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Old Jan 10, 2007, 8:21 PM   #1
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I'm having a hard time deciding whether to make the switch to Photoshop CS2. I have owned Elements for about 5 months and all in all am pretty happy with it except for a few exceptions, one being the limited adjustments I can make in 16 bit mode. I've been shooting all my images in RAW.


If I convert the photo as an 8 bit JPEG, I'm more than happy with everything Elements has to offer, but from what I've been reading on this board, many believe that re-saving an 8 bit jpeg degrades the quality of the image. I've been keeping the original JPEG's and don't plan on "re-saving the edited JPEG any more than once.

I'd describe myself as a "DSLR enthusiast". I'm not a professional, nor do I edit photoss for a living. I don't plan on spending large amounts of time on editing individual images, but I also don't want to be limited by software constraints.

The move to full blown Photoshop will be a costly one - $150 for the class at the technical college and then $300 for the software itself (educational discount).
I guess the big questions I have are -


1. If I open up an 8 bit jpeg, edit this file and then save the edited JPEG, how significant is the loss of detail? (In otherwords can I get by with Elements?)

2. Is the ability to edit in 16 bit mode significant enough to justify going with the full blown version of Photoshop? (I know this is my decision but I'm just looking for opinions).
Just looking for advice from those who may have been down this road before....

Thanks in advance for replies......appreciated much.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:18 PM   #2
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For starters I wouldn't buy CS2 now unless they are offering a deal with an automatic free upgrade to CS3 when it is released. You can upgrade to the beta, but I haven't seen anything about automatic upgrades to CS3.

And when you do I would go for the complete Creative Suite for less than $100 more in the academic version.

As far as degradation saving JPGs you will not see any difference between your original and one saved at best quality 12. I don't see where you are limited to saving in JPG just because you opened a JPG. I save everything I have worked on in PSD so I keep the layers.

You might want to upgrade to CS3 when it comes out as you do get a little better results working in 16 bit. But the file size is twice as large and everything takes longer and uses a lot more RAM.

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Old Jan 11, 2007, 1:26 AM   #3
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cameranoob asks: If I open up an 8 bit jpeg, edit this file and then save the edited JPEG, how significant is the loss of detail? (In otherwords can I get by with Elements?)

Visual changes due to compression artifacts in doing an edit or two on a jpeg will be imperceptible -- unless you compress the hell out of it. If you stick to using the lowest compression rates, you can get by with doing more resaves than you are likely to need.
If you like to print big, like 8x10 and higher, you'll have less lattitude since imperfections always show up first on larger prints.

Can you "get by" with Elements? Why don't you try a trial download of CS2? That'll give you a better idea if you are missing enough features with Elements to make PS worth the price.

CN continues: Is the ability to edit in 16 bit mode significant enough to justify going with the full blown version of Photoshop?

Probably not unless you plan to do some major work on your images. 16-bit gives that extra lattitude when making big changes that might result in noise and/or posterization of 8 bit images. Again, if you like 'em big, 16-bit will give you an edge with certain images. $450.00 worth of an edge.....?

Go for a trial of CS2. If you've been using Elements for 5 months, you can probably use CS2 to do everything you've been doing without taking any classes first. Compare your results and go with what feels right.

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Old Jan 11, 2007, 6:05 AM   #4
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Thanks - that's good advice. I think I'll give CS2 a try.
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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JPEG Images: Counting your Losses

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Old Jan 11, 2007, 3:53 PM   #6
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I have access to both programs and I use Elements for almost everything. If you primary goal is adjusting photograph light levels, contrast, etc (that is if you only want to tweak photos and not alter the picture) then Elements is more than sufficient. If you want to be able to clone people in that weren't there or take things out then you might do better with full blown Photoshop, but you can even do most of those things with Elements 4 or 5. If you have trouble making simple clones and effects with Elements then you will also have trouble making them with PS. It's more powerfull but not necessarily easier. That's my two cents worth.
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 7:25 PM   #7
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cameranoob wrote:
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I'm having a hard time deciding whether to make the switch to Photoshop CS2. I have owned Elements for about 5 months and all in all am pretty happy with it except for a few exceptions, one being the limited adjustments I can make in 16 bit mode. ...
I suggest staying with what you have until you find that you want to do something it cannot do. If you wait, the software always gets better and cheaper so there is no reason to rush spending money.

How important are those exceptions to you and how well does the newer/better/high priced/... versions deal with those problems? Reviews and other folks can help with the second part of that question - only you can answer the first part.
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