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Monday, 20 May 2013


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I was one of the first DxO customers, but abandoned it years ago because of its horrible user interface.
Like you I don't think I could stand permanent changes to my Photoshop version, so I will stick with CS6 as long as it is usable.

I'm speaking here as a McDonald's customer offering food commentary in a French restaurant, but if all you want to do is tweak contrast, saturation, brightness and the like, plus play with various effects, Picasa works fine in a rudimentary way. It's free and I use it all the time in prepping pictures for my blog. then again, no one ever accuses me of being a fine art photographer. I have used DxO, and it appears to work well, but it is really more than I need most of the time.

I'm surprised that Acorn didn't get mentioned. I'm using version 3 and like it a lot; like you, I don't do anything terribly complex, but it's much faster and cheaper than Photoshop.

I strongly suggest RawTherapee (rawtherapee.com) which I find very efficient once I get used to it. It is open source, and so completely free, available on Linux, Windows and MacOS. And you can upgrade or not whenever you wish, nobody to sneak in your house!

I have switched to it not so much because it was free - I was tired of upgrading from Bibble 4 to Bibble 5, and then AfterShotPro, and then maybe nothing - just to get support for newer cameras.

Try Picture Window Pro. It doesn't do everything but what it does it does well.

Photoshop CC will cost most of us about twice what it cost to upgrade to a new version every two years or so. But that isn't its worst feature.

The big problem is that if you ever stop subscribing, the software dies. You do not retain the latest software version you paid for. You will be able to open flattened TIFF and (probably) PSD files in another program. But you will lose any layers or ACR edits in RAW files, potentially losing thousands of hours of work. This is a serious blow for Adobe's most loyal customers.

Furthermore, the new terms of service are so draconian, they sound like science fiction. Including shutting off use of the software if your computer is offline for too long, uncompensated advertising on your Adobe url, agreement that any dispute will be settled only in in a court in Santa Clara, California, etc., etc.

Finally, Adobe will be imposing software updates, on their own schedule, that are sure to be buggy for some--breaking printer driver functions, for instance. That has happened with new versions of Photoshop and Epson printers over and over again, and it's one reason some of us wait to upgrade at our own pace.

All photographers should recognize this for what it is--a corporate attack on us, attempting to force us to permanently pay monthly fees to be locked into a subscription model that they have total control over. It breaks any trust I had in Adobe.

Like many other photographers, I am investigating non-Adobe options for the future. There is no way I will go along with this.

p.s. For full-featured alternatives to Photoshop, the two biggest contenders right now seem to be Photoline and GIMP. Hopefully some software developers will seize this opportunity to create more programs for the photographers who are realizing how bad it is to depend on a company the way we've depended on Adobe.

You know that Adobe are giving away CS2 for free - you need an adobe ID:

I'm quite happy sticking with this version.

"The End of the Photoshop Era" - that's a beautifully coined headline. I wonder if it will give anybody at Adobe pause for thought.

I suspect that the reason they're doing this is that they've come near to the end of their rope of significant improvements. If they continued to issue "yearly" upgrades, nobody would buy them.

Adobe software will become like an internet provider, or an email service, or a public utility, that can cut you off if you cannot pay the bill or get too far behind. It will be like health, car, or home insurance--if you cannot afford it you will be forced to do without it. Clearly they want to have a steady revenue stream every month, not a big cash flow every year or two as new versions of the software come out. If Adobe pulls off the transition then one should expect the other companies to follow the same path.

I don't believe that piracy is behind Adobe's new plan, because the current Photoshop CS6 requires that your copy check in over the Internet periodically to remain activated, just like the new cloud version. Or at least that's my understanding.

Re: DxO -- I run every image I process first through DxO's lens correction tools (for distortion correction and elimination of fringing for which it's really excellent), but I steer clear of its other fixes. When I first tested DxO a couple versions ago, I compared its tools to the similar tools in Photoshop and found I could do a better job in PS with every tool but those lens corrections. Also, I use Photoshop for lots of work that can't be done in DxO, or for that matter in the other similar image processing tools out there (multiple masked adjustment layers, for example). So I'm extremely reluctant to replace Photoshop.

But what's the rush? My plan is to stick with CS6 for as long as possible and then evaluate whether I'm ready to pay the monthly fee to continue to use PS. I'm hoping that takes me through at least a year, maybe much longer.

Wow, no Picture Window (http://dl-c.com/content/view/47/74/) on that list? I've heard nothing but good things, it would've been nice to have a review. Also I disagree with their choice of lumping in Lightroom and its ilk because I feel like that's more of a workflow product than an image editor despite the fact that it does raw conversions.

I've used photoshop in the past and been fairly decent with it but I much prefer Lightroom. I am probably in the minority here but I personally prefer the bulk of the image "quality" to come from my skill level with the camera as opposed to my skill with the editing software. And yes, LR is getting pretty darn powerful as well but the comparative "limitations" of LR is preferable to this old film shooter. 2 cents.. shrug..

I have Photoshop 3?, Lightroom, and Elements (i'm up to Elements 8) I cant find anything I need to do to a file that Elements wont handle and there are a whole world of operations it can do that I dont have the slightest idea how to use.

I find myself also checking out Photoshop alternatives, despite about 15 years of (mostly) satisfied use of the program. CS6 is a wonderful imaging 'Swiss army knife', and I've become accustomed to its way of thinking. I was even willing to pay the 'Adobe tax' every 18 months or so without much grumbling.

But the latest monthly rental scheme is just too much. It's almost a gratuitous insult to users, like the owner of the only water source in a desert town doubling the price of a glass, just because he can.

So I too will be checking out DXO et al.

I really only use PS when I'm shooting people, and the goal is to use it as little as possible. So, yeah, I can see the day coming when I no longer use it.

On the other hand, with the ability to transfer images electronically, I can see an opportunity for somebody to offer retouching services for people or small studios who don't want to pay the fee for PS or CS. By outsourcing the retouching, you would have more time to market your business, and shoot.

I have an entire legacy G4 system running 10.2.8 that allows me to fire up SCSI devices like my Imacon scanner and not deal with the ass-hurt of upgrades and updates. There's this device called a network cable that gives me full interface with my Mac Pro tower, which I'll park next to the G4 when the time comes and keep on using my current PS version.

I've used Bibble (now renamed AfterShot) for a few years now and it's really nice. Very Lightroom-like and quite cheap (under $100 IIRC). It has a database of common lenses for quick distortion removal, various plugins including perspective correction, etc. I've not found any task that can't be done with a combination of that and Gimp.

I never used a pirated copy of Photoshop. In fact I saved for a long time in order to get on the Photoshop upgrade trail. A trail that now leads into the sunset.

My problem with the Adobe subscription scheme is the cost. $30-$50 a month is at minimum double what I spend on upgrades in a year. Then again if I upgraded every time Adobe held out a hand I might be closer to the $30 figure. I know I can get the $19.95 special bait and switch deal sort of like my cable company offers. I'll pass. I also object to the fact that like utilities, and cable service, my software can disappear in an instant at the whim of, shall we say, a somewhat insensitive publisher? Been there and done that. No thanks.

Unfortunately all the alternatives to PS that I have tried are lacking in some important way. I used PSP for many years before I got on the Adobe gravy train. It could be a decent alternative if the Publisher would ever stop playing marketing games and develop the tool to be competitive. Don't hold your breath on that one. Corel is all about giving you just a little bit less functionality than you need. Unless of course you make scrapbooks for a living. They are also very good at advertising upgrade prices rather than actual new user pricing. You could call that bait and switch too I guess.

I'll just use CS6 until it dies. Maybe a slightly more consumer oriented publisher will come along to provide similar functionality. It is a shame really.

