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on 21 April 2009
I switched to Photoshop Elements 7 from Corel Paint Shop Pro X, mainly because most of the digital photography textbooks that I have been reading (and their attached tutorial DVDs) seem to use Photoshop Elements as their photo manipulation programme of choice. I was also looking for a programme a little more advanced than Corel Paint Shop Pro. Photoshop Elements is not for the faint hearted. It is a big, powerful aid to photo manipulation that contains lots of hidden depths, and ideally you need some training to get the best out of it.

That said, for most elementary tasks the software is straightforward enough, and it makes a doddle of jobs such as red-eye correction, image rotation, cropping, and sharpening. Side-by-side "before and after" images greatly simplify the task of applying changes in lighting and colour. Entering text on the image is remarkably easy in comparison with Paint Shop Pro, and the clone stamp tool seems a lot more effective in Photoshop Elements than in other photo manipulation programmes that I have tried. Photoshop Elements allows the user to quickly magnify the image almost to individual pixel level, and this allows images to be altered with as much subtlety as the user desires. There is a huge Adobe user's guide available as a downloadable PDF file, and there are plenty of tutorials available free of charge on the Internet.

I found Photoshop Elements easy to install on my very basic Asus Barebones desktop computer. It opens up quickly, runs smoothly, and doesn't seem to have had the slightest effect on the computer's speed or efficiency. One is frequently aware of the programme's very considerable hidden potential, lying just below the surface. With the assistance of tutorials, I have already enjoyed exploring some of this potential, and I look forward, when time permits, to further experimentation. In short, amazingly good value for the price, and highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 2 June 2009
I use Adobe Photoshop CS4
My daughter wanted to do some basic manipulation of images, but CS4 is a really steep learning curve, not suitable at all.

I got Elements 7 for her as the simpler interface and helpful starter screens direct users to the section they need; with hand-holding for usage once there.

I tried it and found that by going straight into the program, its still had the really powerful tools that Photoshop has, just not all the advanced and extra tools - which were of no interest to most users anyhow!

Installation was painless, the program is very able in setting itself up and runs well on a medium powered machine, no hassles.
Compared with the competition at this level, Photoplus and Paint shop pro
It far exceeds the capabilities of the first and is far less crash prone than the (at times) painful paint shop, which I used for 10 years until it got bloated and unreliable.

So far my daughter has had no problems using Elements, its intuitive and simply to use for most effects and she loves the extra levels of 'undo' and 'effect previews' - always a good thing when experimenting.

Amazon reduced the price dramatically-prompting me to buy it immediately;
well worth the investment and I'd say good for starters, intermediates and experienced users that don't want to pay hundreds more (literally) for the full blown Photoshop.
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Presently on PcPro's `A-List', Adobe Elements is a cut down version of Adobe's £500+ Photoshop/Photoshop Extended CS4, and costs considerably less while still having a lot of useful photo editing capabilities. Photoshop CS4 has a steep learning curve, but Photoshop elements is far more home-user friendly. A lot of the program is geared towards image storage and management of the photos on your hard drive, helping with emailing, web output and scrapbooks of your images. The program can auto-downloads your images from the camera to folders, set up using the date, and can even process the images, say automatically removing red-eye, while it does it. Using stacks you can set up image databases [smart albums] using keywords like names, places, events, etc.., and you can even search using visual tags within the image. That said, I shun the image database options offered by Photoshop Elements and Extended, preferring the simplicity of logical folder names instead. Also, like PhotoShop, the image database side isn't seamlessly integrated into the image editing side [to the point where it's actually annoying]. The trendy charcoal 'white text on grey' interface is also style over function, you find it harder to read than black text on white, and more importantly to tell which photo window is active - professional PhotoShop CS3 users are far better served with standard Windows colours.

