Old 11-21-2009, 12:19 AM   #1
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Default Photoshop CS4 vs. PSE 7-8

Group,

At this time, I'm currently using Photoshop CS4, the trial version. It seems to be quite similar to CS2, my previous software, with some slight improvements on color settings (additional selective color options, plus some other odds and ends that I really haven't had the time to fiddle with as much as I would like to.

Anyhow, my point is, would it be worth investing in CS4 sometime in the future, or does Elements pretty much cover the basics, or atleast, cover what I would benefit from? By me, I mean a rail photography, mainly focusing on leveling, cropping, color, contrast, and so on. If so, then I'd say elements would be the way to go, as I could apply a large chunk of money to some L glass.

Any feedback is appreciated.

Chase
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
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Elements does all of that.

Whether CS4 is the best use of your money is a different call. It depends on your focus and where you see the opportunity for growth. For me, I am basically all lensed up, so to speak (the new Canon 15-85 is tempting but, fortunately, it is prices out of my current reach and besides I have all the focal length covered, it would be pure convenience), and I am also all softwared up, at the mere PSE 3 level. You are pretty well lensed-up as far as focal length goes but you could upgrade the quality.

The biggest thing my current setup does not offer is HDR and I understand there is some rudimentary form of that in the latest PSE.

Also, I can't speak to the quality of channel mixing in the current PSE for BW conversion; I use a third party plug in that works only on older versions of PSE.
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:05 AM   #3
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Elements does all of that.

Whether CS4 is the best use of your money is a different call. It depends on your focus and where you see the opportunity for growth. For me, I am basically all lensed up, so to speak (the new Canon 15-85 is tempting but, fortunately, it is prices out of my current reach and besides I have all the focal length covered, it would be pure convenience), and I am also all softwared up, at the mere PSE 3 level. You are pretty well lensed-up as far as focal length goes but you could upgrade the quality.

The biggest thing my current setup does not offer is HDR and I understand there is some rudimentary form of that in the latest PSE.

Also, I can't speak to the quality of channel mixing in the current PSE for BW conversion; I use a third party plug in that works only on older versions of PSE.
Thanks for the in-depth reply. I do have focal length from 10mm to 250mm covered at this time as you said, but quality would be a nice upgrade. I like the quality results from my 10-22mm, but everything else seems to have it's faults at times. Obviously, my next lens purchase will be the 24-105L. I probably should've purchased the 24-105L prior to the 10-22mm (it seems the 10-22 gets very little use, but that's aside from the point). I'm hoping to purchase it within the next 3 months, providing B&H gets it back in stock. It's been back ordered for the past several weeks, if not a month or two.

If you're content with PSE 3, then I would imagine PSE would be just fine for me. While CS4 does have it's advantages, I think it's just a wee bit too much for me, especially considering it's high price.

As for the 15-85mm, I'm still anxious to see what RP members have to say about it. I've heard very little feedback from the lens on most forums I visit often. I would imagine the POTN Canon forums would have a considerable amount of feedback on the lens. I haven't been on POTN too much as of lately. They have a ton of amateur and professional photographer reviews on the 7D and it hasn't been on the market too long.

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Old 11-21-2009, 01:43 AM   #4
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Chase I think Elements will cover everything and then some for you. No need to blow your money on CS4, get the glass.
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Old 11-21-2009, 01:45 AM   #5
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Ohh and my 10-22 sits in my bag often also but it's a God send when I need it!
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:43 AM   #6
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As for the 15-85mm, I'm still anxious to see what RP members have to say about it. I've heard very little feedback from the lens on most forums I visit often. I would imagine the POTN Canon forums would have a considerable amount of feedback on the lens. I haven't been on POTN too much as of lately. They have a ton of amateur and professional photographer reviews on the 7D and it hasn't been on the market too long.

Chase
dpReview has a ton of participants and lots of info and lots of opinions on everything. My personal take-away conclusion on the 15-85 from reading the forums there is that it is a definite quality upgrade on the 17-85 but that it needs a half year or year for the price to come down from the new intro high price. The major negatives are that it has chromatic aberration problems, easily fixable in software as I understand it, and vignetting problems at the 15mm end with wide open aperture, fixable in software but that takes CS4 and not PSE to do. Don't know if DPP does it. Overall it seems like a great travel lens and, should I be doing some important travel, I will try to get one. The 15 vs 17 is a nice add by itself, going from 28 equiv (well, 27) to 24 equiv is nice.

7D sounds fantastic, but then it should be for $1700 and I won't be at that price level probably ever. 40D continues to come across as a great buy; I wonder what will happen to 50D prices over the next year.
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:46 AM   #7
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Ohh and my 10-22 sits in my bag often also but it's a God send when I need it!
And you have done great stuff with it - the recent award winner justified the expense by itself!
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:57 AM   #8
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7D sounds fantastic, but then it should be for $1700 and I won't be at that price level probably ever. 40D continues to come across as a great buy; I wonder what will happen to 50D prices over the next year.
If Canon does indeed, release the 60D in the upcoming months, I would like to pick up a 50D body. I'd like to see the price come down on the 50D another hundred dollars or so, but it's not too bad as it stands.

