on October 11, 2010
I upgraded from CS2, and it's running on Windows 7. I take 15-20,000 photos a year.
The mini-Bridge is a welcome addition to raw processing, as is the entirely reworked Camera Raw. This provides all of the processing needed for over half my images. It includes white balance, colour curves, exposure, contrast, saturation, straightening and cropping, redeye removal, spot removal, correction for lens distortion, sharpening, noise reduction, and grain. The spot removal tool is excellent for removing dust spots, acne, or the odd bird. All the functions are easy to use if you've ever used any version of Photoshop or Elements.
The main part of CS5 is layer-based, as you'd expect. The best new tool here is the ability to remove a picture element and replace it with context-appropriate background. Let's say you love a picture, but don't want to keep your ex in it. Easy. Outline her (him), cut her out, and she's replaced by more trees/lake/etc. Fabulous toy! The black and white tool lets you make amazing black and white photos from colour. Besides changing exposure and contrast, as in CS2, sliders let you emphasize or de-emphasize objects of any colour. Great for darkening a background without having to outline the foreground first. All the other editing tools are there, most of them not much changed from CS2. I find this version overall easier to use, and especially like the mini-Bridge, the much improved Camera Raw, and the black and white tool.