Adobe CS5 FAQ

Ever since Adobe announced the impending release of the latest Creative Suite 5, there have been many questions circulating in various online communities and outlets.  Although I was not one of the beta testers, I’ve been following the developments rather closely, and have seen a lot of questions repeated over and over.  Many of the answers to these questions I’ve put together from reading various reliable outlets, including Adobe web pages, reading content from Adobe folks blogs, and from the fountain of information available to me as a NAPP member (and if you’re not a NAPP member, you should consider becoming one – it’s probably one of the best deals out there, including educational materials, discounts, and a ton of other member benefits)!

So, without further ado – here’s the most common questions I’ve seen on Adobe Creative Suite 5:

1.  I own  ***** – can I upgrade to CS5?

Pick your product, it doesn’t really matter too much if it’s a single product upgrade (not part of a suite).  If you want to upgrade  to Photoshop, CS5, here’s the list of products that are eligible for the upgrade path to CS5, courtesy of Adobe (I added the product to my shopping cart, and got this list of eligible products and the pricing path (upsell versus an upgrade):

  • Photoshop Elements 6, 7, or 8 on Windows – (upsell = $599)
  • Photoshop Elements 4, 6, or 8 on Mac  – (upsell = $599)
  • Photoshop CS4, CS3, or CS2 (Regular or Extended) – upgrade = $199

2.  What if I purchased CS4 recently – do I have to pay for the upgrade to CS5 now too?

While there is no official “window” from Adobe, all indicators suggest that if you have recently purchased CS4, you may be able to get an upgrade.  Some sites claim the window is between certain dates such as April 12th and August 10th, but I’ve not been able to verify this information independently so the site is not linked here

3.  What about Lightroom – can I upgrade to Cs5 from that since it’s part of the Adobe Photoshop family?

No.  Although there are similarities, Lightroom is a different software path than the Creative Suite, and you cannot upgrade from LR to CS5 anymore than you could upgrade a Dell to a Mac

4.  Speaking of Macs, can I upgrade my Windows software to a Mac equivalent or vice versa?

Adobe does allow for this in what is called a “cross-grade”.  You must sign a release that states you have destroyed the other media, and pay a small fee (I think it’s something like $20) to do this.

5.  What about converting from one Suite of products to another, or converting to a single product?

While I don’t have the space to cover extensive details on the many options, and this is not official Adobe policy (I could not find anything specifically addressing all the possible conversions), I think it’s a safe assumption that you can downgrade from a more expensive suite to a lesser expensive suite or product, but not vice versa.  So, say for instance you had the Master collection.  It is likely that you could downgrade that to a web collection or a design premium.  It is also likely that if you had a suite of products, you could downgrade to a single product within that suite.  However, adding additional products to your existing ownership for free is not likely.  As the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

6.  Are there any discounts available?

Of course there are – and if you are an eligible member of any one of a number of communities, you are eligible for discounts on products from Adobe.  The most common ones I know of include educational discounts, governmental agencies, and NAPP.  The other question that usually arises from the “discount” one is whether you can apply multiple discounts, and the answer here is no…Adobe does restrict you to one discount per purchase, so if you are a NAPP member and also a teacher or college student, you cannot apply both discounts.  Pick the one that gives you the best savings, and be happy to are eligible – many people are not.

7.  So, where do I purchase CS5?

You can’t yet – the announcement that Adobe made was kind of a teaser, to build excitement and to sort of “ramp up” for the eventual release date.  It’s all part of the marketing, hype, and advertising of upcoming products.   Also, keep in mind that Adobe, like any other software developer, has approved channels for distribution.  So, when it does become available, make sure you find a reseller in your area through their partner page.

8.  When will it be available for purchase?

Well, you can pre-order it any time you want.  But if you want an official release date, take a seat with everyone else outside of Adobe headquarters, because that information is not available (that I can find anyway).  There are several indicators that suggest the release will be in early to mid-May based on their history (Adobe usually does product releases on about an 18 month cycle, or ever year and a half) with the Creative Suite of products.

9.  What are the differences in all the packages?

Excellent question!  This is the one that vexes a lot of people, but thankfully, Adobe has put together a comparision page that not only show syou the products that go into each package, but the retail cost of each.  Rather than regurgitate all that information here in some confusing chart, simply bookmark this link:  Adobe Product Comparison Chart

10.  Are you going to upgrade?

Yes I am.  I will probably not be an early adopter, primarily because I have a couple other purchases to make first (hardware, a lens, and some lighting gear), but the advancements in CS5 are probably among the most significant of any version in the last 7 years!  I may also need to upgrade my computers to handle the  processing requirements.

That’s it – the top ten questions I’ve seen (and been asked) about Creative Suite 5!  Got your own questions?  I may not have the answers, but I can either give you my best guess, or pass the question on to someone who may know the answer, so feel free to sound off in the comments.  Also, if I got anything wrong, or if you can shed additional light, all contributions are welcome!

