I'm really not trying to convince anybody to change software packages....
    Good shooting,
    English Bob

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonR View Post
    Am I missing something? I don't understand why people spend so much money on edit software. There's talk here all the time about folks using $600 & $700.00 editing software...
    Let me suggest another way of looking at this, Don.

    People here seem to think nothing at all about suggesting a High Grade or Super High Grade lens when someone asks what lens to buy to get a better photograph. That's on average a $500-1000 expenditure in equipment. With that expenditure, you have the potential to make better photographs but only when you are using it, and only if in the situation for which you are using it, it is actually a better performer (and by a significant margin!) over the kit lens that you already have.

    ALL of my work going through my image management and image processing software. Every single bit of it. So the same $300-800 investment in top notch software, with top notch support both from the company that vends it and from the huge ecosystem of add-ons, training, books, and information, affects my ability to produce better results for every single photograph I make. That investment in the best software, in other words, can raise the bar for all of my photographs and is far more likely to do so than buying a more expensive lens: the net gain is greater.

    Now, if you're one of those people who doesn't use or need the capabilities of the higher end software, or the support that it lends, there's no need to spend the money on it.

    I do the same thing for layout and design work. Most of the folks I know buy high end page layout or web design software, but my needs are generally much simpler than the high buck software is really necessary for. I use a free source code editor and an $80 productivity package for my design and layout work ... they do what I need for both my personal and my paid work in this domain. I've not yet had a client dislike the work I did for them on the basis of what tools i chose to do it with.

    When and if I need higher end software, I'll buy it. It's a business expense, just like my camera gear. And, btw, I use the wonderful and cheap ZD 35 and ZD 25 lenses quite a lot of the time for similar reasons: they get the job done as well as the higher priced alternatives most of the time, they cost and weigh less ... and I use the higher priced lenses when they make the difference in quality I need for the work.

    There's good reason to spend money when the things you are buying do the job you need, and there's good reason to save money when you don't need to spend it to get the job done. What constitutes "good reason" and "getting the job done" varies a lot based on your individual needs and the work you're trying to do.

    Thanks be that we have the choice.

    "It's difficult to build a dilithium transducer to short-circuit the space-time continuum when all you have are stone knives and bear's claws."
    - Mr. Spock, 1966

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    "It's difficult to build a dilithium transducer to short-circuit the space-time continuum when all you have are stone knives and bear's claws."
    - Mr. Spock, 1966
    My recollection is something like "I am endeavoring, madam, to create a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins." I don't have the episode to check it, but I'm pretty sure about the bearskins at least.

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Something to make decisions like this easier would be a series of tutorials using the same image but different software to achive similar results. I have a very difficult time trying to envision how 10-15 minutes worth of work in CS4 can equate to hours of work in PSP. I'd love to try CS4, but I wouldn't know where to start. I don't even use much of PSP because I simply don't know what "needs" to be done to the photos I post here.

    And while I appreciate the kind comments I get on most of my photos, I always feel like I'm missing something. I try to compare the photos I take to the actual scene and they seem to do a good job of replicating the scene as I see it. Now, I understand photos can be manipulated to do more than just reproduce a scene, but if that's all one is striving for, what else needs to be done besides a little sharpening, contrast and saturation adjustment perhaps?

    I'll admit I don't come from a darkroom background and don't know a thing about most of what folks talk about in that regard, things like levels, histograms, etc. I guess that is probably why I don't have an appreciation for what PSP, CS4, etc., can do. Maybe I need to take a class in digital development that shows how these techniques are accomplished with today's software instead of yesterday's chemicals. I do get frustrated with throw-aways that maybe could be rescued in PP, but I usually have another photo of the same subject that "works", so I don't take the time to learn.
    Cheers, Dave

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    I splurged for Adobe Lightroom 2 when i was getting horrendously bogged down with thousands of photos that were not getting reviewed, culled, and processed. Everyone was asking me where are the pics from your trip to Europe? From your trip to the Beijing Olympics? It was getting ridiculous: nobody was able to see my photos because i was over a year behind in sorting through and processing my pics.

    I knew i had to do something to improve the management and processing of my photo collection, so i turned to Lightroom, whose claim to fame was to help pro photographers manage their photos. Made a huge difference to how i organize, review, rank, cull, and edit my photos. That i am now able to quickly view, upload, and print collections of all my keepers and share them with others instead of having them buried in a mountain of ORF, NEF, and JPEG files scattered across a hundred folders is worth every penny to me...
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by bg2b View Post
    My recollection is something like "I am endeavoring, madam, to create a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins." I don't have the episode to check it, but I'm pretty sure about the bearskins at least.
    Yeah, but the point is that whatever he was trying to do, HE GOT THE JOB DONE! And went on to save a couple of Whales 20 years or so later by dumping them in the Bay by San Fransico. I tingled for weeks afterwards.

    Those bears died for a greater cause!
    Glen Barrington
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenbarrington View Post
    Yeah, but the point is that whatever he was trying to do, HE GOT THE JOB DONE! And went on to save a couple of Whales 20 years or so later by dumping them in the Bay by San Fransico. I tingled for weeks afterwards.

    Those bears died for a greater cause!
    HAHA! I watched that episode not long ago.

    If you honestly feel you need Photoshop, that's fine, but I'd guess that many people who have it, don't need it. Especially the 14 year olds taking a Photoshop class in high school, who then, for the rest of their life, think they need Photoshop, simply because it's what they were originally taught on.