Of course, I'll only pick up a new body if I own the 24-105L.

Chase
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:10 AM   #9
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Don't forget, if you're a student, you can use your school ID and get up to half off CS4 from certain sites. The best thing to do is wait until you are just about out of school and then stock up on new programs while you still apply for the discount.

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Old 11-21-2009, 03:18 AM   #10
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And you have done great stuff with it - the recent award winner justified the expense by itself!
Thanks Janusz, it's has a little learning curve but I think I have finally got It down, it has produced many fine images and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:10 AM   #11
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Don't forget, if you're a student, you can use your school ID and get up to half off CS4 from certain sites. The best thing to do is wait until you are just about out of school and then stock up on new programs while you still apply for the discount.

- Chris
I'd verify the "discounted version" you are getting - if it's anything like the "discounted reseller's version", Adobe won't let you upgrade it without a major fight. Then again, what do you expect from a company that offers no discount for a downloaded program and charges $50 for the user's manual.

What a company...

Oh, and forget about support - hope you never ever need it.

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Old 11-21-2009, 12:43 PM   #12
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I love PSE7. Get the new version and put money away for a lens.
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:24 PM   #13
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Do the lastest versions of PSE have the lens distortion correction function that CS2 has? I'm still using CS2....among other reasons because I bought the "education" version cheaply, and as Mitch pointed out the greedy folks at Adobe won't give any upgrade credit on an education version. That is about the only thing I know is in the CS versions that I regularly use, that I haven't found on PSE. Given Adobe's tendency to cease supporting older versions of their software rather quickly (in particular the raw converters in the case of PS), my inclination is to give them as little of my money as I can get by with. Unfortunately Photoshop is a good program despite it's proprietor. I tried switching to Aperature to avoid Adobe, but I have been using PS too long to learn new tricks.
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:11 AM   #14
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Do the lastest versions of PSE have the lens distortion correction function that CS2 has?
Hi John,

I can't speak for how distortion correction works in CS2, but PSE 6 and beyond do have a lens distortion correction page with sliders that adjust not only lens distortion, but vignette, vertical and horizontal perspective and edge extension. It takes some practice (or it did me at least), but it works pretty well. I have the same 18-200mm VR lens that you have and on some shots, particularly the wide angle stuff, I do occasionally find the page useful.
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:33 AM   #15
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Hi John,

I can't speak for how distortion correction works in CS2, but PSE 6 and beyond do have a lens distortion correction page with sliders that adjust not only lens distortion, but vignette, vertical and horizontal perspective and edge extension. It takes some practice (or it did me at least), but it works pretty well. I have the same 18-200mm VR lens that you have and on some shots, particularly the wide angle stuff, I do occasionally find the page useful.
Nice! What is edge extension?

Also, vignette is welcome, but is there something about the perspective control being on a lens correction page that makes it work better, or is that just a rearrangement of menu/window structure of no consequence?

I can't even remember if PSE 3 has barrel/pincushion adjustments, I don't think so, don't recall seeing it. Might be worth an upgrade. I'll probably sit tight just a while longer.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:27 AM   #16
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Default Distortion correction in PS

I just checked PSE 5 and it has a distortion correction feature. One of these days I'll have to compare it to what CS2 will do. I rarely use it, but it sure comes in handy when you need it. Here are three examples of pictures that needed it badly.

Image © John West
PhotoID: 149359
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PhotoID: 199520
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #17
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What is edge extension?
Well, when you mess with some of the distortion or perspective correction sliders, you'll typically end up with white space along some or all of the edges of the "canvas".....the image is no longer a rectangle with perpendicular edges. At that point, you'll either need to crop the shot to regain a normal rectangular shape or if you have no room to crop, you can use edge extension to artificially fill up the white space on the existing canvas. You have to be careful with that tool. Small adjustments of up to 5% end up looking OK. Get aggressive with it and your shot could look like something you'd see in a fun house.

This shot here was my first real success using several of the features of the PSE distortion correction screen:

Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 293137
Photograph © Kevin Madore


Shot with the 18-200mm VR at 18mm with the frame pretty much filled, the distortion in the image was complex. It wasn't just a matter of a quick barrel distortion adjustment. Without rotating the image, I couldn't get any of the verticals vertical. If I did rotate it, I wouldn't be able to crop it without cutting off vital portions of the subject. That's when I started playing with vertical perspective and edge extension....and VOILA! It isn't perfect, but I was very pleased with the result.
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:46 AM   #18
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This shot here was my first real success using several of the features of the PSE distortion correction screen:

Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 293137
Photograph © Kevin Madore

Looks good to me. In my experience the cropping you described is often the limiting factor, especially if the original is framed tightly. The first time you use the tool is something of a shock in terms of what it does to the image.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:03 AM   #19
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Side note about PSE (I use 7)...

