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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Wacom tablets
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01/27/2006 04:26:49 AM · #1
I've been doing some research into Wacom tablets and was hoping for a little input. I'm really starting to want one cause I've noticed that after a day of editing photos my wrist REALLY kicks it to me. So it'd be nice to have something that causes less stress on my body AND gives me more control over my editing.

Went to their website and was looking at the Graphire and the Intuos. Obviously, one is more expensive than the other :-) But the way they promote the two makes it seem like only the Intuos is capable of handling Photoshop, whereas they only mention Photoshop Elements for the Graphire. What's up with that? Does the Graphire really not work with PS? Or is it just that you have MORE flexibility with the Intuous?

I'm not in the graphic design business or anything, so I don't need the really fancy smancy models (though that doesn't mean I don't want them!) Just something to ease the stress on my wrists a bit. If anyone out there owns one of these thingamajiggies, I'd really love to hear about it!
01/27/2006 04:37:23 AM · #2
I just bought the Graphire 4 for $99 the other day. I think the size is 4x5 or something..it's the smallest one. It does work with PhotoShop. I use PhotoShopCS. I have yet to play with it a great deal so I can't give you an in-depth review, but so far it's nice.
01/27/2006 04:45:23 AM · #3
Originally posted by ladyhawk22:

I've been doing some research into Wacom tablets and was hoping for a little input. I'm really starting to want one cause I've noticed that after a day of editing photos my wrist REALLY kicks it to me. So it'd be nice to have something that causes less stress on my body AND gives me more control over my editing.

Went to their website and was looking at the Graphire and the Intuos. Obviously, one is more expensive than the other :-) But the way they promote the two makes it seem like only the Intuos is capable of handling Photoshop, whereas they only mention Photoshop Elements for the Graphire. What's up with that? Does the Graphire really not work with PS? Or is it just that you have MORE flexibility with the Intuous?

I'm not in the graphic design business or anything, so I don't need the really fancy smancy models (though that doesn't mean I don't want them!) Just something to ease the stress on my wrists a bit. If anyone out there owns one of these thingamajiggies, I'd really love to hear about it!


I have the Intous 3. I thought the buttons on the side would come in handy, but honestly I dont use them that much..LOL I have the 6x8 size. It is perfectly sized, I am glad I didn't get the bigger one.

I love the thing. It makes editing much easier. Especially things like erasing and selections. I also much prefer the mouse it comes with to standard optical ones. It is much more reliable and doesn't need batteries!
01/27/2006 05:22:25 AM · #4
I have the Intuos2, 6x8, platinum. They will have to pry it out of my fingers before I give it! I've used it for almost 2 years and I love it.

I can't answer about the Graphire, but mine suits me to me tee.

I had thought of the bigger one, but am absolutely thrilled that I got the 6x8, it is the perfect size.

01/27/2006 09:24:53 AM · #5
Thanks for the info so far! It's really a help to know that people DO use them and DO like them :-)

So it sounds like the main difference is having the keys/buttons on the Intuos?
01/27/2006 09:35:18 AM · #6
I have an old Wacom 6x8 that I have used for years. I think anything bigger would involve too much hand movement to go edge to edge on the screen. I couldn't imagine working without it. I never use the buttons across the top other than to adjust the pressure.
01/27/2006 09:47:44 AM · #7
I use the graphire 4 by 5 and I use it for everything! it works great, both with photoshop and serfing the net. I love this thing. it's just the right size for my laptop bag and I don't do any sort of editing without it. I would suggest this to anyone who spends serious time in photoshop.

just a warning though, it takes a couple of weeks to get use to useing a pen in place of a mouse. if you don't have patience to learn don't bother buying this
01/27/2006 09:57:57 AM · #8
I have the Wacom Graphire3. You can use it on anything that you would use a mouse for in any program, I think. In fact I'm using it now! LOL! Well not to type of course...
01/27/2006 10:04:11 AM · #9
I had a graphire 4x5 and recently upgraded to an intuos 6x11

Vastly different experience, better quality mouse and pen on the intuos - I actually use it as my main mouse as well as the pen now.

