Tablet help
January 23, 2009 1:08 PM   Subscribe

I would like to buy a tablet/pen for detailed photoshop work on my mac. I have no idea who makes these things. Recommendations please!

I have no idea who the leading/quality/trustworthy manufacturers are in this realm. I don't need to use this for Illustrator, just for photoshop. Doing detailed masking work with a mouse is killing my joints. I figure I'd like to spend maybe 300 bucks tops. Any recommendations as to the prime candidates I should be looking at? I have a MacBook Pro running OSX with CS2
posted by spicynuts to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wacom have traditionally been considered leaders in the field.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2009

I recommend going with Wacom and not anyone else. Wacom has been the industry standard for years. I once ignored that, bought a tablet from another company, and that company was out of business in a year. Plus, Wacom's tablets are great and they have versions at many price points.
posted by grumblebee at 1:13 PM on January 23, 2009

Tip: you might be able to pick up a good used Wacom tablet on ebay or Craigslist. Lots of people buy them and then wind up not liking them. (This is because they expect a tablet to instantly feel like drawing on paper. It doesn't. But if you stick with it, it will seem natural after a few days. Meanwhile, you can get good deals from people who tried it for five minutes and got fed up.)

Also, Wacom keeps bringing out newer, "better" versions. In my opinion, they pretty much perfected the technology years ago. I bought a tablet about six years ago and have never felt the need to upgrade, even after I've tried out the latest models. So -- again -- used can be a way to go.
posted by grumblebee at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Wacom Bamboo is what you want. You can get them at the Mac store among other places.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2009

I recommend Wacom, either the Bamboo or the Intuos. The difference between the two is that the Intuos has more sensitivity over the Bamboo.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 1:41 PM on January 23, 2009

Response by poster: I freakin love this place.
posted by spicynuts at 1:57 PM on January 23, 2009

If I had the dough I'd love to have a Wacom Cintiq for my Mac.

Here's a youtube video of one in action.
posted by fairmettle at 2:18 PM on January 23, 2009

Look around for deals. I asked about Wacom tablets last week and managed to find a refurbished Intuos model for cheap on J&R.
posted by Camel of Space at 2:24 PM on January 23, 2009

previously asked last week here with lots of good answers.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 2:41 PM on January 23, 2009

I've got the Cintiq 20WSX and I couldn't live without it because I do storyboard sketching and cleanups on it all day long BUT you don't really need it for photo retouching. In fact, having your hand and pen out of the way is actually better.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:48 PM on January 23, 2009

Also, note that wacoms last essentially forever and older models will work just fine for most purposes. Ebay is your friend.
posted by milinar at 4:14 PM on January 23, 2009

I use a Wacom Bamboo on both our assorted Macs and also on my Linux laptop (it was plug & play under Ubuntu Hardy Heron). Good stuff.
posted by workerant at 4:58 PM on January 23, 2009

Best answer: Forget about Ebay, just get the Bamboo.

Take your MacBook with you and you'll know its working. it won't be scratched or have a dodgy power cord and you won't have to pay for shipping. It's got express keys and a scroll wheel, which the older Intuos models have but they cost more, even the used ones. The only other reason to get an Intuos would be for the larger tablet size but you won't need it for what you're doing (it would just mean reaching farther to your menus and pallettes).

I'm not trying to be a know it all, it's just that there's no point dwelling on this and making it too complicated a purchase. You'll be happy with the Bamboo.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:44 PM on January 23, 2009

Definitely Wacom, to echo everyone else. Although I've purchased the Bamboo for gifts (and used its predecessor, the Graphire for many years), due to your budget and type of work, I'm going to recommend the Wacom Intuos 4x6 (around $200) or 6x8 (just under $300 at amazon).

I am in Photoshop all day at work, and when I finally made the leap to the Intuos, I immediately noticed the difference. The stylus is much more sensitive and doesn't skip as much – something that I believe comes into play a lot with detail work. I would find it difficult to go back to the Graphire or Bamboo now! I'm a nut about tablets in general though. I can't imagine ever having to go back to a mouse again.

Another bit of advice: although they are sturdy and should have a long life, the cord is, well, not fragile so much as susceptible to mishandling. I killed two Graphires (granted, after a year or two of service apiece) by wrapping the USB cords around the pad every couple days to transport between work and home. Eventually the cord wore through and lost the signal to the tablet. Maybe a fluke, but I figured it was worth mentioning!
posted by allisonrae at 9:19 PM on January 23, 2009

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