Happy shooting all and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

Building the Perfect Camera, Pt. 2

As you may recall, I recently started a topic on building the perfect camera.  I started listing my favorite “wish list” of features, and promised I would continue the list soon.  Well, as luck would have it, that “thread” of content continues today!  Here is the next set of five features I’d like to see:

  1. Megapixels – I really don’t make huge prints…16×20 is my usual upper limit, and if I need to go higher, post production tools can usually handle a notch or two higher.  So, for my purposes, I really wouldn’t want more than 15 MP.  Call me crazy, but I’d rather see larger pixels that blend nicer than smaller ones that produce more noise.
  2. Video – Yeah, it’s a staple in the P&S category and slowly creeping into the SLR ranks, so I may as well add it in here.  But let’s not get all lame and only throw in low end video quality…and if you think I’ll settle for the HD-like caliber of 720p, you’d be mistaken.  No, make it the full HD 1080p!  It’s already arrived, so also being realistic! 🙂
  3. Frame Rate – SLR’s ar ranging anywhere from 3 to as many as 18 fps.   I am not trying to capture a speeding bullet, nor am I a sports shooter for the NFL, but a frame rate on the order of 6-10 fps (raw) would be ideal.  Since I am only asking for a Megapixel count of roughly 15, it’s not like the sensor would be hard pressed, so again, very  realistic here, right?
  4. HDMI support – The Canon 1D Mark IV has it, so it clearly will become a staple of at least the higher end model SLR’s if it isn’t already, so I’d better have it here.  Besides, the ability to directly display movies and photos directly on your HD TV would be super cool!
  5. Internal wireless and Bluetooth – the EyeFi card is a neat technology, but really?  Think of the space a wireless card takes up these days and there is easily room inside an SLR body for that.  Let me push my jpgs from shoots directly to the web for sharing.  As for the Bluetooth, imagine being able to shoot and have your images pushed directly to a hard drive of 500GB sitting in your back pocket?  Awesome!

Forget the first five features?  Stop back here to give those a read and share your comments there.  Or, if you haven’t commented yet (or even if you have and there’s more you’d like to share) be sure to chime in with your own thoughts and feature requests for the ideal camera!  There’s more to come, but I promise, we’re almost done, so be sure to stop back some time soon for yet another 5 features in the DREAM CAMERA!  Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!  Any features you’ve thought of that I am still missing?  Care to share?  Don’t forget to sound off in the comments!

I’d also like to take a moment and thank those of you who have been perusing the archives of the blog.  Enough people have commented that the “49 Tips Cheat Sheet” I posted back in 2009 was missing that I decided to re-publish on request.  It’s available in the store tab here for a “Dollar Download”.  (Most attachments get deleted after being in the archives for 30 days, so here’s your chance to get a very handy guide for about 2 cents per tip!)

Last, but not least, a reminder that we’re starting to wrap up March as the halfway point has officially passed, so be sure to get your photos up in the Flickr contest thread for a chance to win a Cheetah Quickstand.  Details here.

The Best Photo Blogs for 2010


As photographers we are always seeking out new sources of information that can help us with our work – whether it be pixel-crunching sites, creative inspiration sites, or news and trending information sites.  As I go through my RSS feeds and Alltop favorites every day, over the past year, some were filtering to the top much more often.  Naturally, this happens every year, as has been the case for the past 3 years now.  When I started this annual event back in 2007, the number coincided with the year, so to wit, here are my TOP TEN PHOTO BLOGS FOR 2009.  This may serve as a good starting point for 2010, so the blog post is titled accordingly, even though this is more of a “Year in Review” type of writing regarding photography blogs.  As always, lists are subjective and others will have different thoughts and opinions, but nevertheless, here’s my faves (meaning these blogs are in my Alltop or RSS ):

  1. Joe McNally’s Blog – The perfect blend of tongue-in-cheek stories, and yet educational and fun to read!  This quickly ratcheted up to the top of my preferred favorites, and it should be in your list too! (And his books are of the same ilk:  read The Moment it Clicks and The Hotshoe Diaries as soon as possible if you haven’t already…)
  2. David DuChemin’s Blog – As David said it best – “Ahhh…..Vision!”  If you are yearning to touch the intangible and learn about creativity, David DuChemin’s blog is a must read!  (I hear he has a few books too!)
  3. Petapixel – Very similar to this one, in that it is informative, interesting, and almost always tied to photography.  He wisely started without a vendor association though, and it’s paid off in spades (he’s been around less than a year, and has double the readership).  Of course it could be that his content is pretty kick-butt and mine is just the meandering mind of an individual.  Nevertheless, a great read and congrats to them for the content they are putting out!
  4. Strobist – If you don’t know about David Hobby’s site, then you are in the dark (literally!), because it’s all about light!  Anything you want to know about photography lighting, this is the place to go.  With workshops, and primers for both the beginners and advanced shooters, this is an absolute must-read!
  5. Canon Rumors – What can I say?  I am a Canon guy, so I am always interested in the news and rumblings of Canon’s next great move in the digital photography realm, and this has become my premiere source of information on the web aside from Canon directly!
  6. Weekly Photo Tips – Authored by Scott Eccleston, this blog is a mixture of tips, tutorials, and personal thoughts on a variety of subjects to include gear, post processing, and such.  Worth the read just for the human aspect of photography.
  7. Photowalk Pro – Jeff is the de facto master at organizing photo walks, and although I’ve been on walks since before discovering his blog – his insights have helped me to organize better walks, be a better organizer, and his subsequent foray into photography (HDR) tutorials and photo books (a review on his book about the 50D is forthcoming!).  Definitely one worth adding to the reader!
  8. The Online Photographer – Not the usual fare, as TOP can get very professorial.  I learn a lot though, and gain insights and get creative inspiration from the photographers and works they discuss here.  The entire staff is great, but my favorite writers are Mike himself and Ctein!
  9. Photojojo – What a great blog, creative ways to use your photos all the time.  Not only are the ideas cool, but almost always they are highly economical.  Definitely for the DIY-er!  They also have great photo montages periodically, so also great for inspiring some creative vision!
  10. Photoshop Insider – Want to get the latest scoop on Photoshop and photography in general?  Scott has taken a a great Photoshop resource and in the last year, merged it into his own foray into photography from the perspective of being behind the camera.

There’s my top ten blogs for 2010.  It’s certainly not definitive, definitely biased, and subject to change at a moments notice, but as of today, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  What are your favorite photo-related blogs?  Now’s a chance to shamelessly promote your work (or your friends work) in the comments!