The other difference between the graphire & intuos is the pressure sensitivity and support for pen tilt. I'm not convinced those make a whole lot of practical difference, at least for my clumsy pen usage.
01/27/2006 12:23:58 PM · #10
Originally posted by Gordon:

I had a graphire 4x5 and recently upgraded to an intuos 6x11

Vastly different experience, better quality mouse and pen on the intuos - I actually use it as my main mouse as well as the pen now.

The other difference between the graphire & intuos is the pressure sensitivity and support for pen tilt. I'm not convinced those make a whole lot of practical difference, at least for my clumsy pen usage.


Is the graphire not very sensitive? Or is it just that the intuos is more refined?? Certainly I'd love to have the better technology, but if the cheaper tech will serve me just as well....

For all of the information on their website, I sure wish it had more DETAIL about their products. Especially because none of the stores around me seem to carry any that I could go test out.

Also, were there vast improvements from the 2 to 3? Or 3 to 4 for that matter (I believe they're on 4 now). If not, maybe I could round up an older model for a little less.
01/27/2006 12:31:18 PM · #11
The graphire is sensitive (512 levels I think) The intuos is 'twice' as sensitive, supporting 1024 levels. It'd take a better photographer or or graphic artist than me to notice the difference.

As far as I can tell, I have three pressures - light, medium and psycho crayon.

I'm sure for painting or other stuff, those extra levels of sensitivity matter but I don't really see the difference in practical use.

I did find the 4x5 tablet quite small to work with though, but certainly perfectly possible to do photo editing.

The larger tablet is more useable for general purpose usage, mouse replacement etc.
01/27/2006 12:34:05 PM · #12
Originally posted by Gordon:

The graphire is sensitive (512 levels I think) The intuos is 'twice' as sensitive, supporting 1024 levels. It'd take a better photographer or or graphic artist than me to notice the difference.

As far as I can tell, I have three pressures - light, medium and psycho crayon.

I'm sure for painting or other stuff, those extra levels of sensitivity matter but I don't really see the difference in practical use.

I did find the 4x5 tablet quite small to work with though, but certainly perfectly possible to do photo editing.

The larger tablet is more useable for general purpose usage, mouse replacement etc.


Hehehehe!! The bit about the psycho crayon gave me quite a giggle!!! :-) :-) :-) Still chuckling....

Thanks for the detailed info, it really helps a lot!!
01/27/2006 12:46:38 PM · #13
We got the Graphire 6*8 for Christmas.

It has a learning curve. The hardest thing for me to remember is that if I want to move the mouse cursor, say to the top of the screen for a menu, that one has to hold the pen just above the surface of the tablet, and not on the tablet. On the tablet results in a click. I've drawn a very large number of thick lines across a photo trying to get up to the file menu. :)

I have only used the pen for basic PS work, mainly because that's the level of my PS experience right now. I've used it extensivley for spot healing (like taking out skin blemishes and such) and for some erasing, brush drawing, and such. I'm not quite comfortable enough with it yet that it replaces my mouse, I still use the regular mouse for selecting, etc. I don't much care for the wireless mouse that works with the tablet, but that's probably a me thing (I much prefer a logitech trackball you operate with your thumb).

The perfect nirvana for me is a combo of regular mouse, tablet, and this auxillary keyboard for the selection of frequently used tools, actions, etc. I use PS CS, FWIW.

Long story short, in my opinion, they make a huge difference. Start with the Graphire 6x8 if you can afford it and the 4x5 if you can't.
01/27/2006 12:47:13 PM · #14
Originally posted by ladyhawk22:

I've been doing some research into Wacom tablets and was hoping for a little input.


P.S... Nobody else noticed the pun?

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 12:47:30.
01/27/2006 01:42:12 PM · #15
Been using a Graphire 2 4x5 for 5 years, and have (literally) worn it out. I use it daily, can't edit without it, and now have an Intuos on it's way to replace this poor old thing, but I sure got my money's worth out of it!
01/27/2006 03:03:52 PM · #16
I LOVE my Graphire 4x5. Got it in early December and wouldn't be able to live without it. Adjustments (especially removing backgrounds and retouching of skin) that used to take me half an hour now take 5 minutes. I know that the Intuous has more pressure sensitivity but the Graphire is fine for my purposes.