My bulk processing goes through Corel Aftershot Pro (formerly Bibble Pro). They've ruined it (dropped the Noise Ninja integration, so newer versions are useless to me). Adobe's attitude has made me not willing to use Lightroom except as an absolute last resort. So I have no idea where I'm going (I'm playing with Darktable, which might be the answer eventually, and it's always interesting to see what the FOSS world is doing in image editing).

I don't have to go anywhere quickly; I can continue using Aftershot Pro for bulk processing and Photoshop CS6 for top-quality work until I get a camera that they don't support. But it's become a major goal to NOT direct money towards Adobe in future; I'll violate it only if I can't find tolerable alternatives. (The killer app in Photoshop for me is 16-bit curves adjustment layers with layer masks; I use 1-7 on images I'm doing serious prep on.)

I have never used the full version of Photoshop. To big,and way too complicated. And Bridge wasn't doing anything for me. I used Photoshop Elements because there really wasn't any other option. But with Elements I used Picasa to keep track of all my photos and passed the ones that needed work onto Elements.

Then along came Lightroom. That changed the ballgame completely. Now I rarely use Elements. Lightroom really is the app for photographers. The more I learn Lightroom the better it gets.

As for piracy I predict that it won't take long for the pirates to figure how to overcome CC. Then what will Adobe do?

I have to lob in another recommendation for Photoline (www.pl32.com). I've recommended it before, but to repeat, it is:

- Relatively cheap
- Constantly updated by developers who are responsive to user requests and suggestions
- 32 and 64-bit compatible
- Supports layers
- Supports Photoshop plug-ins
- Fully color managed
- Supports using 16-bit files in layers and plug-ins
- Passes color management information to plug-ins
- Small and fast
- Photoshop-esque*
- Contains some of the recent innovations included in Photoshop, such as content-aware scaling (called scaling with "Liquid Mode" in Photoline) and content-aware fill (called "Remove Objects" in Photoline)*

There are two caveats:

1. I wouldn't use Photoline to edit RAW files. Yes, it technically has RAW file editor, but something like Lightroom is just way faster and easier to use. Photoline is a replacement for Photoshop, not Lightroom. Most important, if you primarily use Photoshop to host a variety of plugins, in my experience PHOTOLINE IS THE BEST PHOTOSHOP PLUG-IN HOST I HAVE FOUND. Plugins run in Photoline work with 16-bit files (including large files) and are fully color managed (assuming the plug-in is color managed).

2. Ease of use. (This is where the "*"s above come into play.) Photoline is relentlessly independent. The developers (a pair of German brothers) are very smart, and while they keep up with Photoshop developments, they aren't looking to create a Photoshop clone. They are looking to create a cheap, powerful image editor with much the same functionality as Photoshop. So while you can do just about anything in Photoline that you can do in Photoshop, you may have to hunt around for it, and it may not be implemented exactly the same way. But it is worth it to hunt it all down.


I love DXO. It can give the photo an inner glow that I have trouble doing in Photoshop alone. I've been using it as my RAW converter for a number of years and it keeps getting better, and they will always keep updating their data base for camera combinations. The beauty is that it analyzed your camera/lens combinations, and you have many options to work on your photo. I don't use all the features because I use Photoshop and my plugins to put the final shine on. I import the photo from DXO to CS6 as a DNG file, so you can do some more work in Photoshop as a RAW file. I figure that if you can't do it with DXO & CS6 you can't do it. No problems here for a number of years. 3 raspberries for Adobe.

Lightroom has everything I need from a photo adjustment point of view (RAW processing / local adjustment) + I get on well with the digital asset management / DNG workflow. The adjustment UI works well and intuitively for me - I rarely spend more than a few minutes adjusting an image. All non destructive. Feels close to traditional methods.

Well Mike, this subscription service will not prevent pirating. It is as easy to disable the subscription validation as it is to disable the license key validation.

What it does is to grow revenue while delivering no real value as people will have to keep paying for minor upgrades and new camera compatibility.

I use LR for RAW and quick edits, but still need PS for masking work, dodging, burning and skin work. However you can use other editors with LR, such as PSP and the one I'm quite keen on at the moment, Perfect Photo Suite by OnOne software. You can use it as an LR plug in, or just download Perfect Layers for free, and have layers and masks with LR.

However their B&W conversions are quite nice, and the portrait tool is fine when you back things off a bit. Resizing is very good too, and it supports 16 bit files.

Check out their website here

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Capture One software. An excellent alternative probably the top contendor to replace Adobe PS and LR.

I'll quite converting my RAW files to DNG and eventually move to C1P and their DAM software.

Currently I'm using LR4.4 and PS CS 6 so I'm good for a long while.

I guess I hopped off the (full) PS wagon some time ago. Like Jock said, some of the low cost editors get you what you need. The print peepers may take issue, and if they feel the need to spend the money, they can. I have photos on my wall, in my art show displays and at trade booths that were published in LR, Elements, GIMP and yes...Picasa.

I think Bill brings up a good point: has the PS feature set become so vast that most of us see no reason to upgrade? Do we really need the feature set or do we just want people to think we do? I use LR for 90% of my work. The rest is in Elements, and only when I need to do composites or text on the photo.

I believe piracy has not been bad in the case of Photoshop. It helped PS to become a household name. Most people that couldn't afford it, opted for a cracked copy before they went for another editing software. The big strengths of the program and piracy itself helped to almost neutralize to zero all the competition. Now, that the competition is catatonic, Adobe wants to tighten the grip but I believe piracy itself helped to turn Photoshop into a "verb" and it is the only game in town, well luckily, almost.

Having never been an Adobe fan, I always look for alternatives. Picture Window Pro is superb (But lacks some key functionality like layers) and is a second rate raw converter (Basically dcraw with a poor UI).

I am in love with PhotoNinja for raw conversion but still use After Effects (bibble) a lot when I have loads to convert as its speed and batch capabilities are second to none. However, the best pictures always get dragged through Photoninja.

As a user interface designer, I always face concerns about customers who do not want their product to be changed. Yet the reality of software development is that we are shipping a very malleable product that constantly needs to evolve to respond to a variety of factors (competition, platforms, new usage patterns, customer requests, trends, etc.). We have to wait and watch how Adobe evolves Creative Clound going forward, but I am fairly sure that you will actually not see the kind of dramatic "rearranging everything" that has been the norm of major update cycles. Instead, we will likely see more gradual changes that will not be disruptive to the workflow. Think of it like the Amazon website that has evolved a lot over the years but very gradually.

Adobe is turning Creative Suite from a packaged software product to a subscription-only software service. There are certainly advantages to this from a customer's point of view. Your software is always up-to-date, you can use your subscription across multitude of devices, and when paired with cloud storage, you can easily share your work and collaborate with colleagues on your projects. I suspect that a big chunk of Adobe's revenue comes from customers working in creative agencies who will stand to benefit from this new model and will be able to justify the subscription fees.

The two groups that are not likely to benefit much comprises of hobbyists and freelance photographers/designers/artists on one hand, and students on the other. The benefits of being able to share your work through the cloud and collaborate with others are lost on the first group though students will likely benefit to some extent. However, both of these groups will likely find the $30-$50/month subscription fee difficult to justify. I think it is for these two groups that Adobe needs to find a solution - especially since in the current model, your work is locked up unless you pay the monthly fee. Since these customers don't get much value from Creative Cloud, Adobe needs consider creating a better pricing model or offer Creative Suite as a standalone product.

Been using the subscription version of PS6 for a good 9 months now. Can't see what the hassle is in keeping it bang up to date with camera / lens profiles. Besides, you have to OK the updates first before they install.

Adobe doesn't give a rat's patoot about you and me, Mike.

