Is There A Best Post-Processing Image Editor Out There?

What's the best post-processing photo software out there?

First and foremost, I think the bottom line is no.  It depends on the person and what they're willing for comfortable with.  Or, to each, his own.  As the saying goes.  But ignoring that...

Today I'm curious about what might be the best image post-processing software out there?  I'm a wee bit driven by the fact that Adobe is moving their products to a cloud, where there will be monthly fees.  And if you do the math, it seems like you might be paying WAY TOO much for something over time, versus a one-time fee upfront.  Maybe.  So I'm scurrying along trying to dodge yet one more, "hose the end-user" scenario.

So I looked around.  

I've got Elements 8 at home.  The latest version is 11.  Some folks talk about NIK, but Google bought them.  The last time I used a Google image app, it tried to categorize my entire hard drive against my will (Picasa) and I wasn't fond of that.  GIMP is out there, but is it crazy complicated?  And there's some other stuff that sort of does good basic mods, but does it, do they compete?

The Yahoo Answers page, which anyone sober enough to type can update, suggests the following answer was best:

Helicon Filter Free


"If not Photoshop, then I'd suggest buying PS Elements."

- suggests PS (Adobe Photoshop), but also recognizes it's complexity for most.  They also touch on Adobe's Lightroom, and it's ability to work with RAW images.

Commentors seem to lean towards Lightroom.


Under a thread on the Canon Digital Photography Forums, one asked the question, and the replies came as follows:

"If you can get Lightroom for next to free, do it."

Lightroom was noted for entire image canvas mods, as in, if you don't want to do spots or layers.

There was a vote for Apple Aperture.

Photoshop vote, but notes the complexity, unless you can get used to it.


On a budget, some suggested Elements.

If not, aka, Lightroom or Aperture.

Lots of money to spend?  Photoshop itself.


DP Review (A site I use often) had a forum inquiry. {}

Replies came back favoring Lightroom.


A FLICKR Canon DSLR User Group addressed the issue,


DPP. (Digital Photo Professional (DPP) is the software that Canon ships with its digital SLR)

PSE (photoshop elements)

ACR, (Adobe Camera Raw for Mac )

Lightroom here also seemed to outweigh the competition.


I was chatting with a buddy who delivered a warning about Lightroom:

"If you get lightroom, immediately go in and tweak the user settings. I remember that if you leave the "undo" at "unlimited" it will eat up CPUs in a hurry."

Thanks Dave!


And right now, I'm guessing with Adobe looking to move things into their prohibitively (or so my own wallet says) priced cloud subscriptions, there's a sale or two going on.

This are links to Amazon:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

One, as of 6-3, is priced at $65, the other, LR, at $98.

None of these apps are super, super simple to use.  But once you take a few minutes to get up to speed on how the basics of what you're looking for will work, I think if you're leaning either way or some other direction, you'll be fine in the long run.