Friday, January 12, 2007
Buyer's Guide 2007: Digital Imaging Software
From basic fixes to professional tools for the most demanding enthusiast, there's a photo app
Many photographers will rarely need anything beyond the capabilities of the programs covered in this category. All of them offer good correction tools, image effects and the ability to print or share your images easily. Photoshop Elements is available for both Windows and Mac systems, while iPhoto is a Mac-only product, and Digital Image Suite runs on Windows only.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 is a scaled-down version of the full Photoshop CS2 program. By removing some of the advanced options from Photoshop and simplifying the interface, Adobe has made a complicated program much easier to learn and use. Elements is an ideal solution for someone who expects to grow into Photoshop CS. The Mac version includes Adobe Bridge, which is the same organizational and browsing tool used by its big brother, and most of the commands are similar to Photoshop. In fact, many of the ease-of-use features new in Photoshop got their start in Elements.
Elements includes limited support for working with 16-bit files and uses a simplified version of the highly regarded Adobe Camera Raw converter, which supports more RAW file formats than any other converter on the market. Along with a library of included plug-ins for image correction and effects, there's a huge third-party market of plug-ins that will work with both Elements and Photoshop.
Adobe Organizer, included with the Windows version, is a very capable image organizer with full support for keywording, sorting and selecting large collections of digital files. Adobe Bridge on the Mac version contains many of the same features as Organizer, but skips on the cataloging tools in favor of quick browsing and searching.
Elements excels at image editing, and tools like the Magic Selection brush, Auto Skin Tones and easy-to-use templates for collages, panoramas and slideshows make this the ideal solution for anyone who needs more than the basic tools provided with their camera. List Price: $99.
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