Some years ago, a friend of mine used to work for Microsoft. He told me at the time that MS couldn't care less about the individual or small business Office user--the real quarry was the megacorporations that would sign multi-year, multi-million deals with MS to deploy Office throughout their companies.

Guys like us, who upgraded PS every n=2 versions or so, we're just not on the radar. Adobe wants its cash in a steady stream, instead of in big pulses after each version release, and if they can do it by hooking into the money vein of every middling-to-large design house out there, so be it.

The problem is this: if a hobbyist like myself gets shut out of the PS ecosystem now, why should I use it later if I make it as a pro?

(and please, let's not discuss PS Elements--in 2013, 8-bits per channel is _crippleware_)

Another vote for Picture Windows Pro. This is what I reach for first if I have to make any adjustments to a photo, only opening up Photoshop CS6 if necessary (usually the healing brush and content aware fill). Most of the time I can avoid Photoshop.

I think CS6 will be the last version I will buy, for CC the loss of access to previous files once you stop paying your subscription is the biggest issue for me. I look forward to what Picture Windows Pro 7 will bring.

I subscribe (for now) to Photoshop CC at the education rate ($20 a month, I think rising to $30 later). Unfortunately it's like a membership in an elaborate health club while I'm staying home watching the boob tube way too often. I do use Lightroom almost daily anyway, my functional treadmill. Still, I have a hard time cancelling all that potential value...and feel guilty about the thought of canceling (It's every humongo Adobe program, almost!). I suspect that like health clubs, a large percentage of profits will come from "inactive" subscribers, only we can't enjoy the pleasure of taking overly long hot showers every so often in an effort to get a little money back.

Gotta wonder how much of Adobe's subscription model is the positioning of a "necessity" for the company (the need for continued income from a very mature product) as a "virtue" for the consumer (You'll get regular updates!). It has to be harder and harder to come up with improvements to Photoshop that aren't just mildly better/easier executions of the things it already does. In fact, after Shake Removal is implemented, there aren't many new capabilities anybody will be clamoring for, and that has to be a sobering realization for Adobe shareholders and employees.

At least a software company can try to make a go of the subscription model (I'm a graphic designer, so I'll subscribe to Adobe CC). Some of the hardware companies--camera makers--may struggle mightily to survive in a few years when their products (cameras) reach corresponding levels of maturity, durability, and market saturation.

This is exactly what AutoDesk did with Autocad. Subscription service only. Pay every year or it turns off. More and more power that I did not need in my architectural practice. They basically turned their back on small firms that needed basic cad. Fortunately, the older versions still work but there are also a lot of alternatives now.

Joseph Holmes: "But what's the rush? My plan is to stick with CS6 for as long as possible ..."

Precisely my point of view, Joe.

I feel I know Photoshop quite well (after 20 yrs) but find myself using it less in the wake of the Lightroom environment where all my images live and work. My immediate backup for surgical repairs is Capture One which I've licensed for many years and which is nearly up to speed with PS for photographic work.

It's also possible that I will be farming-out my most substantial post-processing and pre-print/print work in the coming years.

So I'm not accepting Adobe's subscription model (and neither are the capital markets) but I'm planning to hang tight with CS6 indefinitely. I foresee no need to upgrade.

Dear Mike,

Well, it's an excellent topic for discussion, but keeping a chronological perspective on it, it's a bit early for anyone to be worrying. If one is good with Photoshop CS6, nothing is going to change until the operating systems go through enough generations that it will no longer run. That's difficult to predict–– a bit less so on the Mac side. And especially since I know your habits. In your case, assuming you go with your plan to get a new machine when your AppleCare warranty expires on this one, you're going to be good for at least four more years and quite possibly seven. Which is, like, forever in computer terms.

Just saying, it's not an immediately pressing problem. Remember, Creative Cloud isn't going to negate anyone's existing CS6 license or operation.

Something to consider–– unless you think you'll get sucked in, you should go read the feature set for Photoshop CC and see if there's anything there that interests you enough that you *might* want:


If not, then just forget about it. If so, then why not spring for the $10 a month for the next year and see if it suits you? If you decide no, you can go back to using CS6.

Now, about those new features and creeping revision-itis. Yeah, I agree with you in general; it's a pain. But my experience with Photoshop is that except for their once-in-a-blue-moon major interface revisions, I never care about 90% of the new features in a new version. There's actually possibly four that I care about in this version, and only one I'm sure of. So, I'm figuring that even if they're pushing new features down the pike every month or so, I'm going to be reading the capsule description of them and going, "Who cares?" and ignoring it. And every so often one will come along that will actually attract my attention, but not very frequently.

Of course I could be wrong about all of that. It might turn out to be very annoying.

Also, one question I have not gotten an answer to, yet, is whether updates will be obligatory pushes or can be under the control of the end-user (remember, the software is resident on your computer; despite their confusing name, this is not actually cloud computing). The former causes a lot more problems on the latter.

Now, as for the Dpreview list, it makes the same mistake I've seen in most such lists, which is it conflates the Aperture/Lightroom audience with the Photoshop/Paintshop/gimp audience. The most critical distinction to my mind: if you're heavy on doing local corrections, you need a Photoshop-type program. If what you need to do can be done with global corrections or relatively coarse local correction tools, then Photoshop is a bad choice; something like Lightroom is just fine.

Okay, all of that said, there's one very important program that isn't on their list, and that's Picture Window Pro 6:


Personally, I think it's the best of the Photoshop alternatives, and equally importantly, it treats the end-user a lot more like a photographer and a lot less like a graphic designer. Photoshop is still lousy when it comes to thinking like a photographers, and it likely always will be; it's in its heritage. This means that for some people PWP is a gift from heaven, for others, zip.

Also, importantly, PWP will now run on Macs:


As I said at the beginning, though, I don't think any of this is really pressing business for anyone. It's all in the long-term planning arena.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I do use DxO and am quite happy with it. I love their automatic lens geometry corrections, and have become quite accustomed to the workflow. I tested 5 but jumped in with 6 since it handled Sony RAW files much better than Lightroom 2. Now I have DxO 7 and also use Lightroom 4 at work, and I still very much prefer DxO. The film pack is also quite fun to use.

I hope that by the time CS6 is no longer supported by hardware, there will be good alternatives to Photoshop. A few little interface tweaks, and a handful of new features in each update should not cost thousands of dollars. Adobe is really running out of steam, and they know it.

Mike, I'm using LR4, free when I bought the M-E you dissed before Christmas! It does the bulk of the work better than anything I've used before (No, I never did get into CS) and the bits I can't do in LR are easily done in a rather old copy of PSP. I did try PSP X5 but ran into some software incompatibility problems with my fairly new W8 PC.

If you like Adobe products, why not use LR supplemented by Elements 11 until such a time as they too become subscription services, if they ever do.

Like others, I agree that this is not about piracy- this is a corporate grab just like Cable, Internet, Cel Phone etc.

I don't know anyone who really likes subscriptions- unless they are interchangeable like Netflix, Hulu, etc. You can get value out of that and leave without penalty.

This is more like subscribing to your car- basic transport that if you fail to pay for stops working entirely and locks you out. It is what happens when tools become services. I would not want to subscribe to a hammer....

Only in the hopes that Adobe is reading, but I will repeat what others have said- essentially it relieves Adobe of having to do anything significant to maintain its profit stream. It forces upgrades that may or may not be compatible with whatever you are running day to day. I can't imagine the horror for people in science, law enforcement, business, etc who depend on repeatable results across time.

Upgrades are a significant capital expense for most photographers so we plan them out according to our schedule. Adobe was already fudging this by tying ACR updates to new versions of Ps- essentially if you bought a new camera in the last few years you had to buy the current version of Ps to get ACR, basically you upgraded to get a plugin. It was bundling, just like Cable television or new car sales, essentially exploitive.

