I am currently using Photoshop CS4 and perfectly happy with it's capabilities. In line with my previous practice, I had intended to skip CS5 and upgrade to CS6 when it came out, which is due shortly. Then Adobe said that that would not be possible, upgrading to 5 would have to happen first. After the online furore that this aroused, they backed down and said they would permit upgrading from 4 to 6, for this year only. In future, upgrading will only be possible with consecutive versions of the program.
With that scare behind me, I waited patiently for CS6. Adobe has just released a beta version to sample it. Unfortunately the system requirements have now made it impossible for me to take it. PSCS 6 needs a Pentium 4 powered computer to operate ( incidentally I've just discovered that CS5 did as well). My work flow dedicated computer is only a couple of years old and obviously I was too mean to buy a decent machine back then.
So Photoshop CS is no longer an option for me. That's OK as far as what it's capable of doing for me - I'm perfectly happy to keep working on my TIFFs with what i've got. But it's the RAW conversion engine that I'm interested in, or worried about. In the first place, it appears that the major improvements that are taking place in digital capture in recent years include the quality of conversion of RAW files. Apart from that, it also appears that the camera manufacturers keep bringing out new cameras with modified RAW file types, which require an updated conversion program to keep up with them. Why on earth don't they all agree to standardize by using DNG? It's very irritating. At least Adobe's RAW to DNG conversion program is updateable and free.
Adobe has just released Lightroom 4 and that started me thinking. Although I tried it before on trial and could not make head or tail of it, I have to say that I made no attempt to teach myself with all the online aids available. So I reckoned it was my own fault that I didn't like it. And Lightroom has the same RAW engine as Photoshop. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that it, too, requires a Pentium 4 machine, and Windows 7 or Vista operating system. I am running Windows XP.
So, should I spend lots of dosh on a new computer and then spend more on an upgrade to PSCS6 or Lightroom? Not an attractive proposition for me, because really I do not produce many new images these days due to health problems with me and my nearest and dearest. I think what I might do is buy Photoshop Elements, which also has the same RAW engine as it's big brothers in the Adobe stable. Once the RAW images have been converted to TIFFs, I can work on them further in CS4. That will save me having to learn the full workings of a new program, won't it? We will see. Watch this space for further developments........
This image can now be published. It is the first few lines of Ulysses by James Joyce. Seventy years after his death, copyright has lapsed. Before January of this year, the Joyce estate would have chased me!