Free Shipping on ALL Products
camera reviewsbest cameraslens reviewsphotography tipscamera forumvideo toursphotography bookssupport me
It is currently Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:43 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:31 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8042
Location: UK
Note below I will be using the term "free" software, where in this case it will be more in the sense of free beer, not free speech.

Recently I've come to a realisation that I may hold software on an unequal footing when compared to hardware. I wouldn't think much to spend hundreds or thousands of £ for the lens or body if that'll help me get the shot I want. Then I was debating if I should spend £150 on a piece of software or not. In the big picture, that £150 is nothing. It's equivalent to a couple of high end filters, or a budget lens. Even my compact camera cost more than that. So why am I thinking so hard about software cost? Looking back, I have NEVER bought any software package or bundle costing more than £100.

Is it because software is an intangible product? I mean, beyond any physical transmission medium, in essence it is a collection of 1's and 0's. I do recognise the work gone into it. I just don't *feel* it. I suppose it could be taken wider too, and apply to digital creative works.

And there the lines become blurred. There is a lot of free content out there, and some of it is pretty good, like linux, open office or gimp. While they're free as in speech, they're also free as in beer at a first level. Does that itself raise a value perception shift for commercial proprietary software?

The software in question in this case is Pixinsight which I have Bob to thank/blame for first raising it to my attention. At around £150 to buy, the trial version so far has got me more than throwing money at hardware has managed to. I'm now wondering if there's more I should also be looking at elsewhere, like Photoshop CS5 for example. It is a lot for software, but at the end of the day the up front cost isn't something I should be looking at that way, more what value I'd get in return.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:53 am 
In a country where our lowest salary is about 100 of your pounds,buying a software is the last thing possible that people are thinking. :) There are some very nice free software,that I know of.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:50 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9828
Location: UK
.
Mea culpa! :twisted:

I did a similar spot of hand-wringing before buying Maxim DL Pro. I don't need it for anything other than running the astronomical camera and filter wheel, and strictly speaking I could still do without it, but it makes a lot of tasks easier and costs rather less than a narrowband filter.

I think the equation is less clear cut with regular photography, rather than astrophotography, but I agree that it makes sense to devote as big a percentage of the budget to good software as one can afford. I was lucky to get my own copy of PhotoShop on the cheap many years ago when Adobe bought out a predecessor and they've had their money back over the years as I upgrade as every second version gets released but, knowing how good it can make shots look from a technical perspective, if I didn't have a copy I'd try very hard to afford it.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:06 am
Posts: 1977
Let me say at the outset I'm one of those ppl who buy all my programs. I also own CS5 as well as lightroom and an older version of Corel Draw which includes Photopaint.

That being said I feel that CS5 is outrageously overpriced. And worse they offfer the program to students for a fraction of the price to get them hooked on the product. Last I checked up here it was about 30% of the price of the full retail price offered to everyone else. (I buy all my programs through the local university at student pricing)

I do not know how the latest version of Corel Draw's Photopaint compares to CS5 but a few years ago, compared to CS4, they were very similar with one doing one thing better while the other did something else better. The vast magority of reviews comparing the 2 said the same thing back then. Corel was selling for about 55% of the cost of CS4 back then.

These days I find myself using CS5 and Corel less and less as I do all my processing in lightroom which to me is very reasonably priced. I dont think I have edited a pic in CS5 in about 8 months... no need to. Keep in mind however I am a nature photographer who diesnt like to manipulate his pics that much. I would say I use CS5 less than 1% of the time these days.

One thing that really scares me from a wildlife photography perspective and CS5 is how powerful certain tools are within it. I could now take a pic of a deer downtown on main street and within 30 secs take it out of that environ and move it into a natural one. If I do not like how stiff legged it is I can bend a leg. I could reposition the tail to make it more action like. It's crazy what you can do with it and how easy it is. The reason this bothers me is cause I remember that wolf jumping a fence a few years ago and the guy winning first place with it only to have the judges find out later the pic was heavily manipulated. If they keep inproving these programs pretty soon you won't know what is real and what isn't... which is already the case in some ways.

I really feel that when pics are this heavily manipulated the program should add some data that cannot be removed stating what changes have been made to the original shot. Not even sure if that is possible but it would eliminate these editing hacks which try to represent something as something it isn't.... but how long would it be before someone hacks this and is able to change that data....