When I bought it, I was having some problems with tendonitis in my mouse wrist (my desk at work was the opposite of ergnomic!) I couldn't retouch photos using a mouse or regular touchpad for more than a half hour at a stretch. Now, I can retouch for as long as I want to, and my wrist is fine.

Highly recommend the Wacom.
01/27/2006 03:10:38 PM · #17
Originally posted by literaryradical:

I LOVE my Graphire 4x5. Got it in early December and wouldn't be able to live without it. Adjustments (especially removing backgrounds and retouching of skin) that used to take me half an hour now take 5 minutes. I know that the Intuous has more pressure sensitivity but the Graphire is fine for my purposes.

When I bought it, I was having some problems with tendonitis in my mouse wrist (my desk at work was the opposite of ergnomic!) I couldn't retouch photos using a mouse or regular touchpad for more than a half hour at a stretch. Now, I can retouch for as long as I want to, and my wrist is fine.

Highly recommend the Wacom.


EXCELLENT to hear! This is precisely my problem as well. And with a couple friends asking me to take and edit some photos that they can use for business purposes...I just HAVE to be able to edit for more than 20 minutes at a time. Wonderful to hear that this IS the solution I was hoping it would be.
01/27/2006 03:13:59 PM · #18
I got Intuos3 6x8. It takes some time to get used to it.

Nick
01/27/2006 04:13:53 PM · #19
Originally posted by livitup:

We got the Graphire 6*8 for Christmas.

It has a learning curve. The hardest thing for me to remember is that if I want to move the mouse cursor, say to the top of the screen for a menu, that one has to hold the pen just above the surface of the tablet, and not on the tablet. On the tablet results in a click. I've drawn a very large number of thick lines across a photo trying to get up to the file menu. :)


This might help - if you want to move the cursor to the top of the screen, lift the pen up, and move it, then put it down where you want to use it - you don't have to hover the whole way.

Typically the pen maps to the entire screen area - it isn't relative like the mouse, so you don't need the tablet to know that you are in the process of moving the pen, just that it got there.
01/27/2006 04:15:31 PM · #20
I played with a cintiq last weekend. Now that's a fun way to edit pictures.

21" touchscreen LCD - brush right on to the picture... shame it's about $6k
01/27/2006 04:31:25 PM · #21
I'm using the graphire myself. Been using it for almost a year now and I love it. I've recently purchased two 19' LCD's and now I wish I could have the intuos 6x11 to work with both monitors. My graphire works great with photshop CS, I even used it as a mouse before I got dual monitors. What I like the most are the pressure sensitive feature, works just like a real pen and the fact that it is wireless with no batteries. I couldn't go back to "mouse" editing.
Once you go Wac you can't go back.
01/27/2006 05:56:55 PM · #22
Elizabeth,

I use the Graphire3 4x5 with Photoshop CS and it works great. The Intuos series have greater levels of pressure-sensitivity (1024 vs 512) and a couple extra buttons. For just about any user, the difference in sensitivity levels is purely academic.

I believe the Graphire is easily good enough for any hobbyist and many to most professional photographers. Edits that used to take me an hour, I can now do in 15 minutes, and in most cases with superior results.

~Terry
01/27/2006 07:28:30 PM · #23
I heard it is tough to use if you're "left handed". Use my Wacom 3 all the time. Comes with a couple of Adobe Elements 2 as one of the free software.

%50.00 after rebate from Circuit City. Sometime CompUSA has a rebate on it also. So If you have one of these stores you may wait for a sale.
01/27/2006 07:43:49 PM · #24
actually, the lefty i know is faster on a wacom than i am...his mac keyboard has the enter keys and numberpad on the right side.
01/27/2006 07:55:20 PM · #25
I absolutely love mine. Can't imagine editing with a mouse again. You won't regret getting one if you do much post processing.

Ohh and I'm left handed. No problem with that.

Message edited by author 2006-01-27 19:56:16.
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