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Saturday, 24 April 2010


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I just did this. It's worth noting that if you're on CS1, there's a whole lot of useful functionality in CS4 already. Maybe enough that you can upgrade and then skip CS5.

Also worth noting: CS5 is a horribly bad deal in the UK because of Adobe's obscene and unjustifiable UK/EU pricing (UK price equivalent to $843, and that's before 17.5% VAT!) that perhaps by only upgrading to CS4 now you might take advantage of discounts in CS5 pricing in the future.

Or buy yourself enough time to find an alternative.

That's a great deal if you're a photo pro! If you're a casual hobbyist however, even $200 is a high price. I'd wait for the inevitable cracked copy if I were you.

Michael, according to the post, if you upgrade to CS4 you can upgrade to CS5 for free, so both are moot points. (I guess what I'm asking is, can you really upgrade to CS5 from CS4 for free?).

I upgraded my CS3 Web Premium suite to CS4 Design Premium post announcement and saved hundreds. The CS5 upgrade is free.

Michael, I think you missed the point. You can only upgrade from a number of versions back, but if you buy the CS4 upgrade NOW, you get the CS5 upgrade for free, after submitting a form to Adobe along with the proof of purchase. It would be a bit silly to upgrade to CS4, and not apply for the free CS5.

I did this when I "originally" bought Photoshop. Bought version 6.0 off eBay in ~2008, bought the CS2 upgrade *after* CS3 had been announced, and got CS3 for free a few months later.

And on the pricing issue, just buy from the US and get it shipped over. Us in Australia get slugged with a 50% premium over US prices. I have informed Adobe Australia twice that I will continue to import Photoshop & Lightroom upgrades from the US as long as this ridiculous pricing disparity remains. "Cost of doing business" my $%#!...

Also, look out for OS X compatibility and print engine issues between OS X and PS. A bit of research before hand might save some grief. Sooner or later you won't be able to 'get there' from here -- 'here' being a PowerPC-based machine.

Benjamin et al.,
As I understand it, if you already have CS2. CS3, or CS4, the upgrade to CS5 costs ~$200. If you have CS[1], you can't upgrade directly to CS5; you have to do it by first upgrading to CS4 now, which qualifies you for a free upgrade to CS5 a couple of weeks from now. If you wait until CS4 is discontinued, however, you won't be able to upgrade from CS[1] to CS4 any longer, and, since you can't upgrade from CS[1] to CS5 directly, to get CS5 you'll have to spend ~$600.

Being the weekend I can't call Adobe right now to check on this, but I'll try to remember to call on Monday and get it from the horse's mouth.

Meanwhile, if anybody feels they have better information than I do, of if I've got it wrong, please do let us know! Thanks.


In reply to Mike Potter:
It depends on what you do now with Photoshop and your expectations. Also, it's worth noting that Lightroom isn't really an alternative to Photoshop, it complements it.
I've used Lightroom from the initial (buggy) beta and version 1 through LR2 to the free-for-now Lightroom 3 beta. I'm a big fan of its intuitive interface and that it does what it should do, very well indeed. Some of the extra doodads like retouching, burning and dodging, sharpening, not so much. I have never warmed to Aperture, the comparable Apple product, but see that there are a few pros and a lot of hobbyists who love it. If you don't do much retouching, layers and masks are a mystery and are not into the latest whizzy effects then Lightroom ought to be where you look. It is a photographer's natural environment whereas Photoshop is there to finesse the image, so suited more to production and anal-retentive persnickety photo-types! The bonus with Lightroom is that you are able to organise your existing photography archive with very little fuss, providing you use the suggested Lightroom filing structure carefully.
That said, I use Lightroom as the front-end to my raw file workflow, with the client-selects finessed in Photoshop with a 16bit, ProPhoto colour space, multilayered, masked and retouched treatments as required.
Try out the Lightroom 3 beta. It's free but probably will stop working once it goes out of beta, sometime soon.

Josh - I'd love to know how you get around the Adobe "I'm sorry, you don't live in the US, you'll have to buy local" policy.

To Mike Potter, I think Lightroom cover about 90% (maybe more) of what photographers actually want. Learning curve is short. Ease of use is good. It's my primary tool for editing now. I've come across several others who think likewise. Only major missing things for me are layers and masking - the Lightroom masking brush isn't quite the same. for the speed, ease and price I'll put up with that.

It is very difficult to find on Adobe's convoluted website,
BUT if your version of Photoshop is part of a Creative Suite 1 package you CANNOT upgrade to a CS4 Photoshop stand-alone product.
Adobe denies such access. You can only upgrade from Creative Suite to Creative Suite.

Martin - Buy in the US, ship overseas. Of course, you can't buy direct from Adobe.

Mike - Lightroom is all about workflow. It allows you to quickly rate and process hundreds of images, and it is darn good at it. I normally put around 1500 images through it per wedding, and maybe 2-3 go through to Photoshop for more detailed work.

