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Time for me to buy some photo software - what should I get?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Triggaaar, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I have a D70, and have just built a new PC, so I'm ready for some software. I'd like to be able to show my pics via a plasma, or just print. And while I've never done photo editing before, I would like to.

    I see photoshop is the overwhelming favourite. Are there any others I should consider, or assuming I get photoshop, which version should I get, and how much for? (if I get a basic version to save cash, will upgrading then be possible without exceeding the cost of a better version to start with?)

    Thanks
     
  2. seany

    seany
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    Well there's the trimmed down version of phototshop, which is Photoshop ellements, now at it's 3rd edition for around £40. Full CS is a a few hundred quid and i'd say the average user deosn't need it. I have CS and Elements, i seem to just open up elements most of the time.

    You'd pick up elements off Ebay for about £15 used
     
  3. severnsource

    severnsource
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    If you are using Windows XP the OS's basic photo printing functions work reasonably well, likewise the built in picture viewer.

    Most of the cheap picture editing programmes will do the basics, cropping, brightness and contrast and colour balancing. PC magazines often have old versions on cover discs which will be OK so you can try them out for yourself. Trial versions of Photoshop are often available on cover discs as well.

    Personally I think the full version of Photoshop is overkill. Photoshop elements 3 seems to be the favourite at the moment; it's got most of the features of the full version and a useful database app built in - it does seem fairly slow to load its modules though. The various versions of Paint Shop Pro are OK, even the older ones, likewise the Serif photo editing progs. If you want some serious intellectual stimulation you could try the Gimp, a free editing prog that is alleged to be nearly as good as Photoshop, but seems to be even more difficult to learn.

    Irfan view is a freeware prog for picture viewing if you want something with more bells and whistles than the built in viewer.
     
  4. electrolyte

    electrolyte
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    I'd recommend Irfan view as well. Is an excellent little freebie. It loads the picture in a split second and can do some basic editing too. I also use Elements 3 which is excellent but haven't tried the full version of photoshop so can't comment on if it is any better.
     
  5. Zone

    Zone
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    Don't be in a rush to buy anything, download the following three free programs and have a play, you will suprised with what can be achieved ;)

    Irfanview
    Virtual Photographer
    Neat Image

    I would still also recommend as said previously to get a copy of Elements 2 or 3 (I have 2) for when you want to be a little more adventurous :)
     
  6. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Mmm. Photoshop Elements 3 sounds like it could be exactly what I need, especially if I can pick it up for £15 ish.

    I have a couple of things against trying the free programs: from reading here about Photoshop, it's not easy to use, and takes time to get used to - I don't want to spend time getting used to something else. Also, I've never used anything before, and wouldn't know whether they were good or not.

    Are they easier to use than photoshop, and more suitable for general use?

    Thanks
     
  7. Zone

    Zone
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    For simple everyday use then yes imo.
    See this picture as an example of something I've done using the freebies above and see this picture taken by andrewdolphin who first brought our attention to the Virtual Photographer plugins.
    Don't underestimate them, they are very powerful applications :smashin:
     
  8. seany

    seany
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    I've got photosuite 4 it's a few years old now but it's ok to cut your teeth on, i think it's up to 7 now. Very user friendly

    I don't know if you still can, but you used to be able to download trial versions of photoshop
     
  9. mr jones

    mr jones
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    yep they have CS and elements 3.0 for trial download on the site. www.adobe.com
     
  10. longleyc

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    I use Photoshop but Paint Shop Pro has all the useful features of Photoshop and covers where Elements misses.
    But if cropping, touching up and colour balance are going to be the main uses, then Elements is cheap enough.
    The full version of Photoshop just includes professional print output modes etc etc which the home user just doesnt need.
     
  11. martynk

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    Picasa (from Google) is another freebie which works surprisingly well. Photoshop Elements gets excellent reviews and Sean is right, you can download a 30 day free trial from Adobe. PSP is a lot cheaper than PS, with very similar functionality - from version 8 or 9 onwards - but I don't think it's any easier to learn. There's a lot of good advice on this thread, and I have one more suggestion. Get a good "how to" book if you choose PS or PSP - the interfaces are a bit daunting at first and the help files aren't particularly aren't "helpful" for a beginner, because they assume you already know the basics and understand the terminology.
     
  12. etaf

    etaf
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    the gimp is a great free program and available in a version which has tried to give the feel of photoshop
    http://www.dpforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2129

    also elements as mentioned is great

    I think PaintShopPro version 7 is available on the web free
     
  13. Fusspot

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    I've got Microsoft Digital Image Suite which is very user friendly. I haven't used Photoshop Elements but I'm told that the Digital Image programme is very similar. Here in Australia the two are very similarly priced.
     
  14. senu

    senu
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    You really cannot avoid investing a little time and effort in WHATEVER program you use expensive ,cheap, nearly free or free. I have Adobe Photoshop cs2 ( why? you ask ..Im not quite sure myself: LOL), Adobe Photoshop Elements3 (APE3), I recently uninstalled microsoft imaging suite 10 ( taking up space and minimal use) and have used Roxio Photosuite 5. Infran view i use at work and acdsee 7 powerpack.
    The principles of picture editing are the same and well edited pictures will not betray which program was used to edit them.Ideally they should not actually "look" edited.
    I would get APE3 and a good easy to read book on it ( not its own manual: thats dead boring) and youll' find it useful for a long long long time.
    There are countless monthly magazines which cover the use of these programs regularly .Some people earn a living just teaching people how to use these programs
    A word of encouragement, you will invariably get a warm buzz of achievment with the (hopefully pleasing) results when youve done the graft learning the software A nikon d70 is not a point and shoot and you deserve to be taking pictures that will make people pause to look and admire , if a little editing achieves that aim it would have been well worth it
    good luck
     
  15. ancientgeek

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    The full version of Photoshop has been a good program for many years, So an older release of Photoshop is another alternative to Elements.
     
  16. mr jones

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    i still use PS7 as theres no real gain for me to use CS, i tried a trail and didnt use anything i didnt have at my disposal in 7 so continued with it
     
  17. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I'm back (I got distracted by my new PC, now fully loaded with every CD I ever bought - and it's made me start buying a lot more).

    Anyway, thanks for all your advice. I don't feel I have enough time to devot to more than 1 package, so I'd like to start with Photoshop Elements 3 (once I'm used to it, if I find it too slow for simple tasks, I may try one of the free versions you've recommended).

    Looking at ebay, is any legit version ok (without a paper manual, or box)? I presumably want a version that I can register?
    Also, can anyone recommend a nice basic book for learning how to use APE3 (instead of the manual)?

    Thanks
     
  18. senu

    senu
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    As of 3 months ago I didnt know of any oem ( no box no manual ) versions but 3 months is a long time in software life. Contrary to my previous reply, the manual is not boring but actually simplistic if limited . APE Version2s manual was definitely a no go, .
    Adobe encorages you to use the pdf, online help and rather good tutorials and sites like
    http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com/videotips/#
    A browsing session at the book section of your local PC World will reveal a good variety of books of which the writing style and easy flow will make it easy to choose something. I have several ( just love hoarding books :eek:ccupational hazard I m a gynaecology specialist) and am reluctant to recomend any particular one because they seem to be a much of muchness. Your personal prefences would help you sort thru the variety available.
    Apart from the time it takes to load up ,APE is actually fast at doing the job. I recently did a batch resize, auto sharpen ,auto levels on over 150 3 megapixel digital images in less than 5 mins
     

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