CS2 would be fine for lets hazard a guess- a significant percentage of the Ps using population- however ACR for that is stuck somewhere in Canon 10d land. Now they say CS6 will be supported in ACR going forward- but what do you want to bet?....two years from now when Canon releases their 40mp whatever and a whole boat load of users upgrade do you think Adobe will just release an ACR update to open those files in CS6 or do you bet its only in the CC? Game set and match.

And what is raw conversion but an extra LUT table entry in ACR? A few more lines of data....?? In a PLUGIN.

I climbed out of the Adobe rabbit hole some time ago. For what little I need it for I still have my copy of CS2 that runs just fine under WINE on my equally ancient laptop. I'll find something else, when/if I have to but until then this will do. I'm sure that your copy of CS6 will last at least as long as my copy of CS2 has (8 years or so) and, heck, worst case, I still have a copy 3.0 for 68k Mac floating around here someplace... ;)

I too used pirated copies for years. For the six years that I cut my teeth in the world of design I used that pirated copy to upgrade, and upgrade, and upgrade. For the last 9 years I've been running my own business I have dutifully purchased Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere Pro, and various iterations/upgrades at retail. The first four years 2 licenses, then 3 licenses, and now I'm in the monthly plan for 5 licenses total. So Adobe's gamble paid off with regards to me. And I have to say thus far it's working out well for me too. None of the updates this past year have been forced. In fact I tend to update after a week or so to make sure any bugs have been reported and hopefully fixed. That said, 90% of my work these days is done in Lightroom (and Nik effects) so at some point I may reevaluate one of those licenses.

Correction to my comment, I did upgrade to DxO 8. The interface has improved over the versions but can still be a little off-putting for some, but once you get used to it, Lightroom seems like the odd one.

I've never used Photoshop. I did have Elements for a while, back when I was using a Windows-based computer. I didn't like it, I didn't take the time to learn how to use it and I didn't need it to do the basic things I was doing. I ended up using an ancient version of Paint Shop Pro I had bought years before when I bought my first computer. Paint Shop Pro, for me, was much more simple and much more intuitive.

I have Gimp but I seldom have any need for it and I really don't know how to use about 99.9% of it. I shoot Raw but I use Canon DPP or Olympus Viewer 2 for converting. Since the only thing I'm interested in is making photos that look good on paper, I use Picasa as the final step prior to printing.

When I printed in the wet darkroom, I hated when a favorite paper was discontinued and I had to learn a new one. I tend to find what works, stick to it and only change if I find I can't accomplish what I intend. That carried over to my digital darkroom as well. I have limited needs and I don't want to have to learn over and over how to negotiate new methods to achieve equivalent goals.

Maybe it's the end of the upgrade era in general?

- My 5D3 is "good enough" for anything I will ever need it to do (in the same way a Hasselblad system was "good enough" for most film work for about 50 years). So are most other modern digital SLRs.

- A decent Windows 7 PC or Mac and PS CS6 is "good enough" for anything 98% of us will ever need for the forseeable future

- A decent 17" Epson printer (like my old 4800) is "good enough" for 98% of my prints - the rest I'll send out.

Time to start thinking about photography again, instead of gear.


I don't mean this in a flippant way but this would be a great time to go back to film! You don't need any software in your darkroom...

I think that for what I refer to as 'normal' photography, a program like Lightroom is more then sufficient. The only thing that misses is the local curve adjustments. Maybe one could start to use Acorn (on a Mac at least) for that, or Photoshop Elements. Or do without it and learn to do what you want to do any other way.
The best thing is to make good pictures, and do as little editing as possible, its faster and gives better results as a rule.
Photoshop is for advanced image editing, far beyond the need of a decent photographer.

Here is an idea for Adobe. Every time you release a new Cloud version... sell the previous version to us poor peons for $99. Call it "Photoshop Detriments" to scare away the pros.

There is a post at the Stratechery blog on the subscription model that I think that this blog's readers might find interesting: http://stratechery.com/2013/adobes-subscription-model-why-platform-owners-should-care/

I think from an economic model, Ben Thompson has the right of it in a lot of ways: if you want your software to be updated (bugfixes, security updates, support for new hardware, etc.), then the subscription model does make sense in capturing fair value.

However I think one thing he misses is that a significant amount of Photoshop’s user base consists of freelancers and small business people. The comments about pirating Photoshop to learn it, then becoming a paid-up customer are only a part of it. The other part is the feast-or-famine nature of freelance work. A big job comes in and you can finally afford the new, better potrait lens, improved studio lighting, or replacement for that old computer, or the big CS5 to CS6 update. Whereas if times are tight, that computer upgrade or that software upgrade or that old lens continue to serve until the next big job arrives. (And if the you don’t have support for the brand new camera, chances are you’re still using the old one until that big job arrives.)

By switching to the subscription model, Adobe is shifting risk from itself to the freelancer/small business person. If Photoshop is part of your workflow, you cannot afford to suddenly have it stop working. Your customers aren’t going to live with the excuse of you can’t get them their images until next month, when you can afford to turn the subscription back on.

I work a corporate gig, and I use software subscriptions all the time. They’re called maintenance contracts, and they’re effectively the same thing. But the cash flow issue happens at the corporate level. I see the screams of outrage not in that customers expect to pay more or less for Photoshop, but in that Adobe is changing the terms of the relationship it had with its customers into ‘you’ll pay when we say, not when you say’.

Well, I am on a Mac and I have been a Photoshop owner since 3.0 (and Lightroom owner since 1.0)
I have decided to give Pixelmator a try. I currently use Aperture for RAW conversion and most of the image manipulation I do. I have been using Photoshop occasionally - I suppose that I am not a heavy user anymore after Aperture/Lightroom got released. Pixelmator is dirt cheap and it seems to do most of the stuff I really need.

Unlike a lot of the Internet, I am not particularly emotional about Adobe's move. We are all adults - we can make a choice.
They have made a decision that hopefully makes some business sense to them. They have lost me as a user and customer, but they will not care. I am not going to pretend that me abandoning Adobe is going to make any difference at all for Adobe or anybody else.

However, I will be making my own business case and currently this simply means ditching Adobe for both Photoshop and Lightroom.

Done, I am moving on now.

I think Adobe has screwed the pooch and opened up the flood gates and opportunities to all the other photographic software companies out there. Big hint to the others - this is what you have been waiting for, get your act together and don't mess it up!
The only other software I ever tried was CS1 which came with my M8. It had such a mess of an interface that I chucked it in the trash. Others persevered and made it work. But I'm like Mike, software is only learned to the extent I need to learn it to make my images the way I want them.

I pay for CS 6 and will switch to CC but if I didn't make money teaching photographers the application, I could survive on Elements for much of my pixel-accurate work because so much of what I need to do can be done with Lightroom (or Capture One, for that matter).

There's a market for a version of this app intended to correct and edit photographs at the highest level, but not to create artwork or designs from scratch. I suspect we'll see a beefed-up version of Elements or a leaner version of Photoshop for photographers, many of whom occasionally need a good pixel-level editor and would appreciate full 16-bit functionality and some other niceties that Elements lacks.

Cheers Mike,

I sum up Adobe's new tack thus: "CC is for business, professional and well-heeled amateur users; LR and Elements is for everybody else. Your continued use of our professional products is no longer part of our business model."

My conundrum is that I use several CS applications in addition to PS--some more often, even--but only intermittently as needed. I also skip CS generations (2,4,6) for the comfort-zone reasons you cite as well as simple economics. I cannot and will not shoulder the expense of continuously subscribing in order to give Adobe's shareholders a nice, predictable income stream. It would not be money well spent.