    Why do you think so many software companies give discounts to schools? They want to influence an impressionable audience, and get them hooked. I'm so glad I dodged that bullet at that age.
    -Mark
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by bg2b View Post
    My recollection is something like "I am endeavoring, madam, to create a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins." I don't have the episode to check it, but I'm pretty sure about the bearskins at least.
    I was going for the aesthetic feel rather than the actual quote, but I understand the desire for ultimate geeky accuracy ...

    "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic circuit using stone knives and bearskins."
    --Spock in 'City on the Edge of Forever', written by Harlan Ellison

    see http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...star_trek.html for some more.

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post
    Something to make decisions like this easier would be a series of tutorials using the same image but different software to achive similar results. I have a very difficult time trying to envision how 10-15 minutes worth of work in CS4 can equate to hours of work in PSP. I'd love to try CS4, but I wouldn't know where to start. I don't even use much of PSP because I simply don't know what "needs" to be done to the photos I post here.

    And while I appreciate the kind comments I get on most of my photos, I always feel like I'm missing something. I try to compare the photos I take to the actual scene and they seem to do a good job of replicating the scene as I see it. Now, I understand photos can be manipulated to do more than just reproduce a scene, but if that's all one is striving for, what else needs to be done besides a little sharpening, contrast and saturation adjustment perhaps?

    I'll admit I don't come from a darkroom background and don't know a thing about most of what folks talk about in that regard, things like levels, histograms, etc. I guess that is probably why I don't have an appreciation for what PSP, CS4, etc., can do. Maybe I need to take a class in digital development that shows how these techniques are accomplished with today's software instead of yesterday's chemicals. I do get frustrated with throw-aways that maybe could be rescued in PP, but I usually have another photo of the same subject that "works", so I don't take the time to learn.
    What I see from the students who take my workshops is precisely characterized by the boldface I added above. ;-)

    A photograph can be simply as literal a rendering of the subject as possible, in which case if you get it "right" in the camera, very little needs to be done to it. Or it can be as abstract and as expressive as a graphic artist's effort. To obtain either implies a decision beyond what tools you use, and orthogonal to that one as well.

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    e_dawg, I hope you're not offended, but gosh, I must be doing something way wrong. When we took our 90-day retirement road-trip last year, I shot RAW, but I did no "developing". I simply used IJFR to extract the embedded jpegs, culled/cropped/touched up the ones I wanted to post using Picasa3, resized them using FastStoneImage Viewer, and updated my online albums for everyone to see. I did this almost every night because there were a few nights I didn't have internet.

    I also segregated the ORFs for the ones I wanted to see if I could do more with later and I stayed caught up during the whole trip. When we got home, I downloaded the jpegs to SD cards for my digital picture frame for those who don't use the internet. The cards and frame were passed around during visits or at family gatherings.

    I guess I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of time to develop on the fly, so the embedded jpegs (with minor touchup using Picasa3) were going to have to be good enough for those who wanted to keep pace with our travels. I don't have a count, but I'm sure I averaged over 200 photos per day, many days significantly more. All my photos are in folders by date and location. I guess the only thing I lack is a good indexing system. I rarely go looking for old photos, but I can eventually find what I'm looking for without too much trouble. I also maintain a small folder of favorites for quick access.

    I know this system won't work for everyone, but it works for me and gets the job done good enough for friends and family. I've looked at photo management software and it's just too much trouble for me. I just don't need instant access to that photo of the McDonald's unique McCafe in Montreal taken at 12:30 pm on May 2, 2009.

    I am still considering buyimg LR3 when it comes out using an ed discount, so maybe I'll change my approach to photo management at that time. How much trouble was it to catalog all your past photos?
    Cheers, Dave

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    If that's the case, and I think it is, then I guess I do understand after all. When I first got PSP I went though several tutorials and eventually understood what I was doing with layers, masks, blending, etc. My problem has always been figuring out why I need to do all that if I just want a photo of what I saw. I haven't had the time, and still don't, to move into the realm of "art". I think I could benefit from some tutorials on levels and things like that though.
    Cheers, Dave

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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    I started using Photoshop with version 3, I believe. I have upgraded with each new release, and I don't regret doing so. I have to agree that Photoshop is expensive and has a steep learning curve to it, but there is very little, if anything you can't do with an image in Photoshop.

    For the majority of photographers, Photoshop is not required. My daughter is a photographer, and I can't even get her to use Photoshop Elements that I bought for her.

    I am not the usual photographer in that I very seldom like my images as they are taken, even if the exposure, lighting, DOF, and everything else is correct. I like to make the images look like the way I want them to look, having nothing to do with reality. This is where Photoshop shines. I like using layers, blending modes, cloning, etc.

    After using Photoshop almost every day for about the past 10 years, I still learn something new about this program a couple of times every week.
    Lawrence

    All of the images I post are open for critique. Feel free to modify one of my images if it helps the critique.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: High Dollar Edit Software?

    I grew up in the prepress department in commercial printing so was forced to learn "desktop publishing" and image processing, high resolution drum scanning and image retouching. So Photoshop at least for retouching and color correcting was a must.

    When I retired and went into Graphic Design, web site building and more serious photography, I knew that I would want Photoshop. I had version 6 and used it for years, but once I got serious about the design part, I knew I wanted InDesign and so felt it best to just order the Suite, so I have CS3 and really have no need for anything else. Although I recently downloaded Lightroom to try and I am quite impressed with it, but also confused, so will have to make up my mind whether to attack the learning curve or not.

    Most people have NO need for all the capabilities of PS and can get by easily with elements or most any of the other less expensive alternatives.


    Jim
    There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. - Ansel Adams


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