14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The De Facto Standard With Good Reason,
This review is from: Adobe Photoshop CS4 (PC) (DVD-ROM)
I've been using the full Photoshop CS4 for almost a year now, following an upgrade from Elements 6. Is it worth the premium? For me yes. The big feature most likely to be missed in Elements is Layer Masking. Once you've used Layer Masks, there's really no going back. Another great feature in CS4 is the ability to see what you're about to paint when in clone stamp mode. This is surprisingly useful. The whole product is just packed with feature after feature to help you tweak and tune your images to perfection. I couldn't live without it. Putting the price into context, if you own several thousand pounds worth of camera equipment, what's a few hundred spent on software which will have an equal impact on the final output? If you're a pro, then this should be your first port of call. Forget Elements. One important note however - please *do* check Adobe's supported hardware list for Photoshop CS4 as several graphically intensive features require hardware acceleration supported on only certain higher-end cards. My card is an ATI Radeon X1900XT 512MB, and it works faultlessly on my PC. You can actually pick these cards up second hand for double figure sums on popular auction sites at the present time as gamers trade up to new models, so there's no need to break the bank. Of course, this product couples extremely well with Lightroom 2.0, and I'd probably recommend that if you have Elements but not Lightroom, and you're deciding whether to spend your money on Lightroom or an upgrade to Photoshop CS4, go for Lightroom. You'll most likely get a lot more use out of it, and it will totally revolutionise your workflow. I'd also recommend getting yourself a good quality monitor which has even colour mapping from edge to edge and good brightness control. You will never produce well colour balanced images if your monitor is out of whack. Happy editing!