(One hopes Olympus, for example, doesn't embrace this business model and decide to only lease their hardware from now on.)

While a PS alternative is attractive, losing seamless integration with LR and the other CS applications will present real hurdles. CS6 wlll remain viable a good long while but at some point circumstances will demand I replace it. Hopefully either Adobe backs down or some very sophisticated competition emerges to offer an equivalent suite. Hard for me to picture that occurring, at least at the moment.

Mike, I can't praise DxO Optics Pro 8 highly enough. It has limitations - it doesn't do local adjustments like Lightroom 4 does and its workflow management is rather poor, to say the least -, but its image quality is absolutely outstanding. I've tried DxO (then in its "7" version) alongside Lightroom 4 last year and, even though it was a close call, I opted for DxO. In fact I often found myself trying to emulate the results I had obtained with DxO for a given image when editing it with Lightroom: that was when I made my mind up. DxO is highly automated, thanks to DxO Labs' immense knowledge of cameras and lenses - most of them were tested and rated by DxOMark, after all -, which spares me a lot of time. And spending time away from the computer is a good thing. Its chromatic aberration correction, noise reduction and distortion correction are unequalled. And I should add that version 8, which I own, was a gigantig leap forward compared to its predecessor.
I often say that Adobe may know a lot about digital image, but DxO knows about photography. That makes a huge difference. However, I also say that the best software is the one that helps you achieve the best results. In my case, given my aesthetic preferences and my gear, it is DxO.
I'm currently trying Phase One Capture One, just out of curiosity. My opinion? It's good. (No, no, make it "very good".) Especially for black and white: its default tone has a purity that leaves all other Raw developpers standing. However, it's only worth the expense (and the trouble) if you have something like a Phase One back. It's too expensive and complex for common mortals like you and me.

If GIMP had 16 bit editing support and didn't have a nasty habit of trashing IPTC metadata, I'd just use it. I'm by no means a power user, all I use PS for is processing scanned film shots (invert, curves, size for print, some dodge/burn work, dust spot, sharpen) but 16 bit editing is a must have option.

I can't justify a monthly subscription so either I stick with the version of PS I have, or I use something else. Which could yet prove to be an enlarger in a darkened room...

Am I, perhaps, the only person who doesn't feel hurt by this? It certainly seems like it, though I try and remember that unhappy people are much, much more likely to be loud than happy ones.

But then, I was a computer nerd first, a photographer much second, so perhaps I'm exactly in the "sweet spot" for things like this.

It also strikes me that this is a better deal for current or prospective Master Suite customers, for whom it's not really a price increase if you take every upgrade, versus someone who only ever uses Photoshop, for which it is a price hike. I'm in that first group; I have a regular need for some of the other Adobe tools, not just Photoshop, and I like to keep up-to-date.

One thing I'm not sure: can you hold off on updates until you finish a job? It would suck if they forced updates at the time convenient for them, not the user.

I have been using DXO for a while now and similar to Joseph above I tend to run all my pics through there just for the pixie dust magic they have in the program that simply makes all my pics look better. If I need any more editing after that I tend to go to Paintshop Pro X5 which does an admirable job of editing at the pixel level.

I also have Lightroom 4, but very rarely use it these days.

I have a grudging admiration for Adobe, though there are times when I wish them sheer unmitigated evil. For graphic design I use CS, but for photography, Lightroom. My processing needs are simple and Lightroom does a very good job, and it is inexpensive.

I have used Picture Window Pro for several years now. I like it and still use it for most of my detailed editing. I have CS6 and will probably stick with it a long time in the light of recent events, but what I mostly use it for is Bridge and Camera Raw, which are the bits I have so far managed to master. I am trying to learn more about CS6 to get more out of it, but it's usually easier just to fall back on PWP which I already know fairly well.

First, I have been using PS since PS5 (not to be confused with CS 5) 11 upgrades or there abouts. Will I rent from Adobe? Very, very doubtful. It goes against my grain, and I'm thoroughly ticked off by this customer unfriendly attitude by adobe.

Second, as much as it pains me, I would recommend Lightroom. I've used all of the current crop in trial versions and own Aperture. None are as refined as LR in form or function.

To Greg Roberts' point, I've heard it said that Photoshop piracy was always a net positive for Adobe. The thinking being that users would pirate the software and either quickly learn that they'd rather be using iPhoto or become skilled enough to buy their own copy or, more importantly, get a job at an employer that would buy them a copy.

The first kind of user was never going to plop down $600 on a fishing expedition to see if they liked it; the second kind of user would have had difficulty saving for the software that they might not know could become a marketable skill. Sure, Photoshop piracy was rampant, but I'm curious how many pirates actually put the software to use, and how many of those went on to use it professionally without paying for it.

For me it is the loss of access to files in the future that keeps me away. Pixelmator keeps getting better, and many of their tools are much better than Adobe's. Once they get nondestructive adjustments incorporated, I think all of my boxes will be checked...

As you well know,Photoshop is an amazingly powerful and deep application that has gotten 'more so' with every update and new version. While there is really no direct alternative, this is mitigated by the fact that NO ONE uses all of it's capabilities. Most folks use a relatively small constellation of those capabilities on a regular basis. Because the features that appeal to each of us vary, the most appropriate alternative for each of us will probably be different.
I have been a 'light' Photoshop user since PS 6 . I upgraded to 7, then CS3, then CS5. I was just about to upgrade to CS6 when CC was announced. I decided against the upgrade.
The fact that Adobe won't offer a choice to buy or rent says they know what the overwhelming choice would be if there was a choice.
Forcing people to accept their change because they 'can' rubs me the wrong way.
As far as alternatives go, I own Aperture 3, Lightroom 4, DXO 7, DXO Viewpoint, and Capture1 Pro 6. All purchased and updated.
Each is better at some things.
As a long time film photographer moving to digital, Aperture's workflow made the most sense to me-(inviolete Masters, stored in a 'vault" with as many 'ptint' versions and recipies as you like. I do not do generally do heavy manipulations, so while Aperture may have fallen behind Lightroom on some features, it's basic controls are so powerful there is rarely a need (for me) to go outside. Also If you tend to be even mildly disorganized, Aperture's Managed Libraries and Vault system is a godsend.
If you like to keep your originals in many different locations Aperture can do that as well and so can Lightroom
When necessary, DxO's enormously powerful conversion and lens correction abilities are hard to beat. But its UI is very difficult for me, so it gets used 'as needed'.
If starting over, I might now choose Capture One. it's latest version combines a DAM function and if you are not a large volume shooter it offers superb conversions and controls, and sems to be emerging as the high end choice.
Lightroom has gotten better with each version, and many folks prefer it to Aperture. Just not me. I also think that if Adobe succeeds with the PS gambit, Lightroom may follow.

It may also be of interest to this discussion that right now, On One software is offering a version of Perfect Effects free, --while the notion of prepackaged 'effects ' does not appeal to me, it also includes a version of Perfect Layers, which allows the use of layers in Aperture & lightroom which is great. http://www.ononesoftware.com/products/perfect-effects-free/

I'd recommend giving Aperture or C1 a try,plus, there is always hope that Apple might see Adobe's move as an opportunity to upgrade Aperture's already excellent functionality.
That's my take, good luck.

Slow internet connection with no alternative is one problem.
The fact my work computer never goes online is a major one.
Will look at the alternatives so I'll most likely be switching over the next few years.
Adobe "help" is worthless at teats on a boar - and they want us to trust them?


I left Photoshop years ago, tempted by a new program that was advertised on your pages here at TOP: Lightzone. For me, Lightzone was an ideal system once you figured out the gestalt (it was much different than Photoshop), and as long as you didn't have to push pixels around (no healing brush).

