Customer Reviews: Adobe Photoshop CS5 [Download]
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on March 12, 2011
My main interest is photography and after using Photoshop Elements for many years I decided to see what Photoshop CS5 would offer. This software package comes with Bridge which is a Browser that will help you keep track of photos by adding key words, and ratings, etc. It will let you open photos then send them to Photoshop. If you shoot RAW photos Adobe Camera Raw is also included. My first impression of these three elements is very positive. I was especially impressed with Adobe Camera Raw. This very capable program will allow you to do most of the adjustments that a photographer will need to do for non-destructive adjustment of exposure, color, sharpness, spot removal, cropping and more. Bridge is great for organizing photos for projects using other Adobe software along with Photoshop. For organizing hundreds or thousands of photos I think Photoshop Elements Organizer is a little better than Bridge. I think the Elements Organizer is a data base where as Bridge is a browser so PSE Organizer will keep track of and show thumbnails photos on external drives or DVDs even when they are off line. As for Photoshop itself it is an awesome piece of software with an amazing capability. You can find plenty of reviews on-line. There is quite a learning curve for this package so I think you need to get a good book on the subject since there is none included. There are quite a lot of on-line video tutors available however. I suggest you check out the Russell Brown Photoshop Tutor on-line. He has several excellent videos free to view also check out Adobe TV, this may be a good way to review the program before purchase.

One big problem I had is this: I wanted to use my existing Photoshop Elements 8 Organizer, to keep track of photos, with Photoshop but these two programs don't play together well. When a Raw file is passed on to Adobe Camera Raw version 6.3 things work ok but when done with ACR the photo will not be passed back to the Organizer whether or not the photo is opened in Photoshop CS5. Using a JPEG photo sent directly to Photoshop seems to work ok however so it looks like the problem may be with ACR. I didn't see a way to open a JPEG into ACR from the Organizer, you can with Bridge. I sent a notice about this to Adobe support and got a reply that since my PS Elements 8 is not supported I would have to purchase support even though the problem could be in Photoshop or ACR which are supported. A web search revealed that this is apparently a bug going back several versions. One blogger was told to buy Lightroom. So don't plan on using Photoshop with Elements Organizer for raw files and don't count on Adobe support for help. You could pay for the support but may still find this fruitless. Of course you may not encounter this problem (I'm using Win 7 Home premium 64 bit). Photoshop Elements will do both Asset Management plus photo editing. To do the same with Photoshop you will need to use Bridge or a better solution for Photographers is to use Lightroom, an asset management program. The Lightroom + Photoshop option costs 10 times more than Elements alone however.

Bottom line: If you are starting out in photo editing I suggest Photoshop Elements and see if that will meet your needs. If not then move on to Lightroom which has the same capabilities as Adobe Camera Raw plus asset management however you will still need an editor. You can use the Elements Editor with Lightroom and if you what even more capabilities then get Photoshop for your editor. Photoshop, Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw has a learning curve of many hours, which could be fun. Elements also will take a lot of time but a lot of the knowledge you learn for Elements is also useful with Photoshop but plan on getting a book for either. You can learn this software on-line but I found that I would tend to bounce around from topic to topic where as a book leads you through a more logical flow. For PS Elements I used Philip Andrews Advanced Photoshop Elements 7 for Digital Photographers also available from Amazon and found it excellent. If you are a Pro or want to do graphic design then Photoshop is the only way to go. I wish Adobe would offer a photographers version of Photoshop that included Lightroom rather than or in addition to Bridge.
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Adobe Photoshop has long been one of the standard graphic and photographic editing applications on the market. Its cross-platform sophistication reaches further than just features and capability, it has been a leader in its field with many applications following in its footsteps.

Last year, Adobe released its Creative Suite 5 (CS5) upgrade that further expands the program's capabilities into the world of modern digital photography. CS5 continues its standard toolset of editing gizmos, including a host of adjustment and transform filters that can perform an enormous amount of image manipulation. Those involved in the development of website graphics and image manipulation will be happy to see these features still intact, but the logical question is, what's new? Is it worth the investment to upgrade? How will it benefit me?

These are all good questions and the answers focus primarily on enhancements to digital imaging in the modern era of digital photography. CS5 has been enhanced to fully support the high definition resolution (HDR) capabilities of modern digital cameras. These HDR cameras contain high dynamic range sensors that increase bit rates from 12-bit to 14-bit RAW files. This four-fold increase in digital information packs an enormous amount of added information in picture details, such as shadows.

The new CS5 HDR features enable multiple exposures to be combined to create images with stunning realism. Past Photoshop versions supported HDR, but its use was limited and difficult to use. Photoshop CS5 has enhanced HDR performance with an easier interface that no longer need multiple exposures the create HDR photographs. Multiple exposures can be created from a single exposure using HDR Toning, which simulates an HDR photograph.

