Photoshop – half price!

Sep 26, 2008 | Business | 11 comments

I thought that would get your attention. It is true to say that ever since Photoshop 3 was released we have been using the software for half the price of that paid by the majority of our other contemporaries. This is how you too can benefit from half price Photoshop and other goodies. We use a process known as version hopping. We miss out every other upgrade in order to save money and run our business more cost effectively. It cost us exactly the same to upgrade from Photoshop CS to CS3 as it did for others to upgrade from CS2 to CS3. Virtually all of our image adjustment can be done within CS anyway and the reasons for the upgrade were threefold; for training purposes, Intel processor compatibility for use with my laptop and extra RAW format capabilities. We see ourselves relying on Photoshop less and less now that Lightroom has become more sophisticated. Before you automatically upgrade and of your software ask yourself ‘how much more money will I make as a result of using the new software and can I wait until the next version?’

The same goes for computers and cameras too. I was delighted that Canon didn’t take the same upgrade path with the 5D as it did with the 20D. In the time that the 5D has been current the 20D became the 30D then the 40D now the 50D and there are going to be a lot of photographers locked into a continual upgrade psychology as a result.

Marko, the Lovegrove picture editor has a dual core Apple G5 PowerMac with 8Gb of ram that is now nearly 4 years old. It still works as fast as it did the day it was bought. The trouble is we will need to replace it for an Intel chipped model in order to make use of the new brush tool in Lightroom. This then is the right time to upgrade now that a real advantage is obvious. In the mean time there will have been perhaps as many as 10 upgrades in Apple’s product line to tempt us.

Julie (Lovegrove) still uses her 3 ½ year old Nikon D200. Yes we could have rushed out and bought her a D300 or even a D3 like so many other D200 users did a few months ago. Then came a D700 completely out of the blue to tempt the newly equipped D300 users into convincing themselves to buy a second body. Then of course it will be the turn of a D700x with a 16mp or 21mp sensor when it comes out in a few months time (speculation based on experience). Yes, Julie’s D200 is looking a bit dated and the guests at yesterdays wedding had newer and better cameras than us but that’s not the point. We got the pictures we wanted and more importantly the profit without the need to buy yet more cameras. Both our cameras (my 5D and Julie’s D200) will be replaced in the New Year as the next season gets underway with whatever equipment happens to be the best at the time. My message is let your business dictate your upgrade pace – not the equipment manufacturers.


PS: If you version hop or maximise the profit in your business in a way that would benefit other photographers please let us know your tips and tricks using the comments box.


  1. damien

    Hi Nigel,

    I’m not sure your screen will be up to picture editing. CRTs of more than 4 years old start to suffer from a lack of evenness across the screen. Fujitsu Siemens are best known for office PC gear and not graphics pro kit.

    Go for a new screen if you can afford it. One that has a native resolution of at least 1600 pixels wide. The iMac screen is likely to knock spots off the Siemens screen plus it will take up less space, use less electricity and not cause you blindness.

    We used to edit on LaCie 22″ CRTs and for many years we put up with screens without linearity until LCD screens caught up and became good. Now it’s LCD every time.

  2. Nigel Bayliss

    Thanks again. One last question…do you have any recommendations for a screen. I currently have a Fujitsu Siemens CRT screen that I have calibrated, which doesn’t seem too bad(?!), so I could use that with a Macbook Pro or imac, thogh I’m aware it’s not the best model on earth…but it is a crt, so that’s a good point!

  3. martin

    Dunno about a new iMac. There is a new MBP 15″ with a matt screen option. The iMac 24″ screen suffers from a number of problems. It is way too bright though investing £100 in coloreyes pro and a the same again for a suitable calibration device will help a lot. Even with coloreyes I find it inconsistent with skin tones – a set that looks consistent on the iMac will have skin tones all over the place when viewed on our Mac Pro’s Eizo monitor. But the Eizo costs about the same as an iMac so I guess you get what you pay for :)

  4. Nigel Bayliss

    Thanks for your advice chaps. I’d heard a rumour that a new imac was coming out with a more ‘professional’ screen…but that may just be a rumour!