The sad news is that Lightcrafts closed up shop a few years ago---but the good news is that Fabio recently agreed to open-source the code. http://lightzoneproject.org/ is where the action is, and there's Windows and Linux betas out now. Hopefully the Mac beta will be coming shortly.

I agree with you wholeheartedly with regards to changes in UI elements and behaviors being a PITA to keep up with. I've just migrated from WinXP/Office 2003 to Win7/Office 2010 at work---it's not making me more productive!


I do as little post processing as possible, preferring to get it right "in camera" if I can. The reason is just that I get no pleasure at all in doing it. Frankly it bores me rigid, although I know that fills most photographers with complete horror.

However, I've used Nikon Capture NX2 for some years and find it does everything I need and more. It works with all cameras so far as I know and of course handles RAW images.

The feature I do like (and not sure whether other programs have this as standard?) is the ability to selectively alter just parts of the image with a variety of adjustments, rather than the entire thing. The batch works pretty good too.

No updates that I'm aware of since purchase and currently $139 on Amazon US.

I appreciate software companies want to sell to us again and again, and they must hate people like me, but like camera updates, I try to resist their enticements. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is my motto and if the camera or software does all that I need, why change it? As long as it all still works I really don't care how old it is.

One big deal with Photoshop is the universe of plugins that have grown up around it. Many of these are now available to use as stand-alone programs, so you can keep your workflow while abandoning PS. Lightroom is inexpensive, or use other RAW processors, with your stand-alone "plugins", and something like Acorn or Graphic Converter for basic manipulations. Now, something that can open all variations of .ai or EPS please...

DxO has become indispensable to my workflow and may well be the best Raw Processor at large. Every new version pushes it further towards a general purpose image processor like Aperture or LightRoom, but has still a long way to go. (Disclaimer: I've been a beta tester for DxO since Version 6, so I may have spent an inordinate amount of time with the software.) Like Joseph Holmes, I first run my Raw images through DxO in batches. The lens corrections, where available, are excellent, although I am at a disadvantage as a Nikon user: half my lenses are Zeiss or Voigtländer, and DxO does not provide modules for those (not that Zeiss lenses require that much correction anyway). Curiously, a full complement of Zeiss modules for Canon DSLR is provided. The other highlight in DxO is noise treatment. Geometry (perspective and anamorphosis) correction in DxO used to be outstanding, but they managed to improve even on that with their new ViewPoint spin-off (shamelessly overpriced though). "Smart lighting" single-shot HDR can be useful, but it takes a lot of fine-tuning. Most other things are better done in LightRoom, with some help from Nik and Topaz plug-ins.

Personal perspective: I've used Adobe software, and programs gobbled up by Adobe through acquisitions during their years of competition-wolfing spree, for more than 25 years, and most of that time for my livelihood.
PostScript: since 1986; Illustrator: since 1988; Photoshop: since 1992; PageMaker and FreeHand: since their inception and until Adobe dumped them; Acrobat and later Distiller: since day one; InDesign: ever since it was in early beta.
In recent years, with the notable and shining exception of LightRoom, I've been counting the hours, not days, until I would be able to use other software than Adobe's. I love typography to a fault; it's my addiction. I loved InDesign. Yet after a quarter of a century, I'm back at hacking with TEX. Acrobat has become useless and dangerous; thank goodness PDF is an open specification, and the implementation in OS X unassuming but stable. Illustrator is unnecessarily bloated, and if you see what Pixelmator has been able to with Vectormator, almost as an afterthought, it's clear how much the once inspired masterpiece that Illustrator was has wilted. I've lost any use for Photoshop since LightRoom plus plug-ins. Etcetera. So Adobe's new business model has finally set me free: they don't want my money, they want my rent. Time to move on.

I do most of my things in Lightroom these days. It's way better in organizing than any other program I know about, and its editing capabilities are powerfull enough for 90+ % of my needs. Must be at least a month now, since I last fired up the good ol' PS. From what I learn from reviews, most of what I don't find in Lightroom (such as layers) I don't even have to go to PS for, but could get from Elements.
My point: Adobe has already made PS a more or less archaic choice for photographers, by providing better and/or cheaper alternatives.

I used DxO for a while. It had some pleasant and usable film emulations (this supersedes "good" or "realistic", although others have used such terms about it); it also introduced me to the idea of controlling lens-distortion as part of RAW conversion, which was nice.

But then it also had at least two bugs: the code called home at irregular intervals to check it was still licensed (sound familiar?!), which threw up random error dialogs variously on startup or, annoyingly, just at the point of trying to process a batch. Their customer support was worse than useless - with a case open for over 6 months, the only movement was when I chose to attempt upgrading the third-party Pace licensing crapware myself, still to no avail. The second bug was an arbitrary memory-cap that silently cropped my panoramas at about 6000px (or was it 7000px? who cares, an artificial limit is an unwelcome limit) wide.

Funnily enough, around then (and with further contributing factors from MacOS X) I voted for happiness and principles, ceased buying commercial software and haven't looked back for 18 months or more.

I have no plans to subscribe. I don't use Photoshop professionally, and I tend to upgrade every 5-6 years. The fact that your software goes 'poof' when you stop paying is a deal-killer for me.

I'll probably just stick with CS4 until the marketplace fills the vacated space with a capable non-subscription photo-editor with a decent UI. I've enjoyed using Photoshop, but I'm not sentimental about it. If a program no longer meets my needs, or there's a better value available, I'll switch in a heartbeat and not look back.

I'm not sure that you have to constantly upgrade whenever Adobe CC pushes out updates. From their FAQ:

As a Creative Cloud member, am I required to install an upgrade to a desktop application when it becomes available?

No. You are not required to install any new version of the desktop applications available in Creative Cloud. You can continue using your current version of the product as long as you have an active membership. You have flexibility on when you install a new release to take advantage of new product features, if you choose to do so.

I never updated after CS2 using it until last year when I had to update my Mac OSX. The new OS version would not run CS2. Since then, I've used Lightroom, which I already had, and Pixelmator. I've found that I only really need CS2 for digital retouching and some complicated work requiring multiple layers, which is rare for me.
Ultimately, I think there are after people who stopped upgrading especially after CS3. The subscription model provides a constant revenue stream.

I started in digital using PaintShop until I went back to grad school and was able to buy PS at a student discount, which made it affordable. Bought every upgrade since but will give PaintShop a new try. Between that and Lightroom with plugins, it should be enough.

Apart from the whole "ownership" question, I think this move makes sense. For a lot of businesses, having a upfront one off cost is a huge deal. Coming up with 1500 USD or whatever it is for an initial license, then incremental upgrades is a significant investment of which could be used elsewhere.

Most companies model their operations with cost of capital in mind, that is, if I need to come up with 1500 USD, that's 1500 USD that I could have invested elsewhere in the business (lets say at 10% a year). With creative cloud, I can spread the subscription as an operational cost over the year, hence the cost of capital is much less as it incurs a smaller amount at 10% a year over the year.

If I was running a business, once I've depreciated the investment in my software, I'd move straight to CC.


Remember Lotus 123? Well its creator Jonathan Sachs created Picture Window Pro(PWP).

PWP is the quiet achiever. It is designed specifically for photographers rather than the broader graphic arts community. It has a basic graphic user interface that looks primitive compared to most other programs but lurking within that "Windows 2.1" clothing is a wolf.

Nowadays I do my Raw conversion and global processing with DxO Optics Pro because it does a very good job with lens geometry corrections and basic global processing, however for local adjustments to tricky images and for printing, I move a tiff file from DxO over to PWP.

