Adobe Photoshop CS6 is the last version you can purchase.

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Update #2:   Until March 31st 2014 Adobe offers anyone the price of $9.99 month for CC of PS & LR.

A fair price  but your still renting software and will have nothing to show for your money if you decide to quit making payments, nor will you be able to open any of your PSD files. For many of you this will be enough of a discount to get your money. I went ahead and signed up. If I decide to quit I will just upgrade my license for LR and go back to Corel’s Paint Shop Pro which should be on version X7 by next fall. Other then the more advanced features the one thing I really notice with PS over PSP is that my full 24mp files process very smoothly even with multiple layers and a large brush. I couldn’t do that with PSP, I had to reduce file size coming out of LR. PSP is still using only one core and is just as slow as it was years ago IMO. PSP needs a major speed update.

Update #1: Adobe just announced (September 4th) that it is offering a new pricing for photographers who currently own PSCS3 or newer. The new pricing is $9.99 month. That is not an intro price but a regular price which is only good thru December 31st of this year. If you don’t already own PSCS3+ than your back where you started. This will probably satisfy some long time users of PS. What happens after Dec 31st? What about attracting new comers to PS? IMO that $9.99 needs to be available to all. $120 a year is plenty to ask from new photographers. Otherwise Adobe is going to miss an entire generation of entry level users. I suspect in the end the bean counters will advise adobe to make some changes for new photography only customers. In the mean time companies like Corel would be wise to take advantage of this period of time to attract new customers by updating and marketing PSPX? for example as a real alternative to PS. After all most photographers don’t need much more than what PSP offers anyway. At the very least Adobe should offer an older version of PS at a vast discount. Cs6 is still way ahead of the compitition and probably will remain so for years to come and as long as it works with future OSs it should be good enough for all but the most serious PS users. I bet the vast majority of CS6 users don’t use all it’s features or capabilities as it is. Adobe needs to keep you buying or it will go out of business and I understand that but there comes a point at which a SW does all you need and you don’t feel compelled to spend anymore on it. Raw convertors on the other hand need to be updated everytime you buy a new camera, and here again we now have camera bodies that should be good enough to meet most peoples needs for years to come. I believe we have reached the peak of the bell curve for our camera and SW spending. This is one reason Adobe has changed it’s business model. They will now focus on SW changes that make for a better work flow rather than on Bells and whistles to attract upgraders. Making the use of PS’s advanced features easier and faster to use is what will make PS more valuable to pros.  $9.99 is a good deal if you already have PS and are used to upgrading every other version.

Adobe goes to a Creative Cloud (CC) policy, what this means is that shortly you won’t be able to purchase software from Adobe’s Creative Suite anymore, instead you will be renting SW by the month or annually. Many people are upset that they will not be able to own newer versions of SW anymore and that is true. For Photographers who only use PS and LR CS6 will be your last version of PS that you can own and use without any restraints. Now there is no reason you can’t continue to keep using CS6 for many years to come, there is no reason to panic just save your money and see what happens over the next few years. Adobe’s main source of income is not from hobbyists or part-time photographers who only upgrade every 2nd to 3rd version, it’s from graphic arts businesses and full-time pro photographers that make up the major source of income for Adobe and for these entities this new CC arrangement may actually be a better deal for them. Don’t bother looking for alternatives to PS because none of them come close to CS6 and probably won’t for many years to come. If you think about it what could CS7 have that you need to spend $240 yr to license the software and not even own it? For designers they now have access to the whole Creative Suite of SW.

