Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
308 of 316 people found the following review helpful
The biggest and best... as long as that's what you needMay 1 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
If you're looking at the full version of Photoshop, I assume that you have not yet taken the plunge into the big leagues of editing programs. Maybe you've tried Elements or a program frpm a competitor of Adobe but either the price or the sheer overwhelming complexity of Photoshop (or both) have kept you from pulling the trigger. In my enthusiasm for this program, I could tell you to buy without reservation, but that isn't necessarily good advice.
The question, then, is whether Photoshop CS3 makes more sense than competing products. Ironically, Adobe itself makes what is probably the biggest competition in Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0. Elements is quite a competent photo editor for roughly one fourth the price of Photoshop. If editing photos is an occasional venture for you then you may well be better served to stick to Elements. It isn't the best but it is good and the tools available can give you outstanding results. For the majority of photos, I doubt anyone could tell the difference which program produced the results assuming a competent user was at the controls. The two main drawbacks to Elements are that it lacks some of the more powerful tools unique to CS3 and that some methods of achieving the same results will take more time. That's a key point, so I'll repeat it. For most of your photos, you can achieve virtually identical results in Elements... but it will take more time to do it.
Beyond the cost of your time, let's consider the problem photos that you may not be able to fix properly in Elements. Most of the time, if a shot didn't turn out well I just ignore it and move on. I'm not a big fan of spending hours on every photo and a well-shot image requires very little editing. But some of those duds represent something that I particularly wanted or needed a print of. Perhaps a key landmark from my last vacation, or a visiting relative who you photographed and promised you'd send a copy to. Whatever it is, when these shots come out poorly, you have to do whatever possible to salvage it and this is where Photoshop CS3 starts to earn its pay. For example, you open the file in Camera Raw and take advantage of a new feature that allows you to reclaim blown highlights even while increasing the exposure meter to bring in shadowed highlights. Right out of the gate, you're starting with an easy and powerful tool to fix one of the most common (and most destructive) image problems. And there is a whole laundry list of features after that... just read the lengthy product description that Amazon has posted from Adobe. Compare this feature set to Elements or any other program and you'll realize that the others simply can't compete.
Quite simply, if you are serious about editing and printing top-notch photos, then you need to use Photoshop CS3. If you don't, you're spending more time than you should be and leaving unfulfilled potential in your images. If you are a casual or occasional shooter, than you should probably stick with the less extensive products like Elements. It's cheaper, at least somewhat easier to use, and capable of generating quality work. Just remember that the photos that you most need to improve are the very ones where Elements may fail you. When you're really desperate to save a photo that you failed to capture well in-camera, that's when you need all the tricks and tools that only Photoshop has to offer.
Finally, for those who can't get past the hefty price, here is a little tip. If you buy an older version of Photoshop, it can often be had for a fraction of the current version. In turn, this will allow you to buy the upgrade version of Photoshop for one-third the price of the full version. This is legal and does not violate the Adobe license agreement in any way. All you need is a valid license for a full version of Photoshop 7.0, CS, or CS2 and you can purchase the upgrade with a combined cost well under the full version of CS3. If you attempt this, I would strongly recommend buying from a reputable dealer to make sure you get a valid license. For example, if you buy at a certain well-known auction site, make sure the seller has a high feedback rating.
84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Wait for CS4May 30 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I guess the folks at Adobe paid their staff to write some Amazon reviews....
I've been using Photoshop since version 2 and have been teaching Photoshop classes for over 10 years, and this is the worst upgrade ever (two stars since, well, it IS Photoshop afterall).
Photoshop's most touted new feature--non-destructive filters--is implemented very poorly. Rather than working like adjustment layers currently work, SmartFilters, as they are known, convert the underlying Photoshop layer into a SmartObject and places the SmartFilter on top. You CS2 users know that you can't edit a SmartObject in Photoshop--you have to go to the object's native application. So to edit the image under a SmartFilter, Photoshop opens it in a new document window (meaning you can't see its interaction with layers underneath as you edit it, and can't see how the various SmartFilters make the changed composition look until you save and return to the original document, and you can't see the effect of the SmartFilter as you edit the underlying art.
Adobe quietly retired ImageReady, so there is now NO way to open an animated GIF and edit its multiple frames in Photoshop CS3!
I've summarized the dissapointing bugs in a review of the whole Creative Suite (type "cs3" in the search field).