In response to Mike Potter's question:

I was about to answer and I realized that Adrian Malloch had already said most of what I wanted to say.

Just let me add that there are still many things the PS does very well and cannot be done with Lightroom and CS5 may be doing even better than the previous versions. For example there is a much saner HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature in PS CS4 (to be updated in CS5 I think) that does not suffer from the over-blown tendencies that produce the incredibly unreal photos that you can find in many places. That I find especially useful to compose several interior architectural shots into one for example. That I think is a true photographic need for some people, your needs may vary, but you cannot do everything with LR (yet).

There are so many reasons like this to get PS that I do not see why not get the new CS5 plus Lightroom, unless money is an issue of course, since I am not upgrading now to LR or PS (I am only one version behind, I upgrade every other version in general) I would completely understand that and I would advise you to think carefully what your needs are: do you shoot a lot and need to get organized? (point for LR), do you do manipulate your files extensively or create composites? (point for PS). You get the idea.

Lightroom is good for workflow and if it works, it is a simple and good total solution. But I would not recommend only have LR.

My last good experience is to take a retirement nite with a primary school principle. Basically I can photo, select (with assistance by some others) and then print all photos in the same nite plus present the photobooks to him before end of the evening. If it works, it works very nicely.

But from time to time somewhere somehow, the print turns a bit dark and here you scratch you head and do not know what you can do.

PS gives you more control. For example in one stage producing a photo cookbook for the school, the main photographer gave us CMYK photos and in fact it is a better fit with the process later. I have to switch out from LR as it did not support it. Even now LR3 Beta seems to support only to a certain extent. With a copy of PS, you do not need to worry. The need may not be apparent but when the chip is down, you really do not want to have LR only.

A bit of <> but a compelling reason for me to have both LR and PS is that while LR handles all my photo DAM needs, quality B & W output demands the PS toolset. I happily skipped CS4, but it seems to me that CS5 is worth the upgrade price.


In light of the current tempest over photographer's rights and stolen photographs I'm surprised that you allowed a post that suggests software piracy, i.e., 'waiting for a cracked copy'. Does a person's low opinion of a company's business practices ennoble larceny?

Mike Potter:
There are some fundamental differences between LR and PS : non-destructive LR vs layers based workflow, lack of support vs support for plug-ins (because of the layers thing), DAM and global adjustments vs powerful graphics program suitable for messing up the integrity/reality of any photograph but without the DAM etc.
But a potential deal breaker for anyone serious about printing should be the lack of soft-proofing in LR2. I use LR for just about everything else, but can't get a decent print out of it (haven't tried the beta LR3, but I understand the current beta version still doesn't support soft-proofing).

If you never print, and don't rely on plug-ins like photokit sharpener, definitely give LR a go, but you might find you'll want both if you use a fully color managed workflow that includes softproofing on a calibrated monitor. You could easily save a couple hundred dollars when soft-proofing if you print much, and use the savings to rationalize getting PS CS4 AND LR.


Up till now I am under the impression my Lightroom processed B & W prints are all I can wish for technically. But who knows?! Would you please give me a short outline of the way you use the PS toolset (I have CS 3, but only use it for some color tweaking and for vertical perspective correction) to better your B & W output?

I'm based in the UK and am trying to find a way of getting CS5 on the cheap. Currently the best route that I can see is to buy CS4 from the states, have it shipped to the UK and once registered, do the CS5 upgrade. (The old CS version I have on my second machine is for PC with only 1 licence which I need to retain, I now need a new mac version).

If you can't afford Photoshop, one option (skipping ethical discussion) is certainly to wait for the cracked version. However, a more effective protest would be to find some other, cheaper, product that you could be happy with. If money is actually going to support an alternative to Photoshop, Adobe is more likely to notice that as pressure on their pricing.

Digital Light and Color's Picture Window Pro would be one possibility. And of course there's Photoshop Elements, and of course there's the GIMP (which is free).

Or jump ship from Adobe entirely and run Bibble Pro (instead of Lightroom)?

Another note: those of you who have previously bought Lightroom or a Wacom tablet recently should look through your paper materials because the last time I bought either they all had a nice deal to get Photoshop at a break. that could get you on a nice upgrade path.

I did indeed miss the point; the CS5 upgrade being free strikes me as completely odd.

Now that Adobe has shown that the LR3 will have lens correction, I'm not sure I'll be using PS much at all anymore. Now that I've gone from shooting studio to shooting fine art, I don't need PS for much, because I don't do a lot of retouching anymore.

The upgrade path is indeed complicated. I just tried unsuccessfully to upgrade from CS2 to CS5 for $200, but since my CS2 was CS2 Premium and part of a Web Bundle with Macromedia Studio 8, that's not a valid upgrade path, and generally it isn't possible to upgrade a single product purchased originally as part of a Suite, even if you don't need the other software, so the Web Bundle upgrade is $700 and up. I think I'll be buying a full standalone version of CS5.

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