When you buy a new camera do you instantly install all the software that comes with it? Many people do, but is this software always best, or should we be looking into other options before diligently hitting ‘download’?
My parents always complain when I visit them, because they’re fed up with how slowly their computer’s operating. One look at the amount of unnecessary software installed on their machine and it’s hardly any wonder.
They have scanners, printers and a number of other peripherals, which all came with bundled software. But one of the worst culprits is the software that came with each digital camera they’ve bought. They must be on their third or fourth generation of digital camera by now and each new disc has been dutifully installed.
‘Why did you install this?’ I ask. ‘It’s nothing more than bloatware.’ The reason I’m given is that they installed the software thinking that they had to.
Photo-editing software put to the test
Which? has lab-tested paid-for and free photo-editing software, such as Photoshop Elements (the latest version released this week costs £79) and Picassa, the popular free service from Google. And interestingly, it’s not always the more expensive products that come out on top in our reviews.
But what about the software bundled with cameras? Well, I may be premature in describing it as bloatware, but I have a hunch that it’s inferior to many of the paid-for and even free photo-editing suites available. And I’m also sure that it’s partly to blame for taking up unnecessary memory on my parents’ computer. A decent free download of Picassa could replace the multiple programs sat unused.
In our next lab test of photo-editing software, we’re going to include software bundled with cameras from the major brands to see if it’s really worth installing. But before we do that, I wanted to find out how many people actually use it, and how satisfied they are.
Supplied software is surprisingly popular
We recently surveyed 1,598 of our members to see if they use the software supplied with their cameras. Eight in ten Which? members own a digital camera, and 60% of those owners use the supplied software.
This number struck me as being surprisingly high, as most people I know with digital cameras throw the supplied disc straight in the bin. But it was good to see that three quarters of those who use supplied software are satisfied. Perhaps there isn’t an issue after all?
I can appreciate that manufacturers supply this software to offer their customers the full end-to-end solution: from taking the photo, to editing it, cataloguing it and sharing it. But my feeling is that there’s a better solution.
I’d be happy to be proved wrong though. Look out for our lab results being published in a few months time to see if I am.
Which type of photo editing software do you prefer?
Free software (50%, 147 Votes)
Paid-for software (32%, 94 Votes)
Software supplied with the camera (18%, 52 Votes)
Total Voters: 294