Thank you Mike!
This is the topic. Two reasons.
One. Broadband and everything that it implies. Not everyone has a high-speed internet connection. Those who don't apparently don't have enough money to be a desirable customer anyway. In my case, there is no high-speed available as I live in a remote area, and no Ma Bell exists today to assure that everyone gets service. Then again, I don't want to have to be online to do my work.
Two. Skill. I still have some of my grandfather's hand tools and I'm a grandfather myself. Those tools still work as well as ever, and the skills I have developed in their use still apply. When a toolset like Photoshop keeps changing, one result is that developing skill disappears along with the disappearance of the current version. Software substitutes for skill. No human satisfaction, but a hell of lot more money for software vendors.
I guess there is a reason three. With the Cloud, the powers that be have found a way to make money by renting our stuff back to us each month in the name of convenience. "Hey-you can get to all your stuff from anywhere!" As long as you keep paying the monthly bill. If not, hey, it wasn't really your stuff anyway.
What a deal.
I love Photoshop and I'm in anguish.

I wonder if we will stop using "photoshop" as a verb? (Or "photoshopped")

I have used DxO since the early days when you had to purchase the body & lens modules separately. I've been a beta tester for about 5 years. DxO Optics Pro provides quite nice conversions--IMO the equal of, say, ACR/LR--however, it takes a bit of getting used to and for me gets me to about 95% of where I'd like the final image to be. I know others who go directly from RAW to final image using only DxO.

I, however, still need a general photo editor of some sort to push the image over the goal line. I've used Photoshop since version 5 and will continue with CS6 until it dies. When that fateful day arrives I will look at alternatives; currently, I'd highly recommend Picture Window Pro, if you're on Windows.

I still have Bibble 5.5. I opened it just now to see what RAW files it would open and it managed the ORF files from my E-PM1 and the NEF files from my D7000, so maybe it will work on files from cameras that CS6 won't open somewhere down the line.

Another vote for Picture Window Pro, which I've happily used for years, and shame on dpreview for omitting it. Capture One is my RAW developer.

I object to the idea that software (and storage) is something that we are going to have to rent monthly from "The Cloud," which is really a fancy marketing way of saying "somebody else's servers." I can only imagine what kind of "leverage" will be pulled once we're totally dependent on them.

I'm using Lightroom almost exclusively these days, although I still have CS6. I used DXO's product for a while, but found the interface an issue, I also used Capture One some years back, but found the level of bugginess at the time more than I could bear. No idea what it's like today, though.

There is really very little I can't get done with Lightroom, and going out to Pixelmator on my Mac for graphic design stuff.

I certainly agree with Greg. As a Photoshop user for many years as a student, I used a copy acquired by questionable means. What else is a 14-year-old student going to do? Hey, Mum, can I have $1300 for Photoshop 5.5?

But the thing is that I learned the software rather intimately and now can afford to pay for full licences, as well as bringing into workplaces that otherwise wouldn't have had much Adobe software. I've had 11 years experience with software that, if the current subscriber model was in place, I would likely only have three or four, if any at all.

While piracy is a problem, it is a broader societal problem. The arguments being peddled by the anti-piracy rent-seekers that equate a pirated download to a financial loss is facile. We have a similar problem here in Australia with our politicians who have just done their budget for the next year, which happens to be an election year. They claim they have made substantial "savings", when in actual fact they have raised some taxes. An increase in taxes is not a "saving", just as a pirated download of Photoshop is not a "loss".

As I expected nobody suggested NX2. I've seen nothing that can do the math to get the best from the Hi-ISO NEF file any modern Nikon can produce. Low ISO files are just plain gorgeous.

Mike, you aren't a high volume shooter so NX's kinda maybe not so great at batch processing quickly (it does batchs fine but slower than others. Yes the interface may seem odd, so will everything else you try instead of PS/CC. It isn't expensive. Have you ever tried the Control Point system? No layers. Store a file with mountains of changes with it all in a sidecar file. No 250meg Tiffs from your D800 to clutter your drive.

My advice, get one of the Vincent Versace instructional DVD's. They are a huge and clear eye opener to the program.


I was going to say exactly what Greg Roberts said in that featured comment. Sure, piracy is bad, yadda yadda yadda. I'm also someone who made a living out of developing software and creating intellectual property, so I understand. But piracy is not what the software, record and movie companies want you to believe it is. Photoshop is one of the biggest examples of piracy actually helping a product: do you think PS would be nearly as popular if it weren't for all those kids using pirated copies? Please. I think the end result of ending all piracy (as if that were even possible) as far as PS goes, would be that 1) GIMP would be even better than it is and 2) Adobe would have even more troubles than it has.

And I say this as owner of perfectly legal and paid PS and LR licenses. Lightroom I will keep using, and updating as new versions come out. Photoshop? I haven't used it for my photography in a couple of years now. I just open my CS3 whenever I want to play around of to make a banner for my blog. Not uses that justify the price tag, so when/if my CS3 stops being supported on whatever hardware I'm using, I will go to something else.

Hmm, something "Made in America" that folks are willing to pirate! From reading the comments, it looks like some folks are keeping old systems patched together to keep using old PS versions ... just like keeping that old washer of yours going!

Just hope they don't do this with Lightroom. I used to "develop" in LR, then get print-ready in Photoshop, but lately I've been printing straight out of Lightroom and getting great results (Epson R3000). Now my Photoshop sits dormant.

Never really took a hankerin' to it anyway. Wasn't it originally set up for the publishing industry? From the start, Lightroom felt so much more intuitive. A real breath of fresh air after chasing my tail so many years with Photoshop.

I'm perfectly happy in Photoshop CS2. Nothing else I need.

That said, I have no clue what's happening with PS right now. When they hit PS 6 does it become a tool rental deal?

I guess I need to read about it..

If it is, then I have to say that it sucks. I like to own my software and update it when I want to update it. I can see OS issues coming around and incompatibilities as Adobe's ongoing "tweaks" carry it into newer OS situations. In my main workstation at my studio I run a G5 under Tiger, still, and Im not gonna change it until it becomes stupid..right now it's excellent..everything is perfect.

Whatever, I sorta hate Adobe..I REALLy hate that they won't add cameras to older versions of ACR. Most of the other RAW software I use constantly sends me camera updates..and these are small companies.

Some "consultant" for Adobe who shall not be named, once jumped on me in a forum because I barked about this..saying.."If you're really a "pro" you shouldn't be worried about spending the money to keep up with all the latest stuff", and adding that it is very comlicated to add new code for new cameras..I don't believe that. If small companies can manage it then certainly ADOBE can hire some hacker to do it...it's a bunch of bs. He was quite rude in his reponse, calling me "Bud" and I told him to #$T%K off and go $%^@#$@ his #$%^%% in his nursery school classroom. So, partially, I hate Adobe because of that GUY.

: )

By some strange circumstance, I began with Photography in the darkroom (as opposed to first taking pictures with a camera). So, I view Photoshop not as software but as my electronic darkroom and a critical aspect of what Photography means to me.

However, I can't seem to reconcile myself to the notion of forever paying for my Enlarger every month.

I hope the camera companies never latch on to this as a primary way of selling their gear...

But wait, the promise of always having the latest camera with the best IQ and features..all for a decent monthly charge and not having to worry about what to do with that older model... and the challenge of convincing the wife..

hmmm.. maybe there is something to this business model...

As for the updates: You should always have the option just not to install the provided updates. At least that's the case with the current cloud licensed version of CS6. But then, Adobe might change that too.

@timd: Adobe made it clear that they are not giving away the CS2 version. They only provide the download for existing owners, because they shut down the activation servers.

One feature which I (and I suspect a number of your readers and contributors) would find essential but not mentioned in the article you mention on dpreview, was colour management. Perhaps its just the ten plus years I've spent on PS, but it is the only program I can use that gets the colour management right when printing, including soft proofing. I have yet to get Lightroom to print correctly, and don't know where the other programs stand on this one. If it weren't for this colour management issue (plus a couple of plugins for sharpening and noise that I only use when intending to print 11 inches or larger), I wouldn't be using PS anymore, only Lightroom.

