My toolshed contains Gimp, PaintShop Pro, the Nik collection, Photo Gallery, Topaz Studio and a number of Topaz tools, and more recently On1 Photo RAW, also a number of tools for specialized applications. Many offerings have lately tried to crowd into the photo editing field, like On1 and DxO, Topaz Studio, trying to provide alternatives to Photoshop and Lightroom. I have been evaluating the newcomers and find much to like in most of them. Gimp is not high on my list when I reach for an editor. it is very capable, but I find that I always have to struggle and learn. Some tools are more intuitive, and, of course, some are more familiar because of many years of familiarity. For importing images from camera to computer I still prefer Photo Gallery over all others. When I need to work in layers I go to PaintShop Pro. For bringing details out of shadows I reach for On1 and their HDR tool.
I have an old, underpowered and long-in-tooth laptop. Not much runs on it, but Gimp does! When I wanted to "engrave" the front ring of a lens image, Gimp was the only tool that could do the job for me. So I celebrate the variety of tools available to us.
Hmmm good point. Perhaps I should be more open to new tools. Unfortunately the financial aspect of many is too much for me.
I do love creating digital works though and, to be honest, my highest paying image is a digital collage. So it would pay me to invest more. I tend to put all my money into the car and this site
There used to be very capable photo editors that were free. Microsoft offered Photo Gallery, Google had Picasa. These offered many features beyond just basic adjustments. I can understand that giving such software away does not thrill the folks in the accounting offices. Sadly they won and the tools have been discontinued. There are still a number of free tools out there. One of my favorites is Fotosketcher. Many of my abstracts in my portfolio, my "A-Major" works, use that app.
It is expensive to keep my toolbox up to date. I try to upgrade just every other year, but it still adds up. Guess I have to take on a few more paying assignments ...