New tools are also added to enhance image editing. Puppet Wrap tags portions of an image, then that image portion can be reshaped. Think of a drooping daisy. With Puppet Wrap, the stem of the daisy can be tagged and the daisy reshaped so the stem is no longer dropping, but straight.

Content aware fill is a feature that turned heads at the Photoshop World 2010 conference. Content aware fill combines the patch tool and the spot healing brush and expands on its performance with stunning results. Objects within an image can be removed and the image reworked such that it's nearly impossible to detect the object was ever there.

Automatic lens correction has been added with powerful features that compensate for lens distortion. This new feature uses three correcting algorithms that fix various types of lens distortion: chromatic aberration, geometric distortion, and vignetting. The results are really amazing. An image with fish eye distortion can be corrected with seemingly perfect results.

Another area where CS5 excels is in the area of visual noise reduction (image sharpening). CS5 contains a new Camera RAW 6 format that makes it very easy to remove noise from images taken with high ISO settings. An area of improvement for future Photoshop releases is to extend this feature so noise reduction settings can be viewed even when the existing image isn't viewed in its actual size. Currently, to see the result of any setting, the image needs to be zoomed out to its original size.

CS5 has an added minibridge module that enhances image organization by switching between Bridge and Photoshop. This makes locating images much more efficient. This addition is an example of dozens of new, smaller enhancements that assist in efficiency. There are numerous added developments that enhance straightening, cropping, conversions, and more.

CS5 also provides 3D brushes and warping tools with Adobe's Repousse, which converts a 2D, flat image to an image with a 3D relief. This can be immensely helpful for the development of website graphics where buttons and icons are designed to pop off the screen.

The system requirements for CS5 are the same as prior versions with full support for 64-bit systems. Cross-platform 64-bit support enables images of much larger size to be opened with increased speed.

Overall, Photoshop CS5 is an impressive piece of work that increases the application's performance to meet today's digital imaging needs. Its added tools and features make this version arguably the most impressive and important release to date. With added content management features and support for its past feature base, CS5 is a version that gives those who have been holding out a real reason to upgrade.
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on March 30, 2011
I am a photographer and I use Photoshop primarily for editing photos. I would consider it essential for any professional photographer. Hobbyists can certainly use it but the cost may be a little steep. CS5 simply gives the user more flexibility in manipulating images than any other editing software I have used. CS5's new features such as Content Aware Fill work like magic. The only negative is that it is not as user friendly as other photo editing applications. There is a steep learning curve and you could dedicate years to learning how to harness all of its capabilities. Fortunately there are plenty of books and online resources to help. If you are serious about photography and demand the best possible images, then Photoshop CS5 is the way to go.
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on March 28, 2011
I have wanted to upgrade from PSE 8 to CS5 but Adobe's upgrade program was going to cost me about $499. When Amazon offered it at $259 plus a bit off more with a sale and free shipping, I jumped at it. It is a big learning curve in technology but for creative purposes allows a lot more to be done. That said, there are not a lot of the presets that you find in Elements and you do not load all the brushes into it. It becomes extremely slow in starting if you do. However, it allows you to keep them in a separate folder and then access them within the program. Bridge is part of CS5 and most for me far more useful in editing than the photoshop program itself. Since it is included, that's not a problem, simply edit in Bridge and create in Photoshop. I'd advise anyone putting this amount of money out to try the 30 day trial first!
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on August 16, 2010
All I have to say is paired with Lightroom 3 Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the undisputed king of the hill. I figured after about 4 years learning the ropes using Elements 5.0 it was time to take it to the next level. The transition from elements to CS was painless one, having nearly mastered Adobe entry level editor I felt right at home with CS5. Now monsterous 30 layered projects are handled with such great ease I one can only smile with delight:). Yes its expensive, but giving whats at your command its easily worth the cash.
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on July 21, 2011
Hey everyone; Photoshop is a brilliant product as usual. I just want to add a quick FYI here about DRM:

The Photoshop license you are buying with your money is good for 2 *PLATFORM-LOCKED* installs. That is, if you buy the Windows discs, you get 2 Windows installs; if you buy the Mac discs, you get 2 Mac installs. I just spent almost an hour with Adobe customer support and got escalated twice, at which point the super-supervisor refused to escalate me any further because "you will be wasting everyone's time, and everyone will give you the exact same answer, which is that it is simply how the licensing works, not just for Photoshop but for every Adobe product."

(He must not have known about Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (Win/Mac).)

I was pretty disappointed; honestly, I would have felt fine about not having installs on different platforms if only someone had been able to explain why. "That's just how it works" is a very common non-answer which is just another way of saying "I don't know".


Windows install + Windows install: $670
Mac install + Mac install: $670
Windows install + Mac install: $1,340
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 12, 2010
For whatever reason, Adobe decided that scanning is not an important function for photoshop users. they have done away with twain. there is a klugie patch, but the functionality is not the same. 90 percent of what i do on photoshop involves scanning, so I've uninstalled cs5 and gone back to cs3. what a waste of money. the bells and whistles are not worth the loss of functionality.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)

Are you using the latest TWAIN driver from

TWAIN plug-in | Photoshop CS4, CS5:

Benjamin is correct, many issues with TWAIN are with the older drivers from the scanner manufacturers.

