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I am potentially looking into getting a graphics tablet, and was wondering how many of you use one, which ones, and what your recommendations would be.
With graphics tablets I don't guess it's worth compromising on quality, is it?

I have a fairly low-end one, a Wacom Graphire 3 4X5, that I use for basic editing. I find it's much faster for selective editing, masking, and dodging & burning an image. I don't use it for any serious "graphic art" applications.

Because I use a laptop without a proper desk or workstation, it takes a special effort to set up the tablet and use it. As a result, I only bring it out for "major" jobs, but wouldn't want to be without it. When I have a desk, it'll be permanently set up.

Tablets work differently from mice. A mouse is relative, while a tablet is absolute. The top-left corner on the tablet matches the top-left corner of the screen, and so on. This gives it a very different feel, and it takes practice before it feels natural.
Mathew is very right about the feel. It can take some getting used to. Personally I couldn't. I now have a lazer mouse that I find irreplaceable. It may not have the pressure sensitivity of the tablet but I find my lazer mouse much more accurate. There are past discussions on this. Maybe do a search.
Thanks guys. My major concern with the mouse is the constant strain on my wrist. I have been modifying my workspace (which is an ever make-shift one because of our many moves) in several ways to try to relieve the stress on my wrist, but in the end, if I do a lot of editing I get problems. And I am worried that in the futur it could do lasting damage. Also, lots of editing usually coincide with lots of shooting, i. e. carrying the cam around, which is even more strain on the wrist.

Matthew, if you say the tables is absolute, than a small tablet would only cover part of your screen? I currently still work on my laptop, but after our China stay want to buy a proper desktop, and I want to use the tablet I buy now.
Uli, small tablets still cover the entire screen, so you're just working with a worse sensing surface to screen size ratio. Fine selection and point control will be (must be?) easier with a larger tablet. That said, mine's the smallest available, and I haven't had any major problems with accuracy. I've also never used a bigger one, so I don't know what I'm missing. Sad

The biggest benefit to the tablet is its pressure sensitivity. It can be set to change the radius of a brush and/or its opacity. This makes masking and dodging & burning much more natural.

While changing to a pen and tablet might give you some variety in wrist movements, and help with the repetitive strain, you can still run into problems if your workspace isn't set up properly. It does mean that you can change positions more often, and that might also help. I wouldn't say that it will remove the problem completely, but it is a useful tool (if you can get used to it) that will give you more flexibility.
Might I make one suggestion, if you are able to purchase a tablet from a store that will have a 14 day or 30 day return policy then go for it. Buy it and try it.
good idea pete. I don't know where I am going to get this thing yet... Electronics are surprisingly expensive in this part of China, partially because the demand is low (we are in on of the poorest provinces of China). Honkong seems cheap, so maybe if we go on a trip sometime, I could look there. Anyway, just thinking....

Matthew, I was trying to get a bigger one (9x12?) that would resemble the print size of a picture. The only complaint I have read in a forum was that you might sometimes move your arm accross the board while you work, but i have seen so many professionals work with large boards and they didn't seem to have a problem. I am sure it takes some getting used to.

Thanks for your tips.
I have a Wacom 6x8, I don't use it that often probably as I have to create space each time I need to use it. When I do it's invaluable as it saves time and I can control it rather than fighting the mouse (wrist). They certainly have their place if you do more than simple editing.
It's a funny thing that people say they use thier wrist with a mouse. When I use a mouse the heal of my hand sits on the desk and I use all finger movement.
I'm watching this thread with interest - I've always wanted a graphics tablet but have never tried one, so I probably don't know what I'm missing out on.

Question - can one use one in place of a mouse? I would guess no because of the absolute vs relative positioning thing...
I would say no, one can't be used in place of a mouse. Perhaps the larger ones can, but they can be very expensive. The biggest advantage to a mouse is that you can choose the relationship between the device movement and the cursor movement; tracking speed can be adjusted and all kinds of buttons can be added. A tablet loses all of this. While I can function using just the tablet to navigate when I need to, it's never as natural or as easy as using the trackpad on my laptop.

My ideal workspace would probably involve a good tablet as well as a nice trackball, but that's a whole other can or worms.
I have a wacom tablet, it is a small one I think. It has a pen and a mouse. I tried it for few days and I put it away, I didn't like the mouse and I couldn't work with the pen. Now it is collecting dust in the self. We bought it few years ago, when I was working with graphics in PSP.

I got a Logitech G5 mouse and I love it.
Nice mouse Irma. Smile
Maybe I can help out here.

I have a top end Wacom 9 x 12 tablet and use it all the time. The absolute/relative space thing can be changed so that the pen works like a mouse does. You can also configure it so the tablet only accesses part of the screen or the screen is only controlled by part of the tablet. This is useful for mating a wide screen with a 4x3 tablet.

It is so wonderful for editing photos and feels almost effortless when selecting and adjusting in photoshop. Mine cost about $600 Australian. It came with some good software and 1024 different levels of sensitivity with the pen. It is a two ended pen with a wider eraser type nib at one end.

I have a wide desk which allows me to use it all the time - as well as a keyboard. The mouse is right next to it if ever I need it. The tablet has user configurable buttons on both sides so that I hardly need a keyboard when working in Photoshop.

I will try to remember to post a picture of my work space - it is a small office, with the space maximised by some nice furniture from Ikea.

For the first week I didn't like it - now I love it.


Wedding Shooter Wrote:It is so wonderful for editing photos and feels almost effortless when selecting and adjusting in photoshop.
totally agree...
i got a cheaper verson - Graphite 4
it certainly helps with lasso-ing your image or fine adjustments/movements on your pics...
trust me.. go get one... and you will love it...
but it does take a while to get used to it...
put this way... get a small or cheaper one first..
if you like the feel of it...
invest to the latest version later then...

Makes me want to BBB.
adam.. if you want to have a hands on and play with it..
u can always borrow from me for a week or two.. Smile
Thanks for the offer championboxer! I think my friend (Peter) who lives nearby might have one, so I'll ask him for a demonstration Smile
The engine room of Small Package Films Smile Tablet taking pride of place:

[Image: IMG_3730.JPG]

The "junk" on the left is my wife's Avon and Tupperware stuff Smile

Close up of the computers and tablet:

[Image: IMG_3731.JPG]

A more square on view of my side of the desk (cleaned up a bit before the photo of course) Big Grin

[Image: IMG_3732.JPG]

The photos are snapshots in every sense of the word.


Wow Chris... Very beautiful workspace... very modern. Smile

Are those two pair of little things in every side of your monitors speakers?
If so, I am living in the stone age with these two "shoe box size" speakers I have!!
Impressive setup, and the huge tablet also makes it look good Big Grin
nice nice
Hi Irma - yes they are speakers. I need decent sound out of my computer as I am editing/producing video as part of my wedding business. Sub Woofers for the speakers are hidden under the desk.

The main problem with the study is that it has no window - so it feels a bit like you are working in a cave. It can get quite warm with both computers and the lightbulb on.

Glad you like the setup.


very nice pics of Small Package Films...
: ) indeed Big things come from small packages Big Grin
Great looking work space Chris. Nice monitors. They're the bomb. I plug my notebook into the 50" Grand wega for movies and when showing off photos. Cool
Very nice workspace Chris, thanks for posting!

Sounds like you need a skylight or something! Big Grin
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