U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: OT: Photoshop CS4 upgrade overpriced

Re: OT: Photoshop CS4 upgrade overpriced

Hi Greg and Julian,

I've been moving about a lot lately and didn't see your emailed responses. Sorry.

Greg, as you describe your needs, odds are you don't need CS4. That means you can keep the cash in your pocket. ;^) As I said in my original reply, "... with CS4, Adobe has finally moved to define Photoshop as the domain for serious image editors...." If you don't do any heavy digital lifting and don't enjoy learning new digital things, then you probably are going to be no better off in CS4 than with CS2 or CS3.

I will take issue in the friendliest terms possible with Julian's statement to the effect that only those who "... habitually make complicated montages or are a graphic designer..." have use for CS4. I'm neither a graphic designer nor am I making montages (though I have in years past and thoroughly enjoyed it) but I do find some of CS4's new features welcomed additions to the digital arsenal. These "needs" and "find value in" qualifiers are quite individual, making it that much harder for others to make recommendations unless they are very familiar with the photographer's workflow, hardware and, as is more and more apparent, attitude.

Isn't saying that CS4's clone tools, levels/curves/saturation etc. are the same as Photoshop 6's much like saying the wheels, tires, paint and upholstery are much that same in a 1974 car as a 2009 model? That's a fair statement if you ignore advances in brakes, fuel delivery, suspension, emissions control and safety. (Actually, the clone tool has been improved and, to a larger extent, replaced by the healing brush that makes retouching scans so much easier than in pre- PS7 days. And the spot healing brush makes retouching even more of a no-brainer. CS4's Smart Objects make a leap in non destructive editing; if you didn't sharpen or blur just right, you're just a double-click away from changing your approach. That can save a lot of time compared to redoing your last several editing steps.)

And lordy, claiming that if you get "your exposure/composition and focus right in the first place and you hardly need Photoshop other than to print through" is neither fair to the legions of photographers who use the wet darkroom as a place of discovery and creativity nor to the digital photographers and artists who do the same today without getting their hands wet. John Sexton once commented that it was not unusual for him to spend 40 hours with a new 4x5 negative before he had his first fine print. You can bet that he wasn't fussing with issues of exposure, composition or focus. Please be a bit more open minded before making proclamations like that.

I stated way back in the second edition of "Making Digital Negatives" (10 years go) that software publishers had us on a treadmill of upgrades. Nobody forces you to upgrade, though Adobe's policy of not updating older versions of Camera Raw to work with newer cameras could be interpreted as something of an arm twist. Of course, there are always those junky free Raw converters that come with the cameras so you aren't really left in the lurch if you want to conserve cash.

To be sure, there's plenty of room for gripes with Adobe. The "Save" command is still single-threaded, meaning that we sit and twiddle our thumbs while large images write to disk. There is no good reason this couldn't be multi-threaded so while we're saving one image we could be working on another. And don't even get me started on how so much of Photoshop does not take advantage of the multiple cores that most modern computers use. I don't enjoy the wait time in Photoshop any more than I did the pauses between agitations when tank processing sheet film.

Though my recommendations are never influenced because of freebies, kickbacks or other stuff from software publishers or hardware makers, be aware that I do get Photoshop free from Adobe. Greg asked me to make that disclosure, for whatever reason. Oh, I don't own any stock in digital companies either except for a bit of Apple (happily). And our newest car is six years old.

Hope this helps and doesn't offend,



On Mar 10, 2009, at 6:27 PM, Julian Smart wrote:

CS4?? Why?, Why?, Why?

The clone tool, levels/curves/saturation/.unsharp mask etc etc etc are exactly the same as Pshop6. Adobe con you into assuming you need to keep upgrading, but what do you actually do with it? Lets face it, unless you habitually make complicated montages or are a graphic designer or do need very high end repro facilities or need the integration that the cs suite offers, you may as well use pshop 5,6,7,or as I do, plain old CS/2/3 (on a daily professional basis). Get your exposure/composition and focus right in the first place and you hardly need Photoshop other than to print through (and the printer driver for Macs in CS3 is appaling).

Sorry that this doesn't answer your question but I think if more people questioned their requirements and ignored the marketing hype and peer pressure, Adobe would be forced to abandon their policy of frivolous change and actually produce a product that is more tuned to the requirements of its users.

I'll get off my soapbox now ;~)


----- Original Message ----- From: "Greg Schmitz" <gws1@columbia.edu>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:54 AM
Subject: Re: OT: Photoshop CS4 upgrade overpriced


You don't really address my question. Is the upgrade from CS3 Premium to CS4 worth $600? I use Photoshop more as a utility - as you are aware I prefer a negative, lens and sensitized paper to digital gagag. That said I do use Photoshop from time to time. Has CS4 (hard to believe Adobe can really jump to a new ver. # as fast as they have) really added enough new functionality to justify me plunking down that much cash; or can I plug along with what I've got? Most pay as you go software that I've had to buy of late I would label "buggy" "bloatware;" I only buy the new versions so I don't get cut off from support or get nailed with having to buy it all over again if I fall 2 "versions" behind. But given the price Adobe is asking if I miss one upgrade, it will be cheaper for me to buy the software new. My original question, again, is do you think the benifits of owning the new version are worth the price - and what are those benefits (from the mouth of somebody who is using the software to do real work? BTW, if you are getting any perks from Adobe, and I assume you are not - please mention that too.


Dan Burkholder wrote:
Hey Greg,

If you can get just the Photoshop CS4 upgrade for the price mentioned by Richard, then yes, you should go for it. The $600 you quote sounds like an upgrade for the entire suite of products. Adobe must figure if you're using that full batch of applications that you're making money with all of them. That isn't always the case of course.

CS4 is another of those upgrades that hook you like crack; it's really hard to go back to CS3 (I'm speaking just Photoshop here) after getting a taste of the "4". I'd also add that, with CS4, Adobe has finally moved to define Photoshop as the domain for serious image editors and not the stuff for casual users. The transition to CS4 forces us to make some pretty major changes to the way we make selections and masks and modify them. Don't get me wrong; the changes are almost all for the good. It's just that the learning curve has been steepened somewhat for those who haven't had a good workflow to begin with. Make sense?

To throw a bit of a wrench into your decision process, the Extended version of Photoshop offers some neat capabilities that are missing from the Standard version of CS4. I don't think Adobe has an upgrade path from Standard to Extended so you best decide before purchasing. If memory serves, you can upgrade an older Standard version of CS2 or CS3 to the Extended version of CS4 at a fair price. Just don't expect to upgrade CS4 Standard to CS4 Extended for any price approaching reasonable. ;^)

Hope this helps!



On Mar 8, 2009, at 8:30 AM, Greg Schmitz wrote:

I have Adobe Photoshop CS3 Creative Design Premium and can't decide if I should upgrade to CS4. It seems to me that Adobe's asking price of $600 for an upgrade is "over the top." Will I get $600 worth of improvement if I upgrade to CS4? I'd be interested in hearing from those of you that have upgraded to CS4 if you think the upgrade was worth the money. $600 is 2-weeks of work for me and I am loath to give it to some Silicon Valley wonk so that he/she can continue to drive their Porsche or BMW whenever they want to.


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