I generally recommend scanning using the scanner's standalone scanning software. That way you can still use Photoshop to edit while you scan in the background. That makes my workflow far more efficient.


Jeffrey Tranberry
Digital Imaging Product Development
Adobe Systems, Product Manager, Customer Advocacy
on December 11, 2010
I have been using PhotoShop since 5.2 and its evolution has been interesting. CS5 is without a doubt a very powerful tool for photographers like myself. Its functions just go on and on.

However, potential buyers should be aware of some shortcomings. For one thing, CS5 seems to be optimized to 64-bit processors. I was running CS4 on a new 32-bit machine with only a few problems but when I up-graded to CS5 I was frequently getting error messages indicating not enough RAM. I believe that is because RAM is more limited under 32-bit protocols than are 64-bits. The net result was that I had to up-grade my computer, replacing a 10-month-old unit that had a 32-bit processor. Expensive. While that resolved my RAM problems, it led to further problems.

One of the great thing about CS5 Photoshop is the ability to customize both PS and the free bundled Bridge to best meet the user's needs. However, it is very difficult to migrate those settings from one computer to another, as I found out per above. Custom changes you make are stored in folders that are both hidden and locked by default under Windows 7. Unhiding and unlocking these things is undocumented (anywhere I could find), time-consuming and frustrating. And these changes that you make are not all in one location or file on the computer: keywords are located in a much different location than are other things, for instance. And some setting do not seem "migratable" at all. For instance, in Bridge one can group many files that are in a folder in a "stack." That is a very useful functionality but I do not see any way of replicating the stack settings from one computer to another. If one customizes Labels, you have to repeat the process manually in the new computer. A first-class application would provide a sub-routine that migrated all of these environmental changes easily from one computer to another. Adobe should recognize and facilitate users' needs to occassionally change their hardware. When I wrote Customer Service about this I got the sort of non-informative response which has so undermined the credibility of many software providers.

Finally, it must be pointed out the the Help function is entirely on line. This can lead to slow responses to inquiries at best and I have had several occasions when the Adobe servers just did not respond and I got a dead window in my browser. So forget Help if you are off-line. On the other hand, the Help is very good if you can access it.

In summary, although PhotoShop and Bridge CS5 are very useful applications there is scope for improvement. For best results, run CS5 on a 64-bit machine.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on January 9, 2012
Adobe customer service is the worst I have ever experienced. Even worse than AT&T. The simplest matter can take hours of being bounced around international call centers. I would strongly consider this before purchasing any Adobe product.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hey Mike,

Sorry you had trouble. Please contact me so I can help solve any issues you are having. jtranber at adobe dot com

Jeff Tranberry
Adobe Systems, Product Manager, Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging
The manufacturer commented on the review below
on June 22, 2011
I've been using photoshop since version 1.0, adobe has added many amazing features to the years. After upgraded from C3 about 6 months ago, I've been noticing that CS5 64bit has quite a bit of lag issue. Sometimes keyboard shortcuts don't work due to lag, other times it takes a few second to open a 50kb jpg or save a small file. The lag is really annoying, which really affect the creative process.

I've not encountered any problem prior to CS5. It's not like I have a slow system, my workstation runs on SSD, raid 0, 12GB RAM and quadro 7000 gpu. CS3 works almost flawlessly on my dinosaur P4 system. I was forced to upgrade to CS3's lack of 64bit support. But CS5 has many amazing tools and it's worth the upgrade. I wish it's not as laggy as now. Abode, please apply KIS (keep it simple) to all your future development.

7/19/2011: The last patch corrupted the preference files which causes CS5 unable to save files, crash randomly...etc. So I went to Adobe Forum for help the 1st time. After reading and posted my own issues on the forum, the 1st impression I got is that the forum adviser Chris Cox needs a vacation or Adobe needs have more advisers there. He seems to be overworked and grumpy, most of his initial responses is "CS5 is fine, the problem is at your end with 3rd party stuff", he does it without getting detail info of the issue. Luckily there are others who provide helpful inputs and solutions, instead of point the finger at 3rd party stuff which I have none installed.

It has been a frustrated experience with CS5 so far. Consider I was forced to upgrade from CS3 which was working almost flawlessly to this. Forum helps, but I rather not spend hours and hours of trouble shooting why CS5 is not working the way it should be. Photoshop is amazing program, please don't keep on adding features to justify reasons to upgrade EACH year.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hey J. Shih,

With regard to lag you're seeing - it would be nice to try and track this down - as it's not something that should be expected. Some users report lag issues 3rd party plug-ins or with certain formatted hard drives mounted. If you post more details on our forum we can try and give you a hand.


Jeff Tranberry
Adobe Systems, Product Manager, Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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