"Constant upgrades" is a most likely a euphimism for more frequent bug fixes, something that should be a regular quality control issue, not a feature.
My experience with frequent updating of software (medical EHR software on a small network) is one major deal breaker with this model, as it forces you to update other parts of your system, both hardware and software, just to keep things running (usually at the most inconvenient of times). And I learned long ago never to jump on software updates because something almost always gets broken in the process). My macbook running on 10.6 with CS3 still works fine, thank you, and while I will likely upgrade soon, I want to be the one to decide when to do this.

(Another point related to constant upgrades is the need to reauthenticate when reinstalling software, or replacing a hard drive). If you can't de-authorize a computer for any reason, you have to call. In my case this has happened with Adobe products on multiple occasions, and it has never been convenient or easy).

Tim Bradshaw,

The only way to avoid dealing imaging software is to shoot and print entirely analog and not deal with scans at all.

Which, honestly, isn't a solution for a website called "The Online Photographer" or most of its readers.

Modern photography requires image editing software, whether it's the jpg engine in your camera, Adobe Camera Raw + Photoshop CS6, Silverfast 8, the latest Epson print drivers, or just whatever backend software your favorite print house uses.

Even if you set your workflow in stone, sooner or later something is going to need to be replaced, and odds are good the the new will be different from the old.

I used Photoshop Elements for many years, until the many, many version upgrades got to me and the product just became too restrictive as I learned more. Despite many grumblings as Adobe broke things (most especially printing) I went through each version of CS2 through CS4, mostly for camera compatibility with ACR but also to make use of (a very few) new features.

I've just been doubly messed up by Adobe's recent decisions. Through my own distraction and stupidity I was caught beyond the last date when I could move from CS4 to CS6 at the upgrade price. Having been caught, I'd more-or-less decided to stick with CS4 until I was in a position to transition from Windows to Mac, then pay full whack to install the latest version of Photoshop (whatever that may be) for that platform. I'd held off moving to Mac for a number of years just to avoid having to pay the full license for Photoshop all over again. I guess the joke is on me, there.

I can't afford to move to Mac right now, so I've bitten the bullet and bought CS6 (for Windows; ugh). My guess is that it's the last version I will buy. (I'm so excited by this that I haven't even got around to installing it yet.) I'll probably end up with some combination like Lightroom and/or something else on a Mac while keeping CS6 around for those occasions I really need to use it, running on a Windows box (which I'll have to have anyway; for scanners and suchlike which can't be made to work on Mac).

I'll get by, but I don't have to like it and from now on I doubt Adobe will get one cent further from me for Photoshop, though they just might get me for Lightroom - I haven't decided.

I do wonder just how many photographers they're going to lose as (Photoshop)customers in analogous ways. Perhaps this is exactly what they want: to position Photoshop back (or further) to being more for graphic designers and the like while moving (shoving?) photographers towards Lightroom.

I use Lightroom and also was given Corel Paintshop Pro X4 Ultimate which I find pretty good and I think it's worth a spin---try it free for 30 days.

Wow, I thought you were staying away from this issue. Talk about a can of worms. I'll get my thoughts in now before you get swamped with answers.

First of all here's a good example why I subscribe to TOP:

"Several readers have suggested that I do a survey of other software options. That's like asking me to write about higher mathematics."

nice simile


"Adobe will be making constant, ongoing updates to the CC program, something they're touting as one of the advantages of the new arrangement. (Is that correct?)"

yes it's correct that Adobe is claiming that but a lot of users are worried that they'll have no incentive to keep constant updates coming if the user base is locked into a pay for it or lose all of your work (this applies mostly to PS illustrators and users of InDesign, After Effects, etc. and to a lesser extent to straight photographers. If you stop paying for CC and you want to open an old layered file and make changes to a layer, something that I did in PS files quite a bit when we were doing book design (making a new Spanish edition of the old book? well you'll have to change the text layers in the PS files that were used for chapter opening pages). Professional illustrators and book designers have template files that they can tweak to make new files and save lots of time and this is a big issue for them.

Me? Well now I'm retired and still taking pictures so CC is definitely not for me. The last thing I need on my fixed income is a high priced rental and no good way out. I will use the PS version I have until it doesn't work anymore and gradually convert my psd files to tiff. I may get Lightroom, but who knows when they'll change that a subscription model. I'll be looking at the options you linked to above too, but I won't be paying Adobe a monthly blackmail fee for access to my work.

I’m with Steve D on this. I shifted to Lightroom last year, having used Photoshop for a decade. As someone who wants my photos to look like what I saw, not something I create afterwards, Lightroom is all I need for quite literally more than 99% of my photographs. It is so much more intuitive to use than Photoshop. It did take a while to get used to using its way of organising photos instead of mine. And for the first time it lets me find a workflow where I can be just as efficient shooting RAW as jpg.

But my goodness this change of Adobe policy makes me nervous about relying on their software so much, despite their protestations that Lightroom won’t go to a subscription model. Imagine the outrage if Microsoft announced a monthly fee to allow you to edit all your existing Word documents.

By the way you missed a trick, didn’t Zander go through school buying software for the household at student prices?

I'm not so sure Adobe is/was greatly disadvantaged by the piracy of Photoshop by individuals ... it remains/ed very easy to operate a pirate copy. By leaving it so, by not making it difficult to pirate over iterations of PS, Adobe effectively smothered and starved its competition. Its core revenue stream comes from industry, not individual hobbyist photographers. And - whether or not this was a deliberate decision is a question to which the otherwise honest pirates will never have a truthful answer!!

Count me among the DXO fans; it took them a few versions to get the user interface right, but the preset mechanism -- and the ability to tweak, copy and paste presets among images -- really speeds workflow. And the optics corrections (no need to adjust for CA, distortion,vignetting, etc.) are second to none. Still, like ACR, it only does "global" corrections: no "local" selections or layers. For that i grit my teeth and suffer with the 8 bit modes of Elements . . .

On other forums, the response to Adobe's new policy has been ferocious, to put it mildly. The problem for most of us PS users is that there really is no equivalent program to which we can turn. (And no, DxO is not even close.) Furthermore, we are familiar with PS, and, for all its complexity, we feel comfortable with it. Adobe is counting on those two facts to prod many users to grudgingly sign up for the subscription plan. If they are correct in their projections, then there is no reason to think that Lightroom will not eventually follow suit, regardless of Adobe's reassurances to the contrary.

Fortunately for me, Photo Ninja recently appeared on the scene, and even though it is a raw convertor/image editor with limited features, the results are so splendid that I now have much less need to do further editing in PS than previously. Still, many images require local adjustments and fine tuning that are best done in a pixel level editor, such as Photoshop. Like many digital photographers, I plan to use CS6 for as long as possible, and when the time comes when it will no longer run on whatever computer/OS that I happen to be using, I will survey the field for other options.

"So I completely understand why Adobe is setting things up so that people will have to pay for the use of its software."

This is definitely not about piracy. The CC subscription model will not do much to combat piracy, given that software having to go out over the net has always been fairly easy for piraters to overcome. According to Winston Hendrickson, VP of Creative Solutions for Adobe, "...once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products."

"Adobe will be making constant, ongoing updates to the CC program, something they're touting as one of the advantages of the new arrangement."

That's true, but you're still likely to get lots of small changes that don't cause you any consternation, with the occasional big change just as you get now (i.e you get CS5 v1, then v2, then v3, then CS6). That's typically inherent in the way the software development work has to be done, and isn't done because of the end-user.

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