_________________
Canon 7D + 50D + EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM + EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM + EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Pelican // Black Rapid // Think Tank // Manfrotto // Garmin

Reflections On Canadian Wildlife
My Flickr


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:16 am
Posts: 237
There is a lot of merit to the perception that a physical product ought to cost more than a digital one, even though we may recognize that a high degree of time, effort, and expertise also went into producing the software:

1. Unlike a lens, the software does not require physical factories, workers at those factories, the purchase of raw goods for use at those factories, etc. The marginal cost of producing another digital copy of software is very small. The marginal cost of producing a lens is much higher. (This is true even when you purchase a physical copy of the software in a store. The marginal cost of producing a DVD is far less than the cost of producing a lens.)

2. There are different expectations of how long the item will last. The common recommendation to new photographers is to invest in lenses, because we expect them to stay in perfect working order for decades. Software, on the other hand, is expected to update yearly. (Even if you don't install every new version of Photoshop, many photographers do. And I would guess most users update their copy of Photoshop every few years, rather than every few decades. Over the life of a lens, you might buy five versions of Photoshop. This would even out the cost even paying student prices for Photoshop.)

3. The software has little or no resale value, unlike a lens.

4. As mentioned in the original post, the existence of free alternatives probably shifts our perception of the value of the product. But in the case of a physical product like a lens, not only are there no free alternatives. There's also no hope or expectation that there ever will be free alternatives, because of the costs involved in designing and manufacturing the lens. (I mention this because there are frequently functions that only paid software can currently accomplish. Photoshop CS5 has the content-aware fill, which, to my knowledge, GIMP does not have. But I have every expectation that some free software will eventually duplicate this functionality.)

_________________
Body: Canon Rebel XS, Canon EOS 7D
Lenses: Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.0 OS HSM DC Macro, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II, Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM, Canon EF 85mm f1.8 II USM


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8042
Location: UK
Razvan, if I was on an income of £100 (per what time?), not only would software be at the bottom of my list, but I think that would rule out a lot of photography too.

Wolfsong, Photoshop CS is one of the big items I have thought about and rejected on value terms, instead going for the cut down Elements version. At one point I worked out it would even be cheaper to get on a qualifying education course and get the student licence than it would be for me to buy the regular one outright. Never found a course I like enough even if I never turned up! On the editing side, I know what you mean there, but its off topic for this thread. I think we probably have gone through that one before elsewhere in these forums.

theorigamist, software isn't just about the manufacturing cost at the end. It's also about the development cost. How much programming goes into something like Photoshop? Or an even more extreme case, an operating system? That's what we're really paying for, not the shiny disk at the end. And it is not entirely true you couldn't make a near-zero cost lens. Of course they would have significant limitations. At a simple level, anyone can make a pinhole. At the next level you could recycle optical elements from old equipment, like reading glasses for example. On a loose comparison, sometimes you will miss out features by going for the free alternative over commercial software.

To give examples of my other software purchases, I have got Photoshop+Premiere Elements 7 bundle before, which I think was around £100 or a bit less. More recently just PSE9 which is a fair bit less without Premiere. I also have DxO which was on offer at the time and somewhere sub-£100. Elsewhere, that would be operating systems. Win7 Pro OEM is around £90 too, or Home for less. I might give into CS6 or whatever version it will be when they get the new de-blur working in it.

At the other end, what software do I use that is free as an alternative to paid software? I use LibreOffice as opposed to MS Office. I also use 7Zip instead of Winzip, although I do think Winzip is way past its usefullness now.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:25 pm
Posts: 2619
Location: Scotland
Or this issue of buying £1000 colour corrected professional editing monitor for your computer to use the software on.

_________________
Mark Osborne
My life through an iPhone


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:01 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:16 am
Posts: 237
popo wrote:
software isn't just about the manufacturing cost at the end. It's also about the development cost.

That's true, but I don't know that the development cost of Photoshop is any more than the development cost of a lens.

popo wrote:
How much programming goes into something like Photoshop? Or an even more extreme case, an operating system?

A lot. Really, really a lot. But in the end, the programmers are paid for their time, not by the line. I wonder how many people work on the Photoshop team at Adobe compared to how many work R&D for Canon. Canon releases new cameras and lenses every year, and Adobe releases new versions of Photoshop every year or two. So we should be able to approximately determine the number of man-hours that goes into development of each product.

popo wrote:
And it is not entirely true you couldn't make a near-zero cost lens.

Perhaps you could make the raw materials that go into a lens extremely cheap, but the marginal cost of manufacturing the lens should include the cost of the manufacturing facilities and wages of the workers in addition to the cost of raw materials.

_________________
Body: Canon Rebel XS, Canon EOS 7D
Lenses: Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.0 OS HSM DC Macro, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS II, Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM, Canon EF 85mm f1.8 II USM


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2012 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.
/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs

Webdesign by Alphabase IT
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group