Recommend a good, basic photo editor ?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by James, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. James

    James Guest

    Thanks again to all you folks who responded to my recent post about choosing
    a lens or lenses. I got very good information on that which I appreciated,
    and then the thread fell into a tailspin of insults and tirades. Be that
    as it may, I still thank all of you that provided very good information.

    I am very much a photo novice, but I read enough to know that a basic photo
    editor is essential to getting decent final results on some images. I want
    a very basic, (hopefully free, but not a requirement) photo editor. I
    DON"T need anything fancy or with a high learning curve, or features that I
    would never use. I don't want a program that takes control over the filing
    and organization of my photos. I simply want to be able to adjust color/
    sharpness/ contrast, etc.

    I have read and heard of Picassa, Photoshop Elements (some folks have
    said an earlier version was better, I believe Version 7 but not sure) DXO,
    and Lightroom 3.

    Can any of you comment on these four and similar photo editing tools?
    Remember, just the basic, easy to use editor, with moderate learning curve
    for an older fellow.

    Thank you !!

    James, Feb 14, 2011
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  2. James

    Chemiker Guest

    For what you describe, Adobe makes a product called PhotoDeluxe, which
    is sometimes bundled with inkjet printers. For a beginner, it's easy
    and cheap (free). I use Paintshop Pro x3, but that's probably overkill
    and costs $100 bucks. Dirt cheap is Hamrick's VurPro/VuePrint, which
    allows you to resize, change tints, increase/decrease contrast and
    brightness, but lacks the red-eye correction feature and saturation
    control, as it is not oriented to correcting photos so much as images
    in general. A recycled copy of CorelDraw Essentials would help, as it
    contains a lite version of PhotoPaint. First, I would check the
    software that came with your printer to see if you already have
    something in house that you already paid for.

    Chemiker, Feb 14, 2011
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  3. James

    Savageduck Guest

    Quite simply, for now go with the current edition of Photoshop Elements
    PE 9. That will give you all you need for RAW conversion, cataloging,
    and more than basic editing.

    It will also give you an upgrade path to full versions of Photoshop if
    your interest develops further.

    There are certainly other options such as Gimp, Picassa, which will all
    have thier advocates, but PS-Elements is going to give you what you
    need with the least frustration.

    There are those who will talk of the bundled OEM versions of PSE found
    with some scanners and other hardware. These are usually earlier
    versions and might not be capable of processing RAW files once you take
    that step.

    Buying direct from Adobe you will be paying full price $99. Other
    vendors will have fair discounts. For example Amazon has it available
    for $69.99.
    Savageduck, Feb 14, 2011
  4. James

    Irwell Guest

    Irfanview is a free download, has all the requirements you list.
    Lots of free plug-ins also if you want to get sophisticated.
    Irwell, Feb 14, 2011
  5. James

    ray Guest

    I could certainly recommend GIMP though it would indeed have a lot of
    features you would not need for some time. It is reasonably small,
    effective and free.
    ray, Feb 15, 2011
  6. James

    philo Guest

    Very good recommendation
    Though I have Gimp installed, Irfanview is what I use most of the time
    philo, Feb 15, 2011
  7. James

    Peter N Guest

    For an inexpensive editor, I like Photoshop Essentials, or Corel Paint
    Shop Pro. they are both easy to learn and not very expensive. You will
    find lots of support on the web for both products. I personally found
    Paint shop pro easier to learn, with less of a futz factor than
    Photoshop Essentials. Both products have decent size adjustment algorithms.

    Also, some of these programs are included free with many accessories.
    Wacom tablets and some printers are examples.
    There are also some programs available free. The devotees of those are
    sometimes like religious fanatics. While they work, I am more interested
    in the program with the lowest futz factor. I look to produce photos for
    enjoyment. The means is just a tool. For me, the easier to use the better.
    Although I currently use Photoshop CS5, because of its capabilities, for
    some adjustments such as animal eye adjustment I use Corel's Paint Shop Pro.
    Peter N, Feb 15, 2011
  8. James

    Chemiker Guest

    OK, maybe I'm off base..... I thought GIMP was available only for the
    Linux platform. DId I miss something here?

