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Is there anything better than Adobe Photoshop for a PC?

Antonio Giacomo , Mar 17, 2004; 02:58 p.m.

The reason I ask is this. I bought a 35mm scanner. It is very nice. It can scan a whole reel of film, while you have a cup of coffee. Its maximum image depth is 48 bits at 19 megapixels, which is even nicer if you are serious about digital images (but obviously you can do better the old-fashioned way). It came bundled with Photoshop Elements. However, Photoshop Elements refuses to open 48-bit images. Other programs, such as JASC Paint Shop Pro and Serif PhotoPlus will open 48-bit images, but immediately convert them to 24-bits.

I looked at Photoshop 7. It would handle 48-bit images. So I bought a license. When I got it, I was very disappointed. Its facilities for 48-bit images are very limited. It would not be adequate for professional photographers. So I then bought the Photoshop 7.0 SDK, so that I could write my own plug-ins. What I got was the most un- professional load of crap. The documentation is absolutely atrocious. How Adobe can charge for it I do not know. However, it did explain the big problem with Photoshop on a PC. It cannot open images beyond a certain size on a PC. Quite a few gigabytes of RAM that I have, plus getting on for a terabyte of disc, do not help. It tries to force a MAC memory management strategy onto a PC, which is the most amateurish software implementation that I have ever come across (I am a professional programmer). It might be OK for a MAC, but not on an Intel platform.

I have wasted a lot of money on really crap software.



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Beau . , Mar 17, 2004; 03:28 p.m.

If Photoshop 7 is "really crap software" you are setting your standards pretty high. Many of us consider PS the most useful and powerful software product ever made, period.

I've only used it on a Macintosh, though, so maybe I'm missing some of the drawbacks.

Andreas Carl , Mar 17, 2004; 03:37 p.m.

I believe Photosop is indeed the best there is, version 7.0 is not the latest release, but I am not sure whether the new one supports more functionality at the 48-bit level.

I agree with you, that 48-bit image depth processing is a MUST for serious results, however I am surprised that you have trouble with memory management. I scan Medium Format slides at 4000 dpi (16 Megapixel) which is actually larger than the image content of my slides (even with Fuji Velvia or Provia). Scanning 35mm slides at 19 Megapixel resolution seems to be way overkill.

Can you simplify your workflow? Using fewer layers, masks etc, or even limiting 48-bit processing to the inital stages (curve adjustments) and switching to 24-bit mode thereafter?

I know, thi sis not what you wanted to hear, Photoshop is certainly far from "perfect", but many professional photographers use it successfully.

Bob Atkins , Mar 17, 2004; 03:46 p.m.

I think PhotoShop is overpriced, overfeatured, underdocumented and has an awful user interface.

However you won't find anything that can do more. You will find stuff that's easier to use, MUCH cheaper and just as useful for 95% of the needs of most photographers.

If you want to do things that are really complex or stuff that's more graphic design than photography, Adobe pretty much have you by the ..... and you'll just have to suffer with photoshop. Adobe and Photoshop are the Microsoft and Windows of image processing - and that's not meant as a compliment!

Peter Heritage , Mar 17, 2004; 04:03 p.m.

If you just want to work on photos, have a look at Picture Window Pro at www.dl-c.com which I have found to be perfectly adequate with my 48-bit files from a Minolta scanner. It's simpler than PhotoShop, more specialised (with a whole slew of photo-filters built-in) but not as wide-ranging. Also, not being the defacto standard, it doesn't have zillions of plugins available.

Denis Bergeron , Mar 17, 2004; 04:21 p.m.


It's the old Films Gimp ! it's only 32 bit by channel :-) can be find here : http://cinepaint.sourceforge.net/ It's OpenSource and Free ! Have must of the fonctionnality of the Gimp !

Lenny Kessler-Vaschetti , Mar 17, 2004; 04:30 p.m.

Adobe Photoshop CS

Photoshop CS (or 8) does handle everything in 48 bits. Expensive, but it is the only program I know that can do it...

Jon Austin , Mar 17, 2004; 04:55 p.m.

Photoshop is the 800-pound gorilla in this product space, and as such, is clearly uninhibited about throwing its weight around. (Excuse me for personifying a piece of software code.)

I've been using Corel Photo-Paint for years, and just started using Photoshop Elements 2 when it came bundled with my Canon 10D. I'm not impressed. It may be a natural interface for anyone coming to the digital darkroom from analog photography (although somehow, I doubt it), but for me, with years of desktop computing prior to getting interested in digital photography, its approach is counterintuitive and quirky.

I'm not too worked up about manipulating images in 48 bits, because I shoot JPEGs. But I'm seriously considering checking out Picture Window Pro, for the astonishing price of 90 bucks.

Ellis Vener , Mar 17, 2004; 04:57 p.m.

If you already havce a licensed version of Photoshop 5, 6 or 7, The upgrade to Photoshop CS is $169.00. PSCS addresses al of the issues you seem to have, but I don't try to write my own plug-ins ( just my own actions -- which are probably child's play to you.)

Mark Ci , Mar 17, 2004; 07:32 p.m.

PictureWindow works entirely in 48-bit.

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