  5. damien

    Hi Nigel,

    Martin has eloquently laid out the facts. My advice is always to buy new computers not second hand ones. Any new Mac will be up for the job but some will be better than others. Photoshop can use 4Gb of ram but if you install 8Gb there’s plenty for the system and Lightroom too.

    Software developers work with current spec machines and do not expect much in the way of backwards compatibility. So if you do go for an older machine, the version of Photoshop that was around when the machine was new is likely to have the best optomisation. Photoshop CS does all you need to get going if you convert your RAWs in Lightroom.

    My model advice is different to Martins. I’d get a Macbook Pro and an external screen so you have the best of both worlds. Get a Drobo too for your pictures if the budget allows. Both set ups have advantages.


  6. martin

    Nigel. There’s no such thing as an intel G5. Its either an intel or a power PC the last of which was the G5. Adobe just announced that the next iterations of Photoshop etc will not run on power PC so you don’t want one of those. Adobe apps (Lightroom, Photoshop) are so badly optimised for multi core machines that we notice no practical difference between our 8-core xeon Mac Pro and our dual core iMac. There are other reasons to get a Mac Pro, ability to add lots of disk easily being one. I think if I were you I’d get an iMac and a decent external monitor. Martin.

  7. Nigel Bayliss

    I’m looking at moving from pc to mac to run Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4, and didn’t realize that Lightroom 2 needed an intel chip to run the brush tool…so I’m even more confused as to what model/spec I should be looking for. (I was looking at old G5’s, but should I now be looking at a new intel G5…or even an imac(..isn’t that a hair removing thing?)…or can I get away with a minimac or macbook pro?) Any advice would be welcome!

  8. Dirk van der Werff

    I get some really, really strange looks and comments about the fact that I still use a Canon 10D alongside my 5D ….

    I’ve been a pro for 30 years and used to keeping favourite cameras for 10 years or more….. and as tempting as 20D, 30D, 40D and 50D may be to the amateur photographer, a pro has, as you say in the article, no need / reason to upgrade un-necessarily

    The 10D is now out on it’s feet to be honest, but it has paid for itself (£1100 new…) scores of times over the past 5 years.

    It produces 6 meg images and does 3 frames a second (well, nowadays with a new battery about 1.8 probably … ), but I don’t REALLY need any more for 90% of the images I produce, and if I do, then the 5D is the main camera ….

    Most guests have better cameras and lenses than me at a wedding, but I consistently beat the pants off their efforts …. thank God!

    As my old Chief photographer told me, it’s the person behind the camera, not the camera he has that creates the images.

    A pro with a box brownie could still create a better image than many amateurs with the latest singing, dancing digital cameras ……. IMHO !

  9. damien

    Lightroom 2 is marginally better than 1. I would say hang on until 3. Yes there is a new brush but it is slower than a lasso and curves combination in Photoshop. The brush is next to useless on our 4 year old G5 computer as it is so processor intensive. We have version 2 because we teach Lightroom and our delegates expect us to have the latest software in the training room. Lightroom 1 is really great value.

    I’ll be buying the latest PowerMac next week and I’m sure it will work well with Lightroom 2. Our existing G5 will go to our new inhouse graphic designer.


  10. Rosalind Hobley

    That’s interesting. I’ve been holding off getting the update of Lightroom because I’ve been so happy with version 1, but it sounds as if you think that might be the exception to the rule?

  11. Tom

    Good points.

    Though one thing I have noticed is that the “old” upgrade model was megapixel based.

    Therefore as 6mp produced a decent A4 print, and 8mp A3 there was no need to rush out and pick up a 12mp camera. However with the 5D mk11, and D3/D700 the jump becomes much more about the advanages of full frame, and shooting at high ISO with minimal noise.

    Certainly the ability to shoot with the same level of noise that was previously at ISO 400, at ISO 1600 or even 3200 means that an upgrade now certainly gives an advanatage in not just what we shoot on but how we shoot….

    Tempting as it is and regardless of business model I would hold out for another 6 months or so to see what happens to prices in the current economic climate…


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