    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  9. James

    Chemiker Guest

    Good thought.

    I have Irfanview on my main system, but can't remember when I last
    used it. It's a freebie and good to use while you consider your other
    options. Simple, virtually no learning curve, and reliable. Did I say

    Alex, slapping forehead
    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  10. James

    Pete Guest

    Thanks again to all you folks who responded to my recent post about
    Yep, I'll tell you something that I've never seen posted here in over a
    year. Assuming you are using a Nikon DSLR then fully learn all of its
    Picture Controls and other adjustments and you will hardly ever need an
    editor for anything other than levelling the horizon or copping and
    scaling your images.

    If you use a non-Nikon RAW converter you will be throwing away an
    appreciable amount of money that you have spent on the excellent
    firmware in the camera, which is the main thing that gets the cameras
    rave reviews. By all means, use whatever editor and spend hundreds of
    hours learning to tweak the adjustments until it begins to match the
    camera JPEG or, if you don't like the camera JPEG then buy a Canon,
    Sony, Pentax, or whatever you do like.

    Gosh, I think I've just kicked a hornets' nest...
    Pete, Feb 15, 2011
  11. James

    Chemiker Guest

    FWIW: PaintShop *Photo* Pro has, built in, some limited HDR apps. You
    can't do totally awesome tonemapping, but it does allow the basics on
    up to 9 images. I don't know about PSE, so I can't comment there. I
    think that the one-touch correction in PhotoPaint, which is surprising
    good for the novice, is also found in PaintShop Photo Pro. I'll have
    to check.

    Didn't Kodak have a mini app like this some time ago? I'm pretty sure
    HP did. I Think HP used to bundle it with their printers.

    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  12. James

    Savageduck Guest

    GIMP works fine on my Mac, but you have to enable X11. Personally the
    only thing GIMP has over CS is that it is free.
    I continue with CS5.

    James can certainly try GIMP, but I think he is looking for a simpler
    solution, and my suggestion remains Photoshop Elements 9.
    Sometimes you really get what you are paying for.
    Savageduck, Feb 15, 2011
  13. James

    Peter N Guest

    Color inversions, content aware fill, BW conversions that make the in
    camera firmware look flat, masking, ultra sharpening, image
    Nah! there will be no replies and even fewer that become acrimonious.
    Peter N, Feb 15, 2011
  14. James

    ray Guest

    Yes, you did. Also available for MS and MAC.
    ray, Feb 15, 2011
  15. James

    Pete Guest

    My mistake, I thought this was a photography newsgroup.
    Pete, Feb 15, 2011
  16. James

    Chemiker Guest

    Thanks, I didn't know that. From my kids, who use Photoshop in one or
    another of its reincarnations, I understand PSE is stable, reliable
    and mostly affordable. I might buy it one day, after I understand all
    the features of PaintShop PhotoPro and Corel GSX4. Usually, just about
    the time I get to understanding about 75%, there is a new version out.

    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  17. James

    Chemiker Guest

    I owe you one, James. I used GIMP in a previous life and just found a
    download for it, that works in XP-Pro. I *will* visit that app again.
    I appreciate your pointer.

    Alex, whose kids all use MAC's.
    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  18. James

    Savageduck Guest

    Just to keep things straight. James is the OP making the request for
    Ray is the responder recommending GIMP and who noted it was available
    for MS and Mac.
    Savageduck, Feb 15, 2011
  19. James

    Chemiker Guest

    Noted. Time for bed. 'Nite, all.

    Alex, with Brain-fade in effect.
    Chemiker, Feb 15, 2011
  20. James

    tony cooper Guest

    Put me down for recommending Adobe Elements 9.0. It will do more than
    you specify that you want to do, and it will cost you $70 to $90, but
    it will allow you to grow in your editing. You can do the basics
    without much of a learning curve. In fact, it has "auto" settings for
    many of the adjustments.

    There are hundreds of tutorials and video tutorials online that will
    teach you how to improve your skills.
    tony cooper, Feb 15, 2011
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