I got it as a present last year bundled with Adobe Premiere Elements 7. Don't know how much video editing you do, but that could come in handy as well.

Basically...P-S-E works for me!
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:08 PM   #20
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A ton of photographers love Adobe Lightroom.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:40 PM   #21
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Lightroom looks sweet, but, at $300, it's not happening anytime soon. I just downloaded the trial of PSE8, at $70 it's still real money, but certainly "doable" as far as my budget's concerned.

At least with software I know that as long as I've got my RAW images, I'll always be able to go back and re-edit if I want to, as opposed to good glass, which you need before you take the picture.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:52 AM   #22
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Quote:
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A ton of photographers love Adobe Lightroom.
I have been considering Lightroom, and in the process of looking for more information about it thought the following was very interesting. It is lifted from an Apple support discussion group about photo processing programs but the gist is just as applicable to PC's. I found the comment about not using PSE for RAW conversion particularly interesting, since that is exactly what I have been doing since Adobe quit supporting CS2 and I got a D90 with a RAW format CS2 cannot convert.

-------------

"Group A
Aperture is Apple's pro app for RAW images capture management. Lightroom is Adobe's pro app for RAW images capture management. iPhoto is Apple's free entry-level app for images capture management.

"Group B
Open-source GIMP or inexpensive Adobe Photoshop Elements are for basic to intermediate image editing, adequate for most photogs. Very expensive full Adobe Photoshop is for pro graphics work and very advanced image editing. Other free and/or low cost editors are also available. Many folks consider the open-source GIMP a superior app to PSE.

"Two apps are needed. Digital photographers ideally should own and learn reasonable competence with one app from each of groups A & B above. Note that Aperture and PS/GIMP/PSE are in different groups.

"IMO the evolution of a digital photog is to start with iPhoto and quickly outgrow it. After that I recommend that the next step is to own both Aperture and PS, GIMP or PSE.

"If one advances to the point of doing really advanced graphics work the upgrade from GIMP/PSE to full Photoshop is easy enough, just expensive and with very substantial additional learning curve. I use the full Design Premium Creative Suite, and the upgrade to CS4 from CS3 is so expensive I am staying with CS3.......

"......Note that PSE should not be used for RAW image conversion because the RAW conversion engine in PSE is a compromised version of ACR, not the complete version of ACR found in full (very expensive) Photoshop. Use Aperture or camera vendor (e.g. Nikon) software for RAW conversion prior to PSE edits if PSE edits are necessary........"

FWIW.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:31 AM   #23
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"......Note that PSE should not be used for RAW image conversion because the RAW conversion engine in PSE is a compromised version of ACR, not the complete version of ACR found in full (very expensive) Photoshop. Use Aperture or camera vendor (e.g. Nikon) software for RAW conversion prior to PSE edits if PSE edits are necessary........"

FWIW.
FWIW, indeed.

When I see statements like "should not" I get annoyed. When I see incomplete or one-sided analysis I get more annoyed. Yes, PSE is a compromised version of ACR when it comes to the extent of controls. But is it compromised in the quality of processing? If you set PS CS full ACR to parameters identical to PSE ACR, does one get the same result? And did the writer consider the tradeoffs between the two, more RAW processing flexibility but at a much greater cost? And if there is a difference in quality, did the writer evaluate the extent of the difference, say by comparing images processed in each, or did the writer just go down a list of features and decide more features good, fewer features bad? Just sloppy, just plain sloppy, I really find it irritating sometimes.

Maybe I'll go into my office this week and rip down off the wall my collection of PSE-processed raw-original crap.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:59 PM   #24
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I found the comment about not using PSE for RAW conversion particularly interesting, since that is exactly what I have been doing since Adobe quit supporting CS2 and I got a D90 with a RAW format CS2 cannot convert.
I had the same problem when I purchased my D700 with CS3. I quick search on google netted me updates for CS3 to be able to convert those RAW files. My CS3 became CS3 Extended. A quick search on google netted many updates for CS2 RAW conversions. It's out there.

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Old 12-20-2009, 06:19 PM   #25
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I had the same problem when I purchased my D700 with CS3. I quick search on google netted me updates for CS3 to be able to convert those RAW files. My CS3 became CS3 Extended. A quick search on google netted many updates for CS2 RAW conversions. It's out there.

Chris Z
It is only out there if Adobe creates it. ACR 4.6 supports the D700, it is the final version of ACR that works on CS3. More recent cameras will never have ACR support for CS3. You were fortunate.

Here is a full set of ACR files
http://www.adobe.com/support/downloa...atform=Windows
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