New to Elements 7 is a new Quick Fix tool to soften surfaces while keeping the edge and detail sharp - i.e. a blur tool, which can help to remove unwanted image noise. Plus there's a new Scene Cleaner tool that can brush away undesirable objects from a photo [so you can ditch that car or tourists from the view] and there's now a Smart Brush which lets you instantly apply effects to a selected area of the image. Plus Element's 7 sports a new single step `whiten teeth', 'make grass greener' and `make the sky blue' tool - but this is little more than streamlining tools within Quick Select and Adjustment Layer Presets that were available on Elements 6. Besides Adobe's suggestion of using the tool to whiten teeth and add a suntan to say Aunt Doris's face may make her look a little ridiculous. Also new in Element's 7 will be a free subscription to Photoshop.com, a special service Adobe has devised to bring friends together by providing quick access to on-line backup, storage, and sharing capabilities. You get 2GB of on-line storage, `enough for up to 1,500 photos', so you can view your photos from virtually anywhere. Thus Photoshop Elements goes `Facebook', allowing you to share your photos `in fun, interactive ways via invitation-only'. For these `Online Albums' you will get new [quite fun] animated templates delivered to Elements on a regular basis. There will also be a Photoshop.com ` Plus' membership offering 20 Gb [15,000 photos] of on-line photo storage, but that will require you paying an annual fee. The first year's 20 Gb subscription is included in Adobe's `Elements 7 Plus' [but not this standard version].

And all the old Element 6's tools are there as well. For editing you have a set of 'quickfix' options or you can load the full image editor for greater manual control: such as adjust sharpness, correct camera distortion, levels, hue and skin colour. Naturally you have standard tools like crop and adjust image size (pixels) as well. Plus there are step-through guides [guided edit] to help you get there. The software will also integrate with scanners twain interfaces if you are into scanning film, and the Fill Light [shadow/highlight] tool is pretty essential for bringing out detail in shadows from any slide/negative scan. Plus Elements can handle RAW camera images, although I use TIFF/jpg (Elements can save in any common image format).

System requirements are quite high: CD drive, 1Gb system RAM, XP or Vista, 2GHz processor, and a Direct-X 9 graphics card [and Adobe installers can reject systems that don't meet the minimum spec]. Elements 7 perhaps isn't a crucial upgrade from Elements 6 or even 5, but for new home users, or those with older versions, it's very powerful photo editing and image database software from the market leaders. The new 'Scene Cleaner' tool should have been the 'killer app' for those considering upgrading, but it is little more than Elements 6's old PhotoMerge Group application and it requires a series of photos where one has the background free to copy across [and it sometimes gets the exposure wrong making the added bit look rather obvious].

Adobe Elements 7 has only two real competitors at the price: Paint Shop Pro X2 and Serif PhotoPlus X2. Both these programs are also excellent and worthy of consideration, with PhotoPlus's strength being it's about as powerful but rather cheaper to buy and upgrade. Likewise Corel Paint Shop pro X2 occasionally offers a bit more than Elements [layer masks, and curves], is also cheaper and a tad easier to use, although it can be buggy [not Adobe's strong point on first version release either - so install those patches]. Professional users and some SLR enthusiasts will still head towards Adobe's semi-automated PhotoShop Darkroom 2.0 and the fantastically expensive Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended, although even at work we have Adobe Elements on a few imaging workstations for casual users, where the high cost of PhotoShop CS4 Extended simply isn't justified. That said experienced Photoshop CS4 users will rapidly find Elements 7 lacking in a few key features they are used to.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 is also available to buy as a cheaper double pack with the new Adobe Premiere Elements 7 video editing software, which should be even better value than this upgrade. Plus this double pack qualifies for a large educational discount for non-commercial use if you, or a child in the house, are in full time education [from primary school to college]. Similar large educational discounts apply to much of Adobes software. Those buying for College/School department use will save even more.
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on 12 March 2009
No question it's the best. However unless you're a genius you'll find yourself needing far more than the minimal 'Help' supplied to get the best out of it. There's nothing it can't do, but a lot you may be unable to do as yet, so it can be frustrating. If you have limited previous experience 'Photoshop Elements 7 in easy steps', Nick Vandome, is a good jumping-off point; 'How to Cheat in Photoshop Elements 7' David Asche/Steve Caplin a useful follow-on to this.
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on 26 May 2009
I have been buying and using Elements since it first came out. There were huge differences between v1 and v2 and between v2 and v4 - but versions 5 and 7 (perhaps it's the odd numbers?) are in between versions with no real enhancements to shout about. Yes, Version 7 has a different splash screen heralding its features - but I cannot see any real substantive improvement on version 6.

