Adobe is running a promotion during February. If you own any version of Photoshop Elements (the cheap version of Photoshop) you can upgrade to the latest full version of Photoshop, CS3, for $300 + tax. This represents about a 50% discount from the regular price, and is only $100 more than the price to upgrade from a previous full version of Photoshop. (To take advantage of this deal, call 800-585-0774, mention offer 27105 and be ready to provide your Photoshop Elements serial number.)
Photoshop Elements is a great value, providing most of the functionality of the full version of Photoshop at around 1/10th of the price. I’ve used version 2 for years, and recently bought version 6 because I needed RAW support. The version 6 editor is good overall but has a few bugs, and the organizer is so poorly designed and buggy that I stopped using it. (Fortunately, the organizer and editor are separate programs and it’s easy to run the editor by itself. If you do that you can simply use another company’s organizer program. I use Picasa, which works well and is free.)
On balance Elements 6 is well worth sixty bucks if you need to do low-volume photo editing, and because Photoshop is the standard there are lots of books and websites devoted to teaching people how to exploit it. I decided to upgrade to CS3 because of its batch-processing, panorama-stitching and 16-bit capabilities. (Looking at reviews for CS3 I notice some vehement complaints about bugs, so I suppose that I am about to learn if I am paying to exchange one set of problems for another.)
I wonder if Adobe is offering its inexpensive upgrade to CS3 in response to the complaints about Elements 6. This looks like clever price-discrimination to me. Adobe will sell the more expensive program to many people who would not have bought it at full price, and by doing so will perhaps forestall the need to divert resources toward fixing bugs in the cheaper program. Or maybe Adobe runs an Elements-to-full-Photoshop upgrade offer every few years. It would make sense for them to offer such deals occasionally in any event.