PSCS6 will continue to be sold for a while yet so you can still get a copy. Lightroom will continue to be available for purchase as well as part of CC. Many photographers are using older versions of PS without any need to upgrade. If you must look elsewhere the closet thing to PS is  Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X5. Corel also has very good alternatives to some of Adobe Creative Suite SW and it trying to take advantage of the situation . How this move will affect Schools is yet to be seen , what do I mean by that? well, think about it for a minute, if a student takes a photography class and is taught Adobe PS he would have to go rent the software for the rest of his life in order to keep working with it or access some of his files (what Adobe does about this is yet to be seen). So, should schools teach people on a platform they can’t purchase and use indefinitely or use software they can buy and use at home without having to pay out a minimum of $240 yr to use? It will be interesting to see how Adobe works this out. Now is a great opportunity for other SW makers to try and fill the gap left by Adobe.  Corel is in the best position to do that by building further on PSPX5 and even charging more for a much need higher end version of it. for most photographers PSPX5 will do all they need. I doubt PSP will  match where CS6 is  for a very long time. PSP really just needs some more advanced selection and layer capabilities. Demand for CS6 will probably spike up at first so prices will as well, don’t expect any discounts on CS6 until next winter (if there is any or maybe just before it goes off-line).

Tom Hogan posted this on his site.

  • “Creative Cloud Suite (all apps):   

  • US$49.99/month on annual basis (~US$600/year)
  • US$74.99/month on month-to-month basis (~US$960/year)
  • Upgrade from CS6: US$19.99/month (~US$240/year) for first year only
  • Upgrade from CS3 or later: US$29.99/month (~US$360 year) for first year only
  • Students/Teachers: US$19.99/month (~US240/year) on annual basis, for first year only
  • Students/Teachers: US$29.99/month (~US$360/year)
  • Teams of 4-10: US$39.99/month (~US$480/year) per team member for first year only
  • Teams of 4-10: US$69.99/month (~US$840/year) per team member on annual basis
  • Government/Education without Internet access or needing term licensing have to license a special version of cloud software ;~). Education should inquire about EEA programs, government should inquire about CLP-G programs
  • Photoshop only:   

  • US$19.99/month on annual basis (~US$240/year)
  • US$29.99/month on month-to-month basis (~US$360/year)
  • Until July 31: US$9.99/month (~US$120/year) for CS3 to CS6 upgraders first year only
  • No student/teacher pricing available
  • Limited access to services, whatever that means”

NEW:  Photoshop & Lightroom  

For existing PS users    $9.99 year.

Adobe responds to the reactions.

A poll of what peoples concerns are with Adobes move to CC.

For businesses and busy pros $19.99 to $49.99 a month is not much and keeps you up to date with the latest software. Hobbyist will whine and complain and bad mouth Adobe for some time to come. The best way to protest is to keep using CS6 for as long as you can or until something better comes along. You can always rent CC for a month or so for a specific project if you need to then go back to you older version. It’s true that at some point in time a newer OS might not get along with older versions of PS but then again CS6 might work just fine 5+ years or longer. I keep mentioning CS6 because if you’re using anything older than you’re not up to date anyway.

I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen with all the illegal PSCS6 software that is sold online (Ebay for example). Will it still be offered for years to come? Piracy will be reduced at some point but not eliminated. PS is much more expensive in some counties and as a result illegal use of PS is rampant. This move might make some angry enough to get their own Illegal copy of CS6 or ?

I think Adobe should offer CS6 at a discount for us  regular photographers until it’s no longer available, after all we don’t know how long it will work with future OS upgrades as CS6 will no longer get support once it’s gone and that goes for ACR  as well. If you buy a new camera and shoot raw you will have to use another raw converter program to work with raws. As time goes by people might start to think twice about paying $700 for a product that is at the end of its life from support. Adobe really needs to give some sort of discount or on going OS compatibility guarantee for years to come (not new features or update just OS compatibility). That would keep CS6 selling for some time.

Update: I just found this add-in for Photoshop Elements that brings it much closer to the full blown Photoshop.

It’s also being suggested by some influential folks that Adobe should produce a Photoshop for Lightroom version  that would satisfy most advanced post processing. This would be a lower version of PS but much higher than Elements. I suspect that Adobe will accommodate photographers in some way in the next year or two because a lot of folks are not going to rent Photoshop.