Version 6 introduced the grey/black interface - making screen shots for tutorial materials very difficult to print and often difficult to read. This is continued in v7 and I wish they would give a retro option to revert to a white background.

Also for some strange reason the use of the zoom via a mouse wheel is not default and has to switched on in Options - rather strange.

Of course it is still good value - but not if you have Version 6 - or even version 5. It might be worth looking for an earlier version second hand than going for this release.
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on 25 January 2009
Having used Adobe's earlier versions of PSE, version 7 was an improved version of version 6, with a lot more added menus. Installed quick and had no problems running programs. I've read and heard of some people finding this latest version a resource hog. Well, it is. So check your system specs before you buy. As my machine is well specced, I've had no problems at all. Plenty of RAM is required. Only thing that I found not to my liking is the print options, as I use an Epson R1800. Rather confusing if you intend to use the ICC profiles. I found it easier to edit in PSE 7, then save as TIFF lossless and print using Epson's own EPP module. Gives brilliant results. If you have never used Adobe before, unlike earlier versions, this version has a guided section, which is helpful if you find it hard to understand. Some of it is!. In summary, if your PC has the software requirements, then this version of PSE is one to look at.
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on 16 February 2009
Program works perfectly, but is hard to figure out for a newbie. I've used Elements 2 before ages ago, but this is'nt quite the same. I found the brownish background to be a complete pain. the Icons are hard to make out against the muddy background. Had I known about the non-white background ,I would have opted for Elements 6 ( after researching it first!!!! )my own fault I suppose, but I cant think of a good reason to support this particular choice of colour.
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on 8 April 2009
When my p.c. crashed recently I decided PS Elements would do enough of what I used to do on PS CS 2 at a fraction of the cost. It doesn't. I've gone back to CS.
That said though, this is an amazing piece of kit for the price and has been tailored with beginners in mind. Many of the tools are automatic but still allow plenty of tweaking afterwards. The stitching tool for panoramas is incredibly good, much better than the one in my old version of CS. For a small outlay PS Elements could make a big improvement to your pictures. Relative to what I've already spent on cameras, lenses and p.c.'s it's an absolute bargain.
I can't rate it higher than 3 stars because I found limitations that I personally couldn't settle for, but for your typical amateur photographer who wants to get the best out of his equipment I would highly recommend it.
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on 11 December 2009
I downloaded a trial version of PS Elements 8 to have a play for 30 days free. I noticed so many reviewers of Elements 7 said it was silly to upgrade as there was little new in Elements 8. I got Elements 7, at a bargain price from one of the independent sellers at Amazon for a fraction of the "Boxed" version price. I must say it is a high spec piece of software for the cost! I have used Adobe CS for a few years and have not found much missing that 95% of users need to enhance and edit photos and images. There are just slightly different ways of doing your tasks in Elements. The online tutorials will help enormously with anyone new to this type of software. I have also just upgraded to Windows 7 and it seems to work fine, on my PC anyway. So I would say save some of your hard earned cash and get PSE 7 unless the few upgrade items on PSE8 are just what you need.
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on 25 February 2009
Upgraded from Photoshop Elements 2, which did the job but getting a bit long in the tooth. Avoided previous versions as they seemed to have problems. Elements 7 does everything I need at a very good price. Thoroughly recommended
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