For those who have been looking to get into serious processing of their images, you might want to try Lightroom 4. It’s a powerful organizer with an increasingly powerful editor attached. It shares the basic image engine with ACR, which means that this is also an interesting peek into some of the capabilities coming in CS6 / ACR7.
Anyway, you can get it here: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?e=labs_lightroom4
The financial analysis: Right now you can get Lightroom 3 at a 50% discount at Adobe sites in Canada and the USA. So you get an extremely powerful editor and organizer for only 150 bucks. Not bad. But add in the incremental cost of the upgrade to LR4 (I would not bet that Adobe will give free upgrades for buyers of this steeply discounted package) and you reach the original price of 300 bucks.
So instead, I decided to install and try the LR4 beta for free until it expires March 31. And since it is non-destructive, storing everything in its catalog, you can just dump it and go back to Bridge if you were already a Photoshop user. On the other hand, if I become addicted then I can pony up the 300 bucks then. Perhaps there will be a beta 2, extending the free time with the application.
Further, LR4 has a built in RAW converter. But you can have it create DNG files and use your old converter in any older version of CS if you want the power of Photoshop as well. Or simply transfer to Photoshop for your tweaks. A fairly flexible and powerful work flow.
I have been worrying that it has gotten pretty hard to find images, so it is definitely time to find a decent organizer. And when I imported my “My Pictures” folder, I was a little shocked to find out that I have over 70,000 images in my archives …