Hard Decisions for Photo Editing Apps

        John Carter sends this report that will interest the photographers:  "Photoshop Elements 11 is out. The upgrade price is $79.99. Adobe has added a whole lot of new features. There is no student price. For some, there probably isn't enough to warrant upgrading from Elements 9 or 10. But if you're still at Elements 7 or below, it's time to upgrade!

        "Photoshop CS6 is out. Student price for the extended version is $249. For the serious photographer, there's nothing really to compare.
        "Adobe Lightroom 4 is another photo editing contender. Only $149. Student price is $79. Personally, I'm not that impressed with Lightroom.
        "Apple Aperture is $79. Aperture interfaces perfectly with iPhoto, but you can't have both open at the same time. The advantages over iPhoto are few, but some are quite useful. Aperture is definitely easier to use than Lightroom. If you already have Elements 9 or above, don't bother with either Lightroom or Aperture.
        "GIMP is free, of course, and it has almost all the features of Photoshop CS. The latest version (2.8.2) does away with needing X11 (XQuartz) and has a very nice interface — more like Elements and Photoshop.
        "Pixelmator is $14.99, designed to work with the Mac, has all the Mountain Lion features, and has many of the same tools as Photoshop CS." 
        John's conclusion:  "You might find yourself wanting more in a hurry, so moving up to GIMP might be the way to go. Some of the Pixelmator reviews aren't too encouraging, but then the professionals wouldn't bother with this app.
        "If you need to work with Layers and Masks, the only viable choices are Elements, Pixelmator, GIMP, and Photoshop CS, in that order of usefulness."