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
No Significant reasons to upgradeMarch 31 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I am a professional Graphic Designer, with a degree in Fine Arts & Graphic Design. I am sure most people who would pay for Adobe Photoshop (or any of the Adobe Suite Programs) are designers/artists.
I have been using Adobe CS3 (mostly Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign) for the past 4 months or so. I have been using Photoshop itself, since version 4.
In a sentence, Photoshop CS3 is good, but if you already are using CS2, there is no real reason to upgrade.
The added features are OK, but not worth paying for really and I have had stability issues with this newer version of Photoshop that I have not had in CS2. The two most annoying problems are: If I have a non-postscript printer set as a default, Photoshop will ALWAYS crash when I open a 2nd document (blank or otherwise). The other issue (which is also shared with InDesign) is that if I have been using Photoshop for a few hours, and switching between programs, Photoshop will vanish. It will not show up in my taskbar (WinXP SP2) nor in the running apps list in Task Manager. I need to terminate the process from the Task Manager process window, and then restart of course losing all unsaved edits.
I do not have these issues with Photoshop CS2.
Also the installation process was a real pain in the neck. It was much longer (about 25 minutes) than previous versions of Photoshop. It took me 4 days (almost 30 hours altogether) to get the suite installed on my laptop due to the activation process freezing after I entered my software key. I also had to uninstall all of my CS2 programs before I could get CS3 installed. I also needed to download Adobe's CS3 "Cleaner" utility and run it several times. It was not worth the trouble, especially considering how much I paid for the software.
Once I got it installed it worked fine (aside from the two bugs listed above). I was able to reinstall CS2 as well.
Like I said earlier the new features are just OK, not worth the trouble I went through with installation. Also the new palette system is kind of annoying. When I work I am constantly going back and forth between palettes making adjustments. The new palette dock minimizes them to a button, but you cannot have 2 open at the same time using this system. When you open one palette, the one you were previously working on closes. You can float them, but then that doesn't take advantage of the improvements of CS3. In my case I just ended up using the "legacy" pallette set up, which made my palettes work the way they did in CS2.
Adobe Photoshop is the "standard" for photo editing software, but the hard install, high price and lack of any really useful new features makes it hard to recommend this version of Photoshop over previous versions which installed easier and work faster with less resources.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Love it--and no bugs!Jan. 8 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Based on these reviews, it would seem that there were bugs in the versions sold in June and earlier. I just bought my upgrade (in December) and it works fine, as other later reviewers commented. (I don't think Adobe has to put fake reviews on Amazon to sell their product, as one reviewer suggested. They offer automatic free updates...use the service, eh?)
I was using CS and heard that the "File Browser" had been replaced by a stand-alone application. I loved the file browser and used it heavily to organize and flag my photos so this is why I waited so long to upgrade. It turns out that once you learn how to configure Bridge, the SA app, it is far superior to File Browser. As for the rest of the program, I can't say enough about Adobe Camera Raw 4, another application that comes with CS3--it is fantastic, AND it works on jpg files as well as RAW! Sure, maybe not with as much finesse as it can apply to a RAW file, but it still works! And the main Photoshop program is of course superior to all others on the market.
I heartily agree with the reviewer below who suggested buying an early legal version of Photoshop and then buying the upgrade to CS3. This will definitely save you some bucks! And then carefully read the reviews of instruction books to find one (or more...) that will teach you what you need to know for your particular style of photography.
Yes, the upgrade from CS to CS3 is definitely worthwhile, and from what I gather from reading various books, even CS2 to CS3 is something to seriously consider.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great product, nightmarish activation systemMarch 20 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
It's pretty simple: if you're serious about photo editing, Photoshop is by far the best and most capable product out there. There are plenty of products that are good enough for casual use, but nothing matches Photoshop for raw power.
Be aware, however, of the baggage that Adobe forces on you when you buy one of their products. They use an online activation system to prevent you from installing on too many computers at once, which is eminently reasonable. The activation system, however, is buggy and temperamental. For example, when I installed the SP1 upgrade to Vista (which every Vista user will need to do), the activation system thought I had moved Photoshop to a new computer, and locked up the software. I eventually ended up on the phone with customer support, who finally agreed to re-activate my software (but only after chastising me for not de-activating Photoshop before installing SP1 and re-activating it afterward).