Last week, I wrote a post about the Wacom tablet that I swear by. I get asked a lot about which tablet I use, so I wrote about which one I recommend for photographers. I saw a few questions come up both on the road and in some comments so here’s a little follow up Q&A:

Question: Matt…could you post how you have the express keys setup for Photoshop & Lightroom on the Intuos tablet. It would help some of us just starting out on the tablet to use it like those of you longtime tablet users and not to stumble around “reinventing the wheel”…so to speak?

I gotta be honest with you here. I don’t use the express keys 🙂 I just like a Wacom tablet for the feel of working with a pen. To me, the pressure sensitivity is something you just can’t get from a mouse. And it just feels way more accurate. If I’m being really honest with you, most people I know don’t use the express keys either. Now… all that said… they do have some great benefits. As with anything, you have to put a little effort into it, to get something out of it. Here’s a quick article I found that had some good tips in it if you are using the express keys.

Question: I notice you’re using the Intuos version of the tablets. I like the Medium Intuous 4 that I have at work but I’ve thought of buying a Bamboo for home, since I don’t really need the tilt detection. Are there any other big negatives that you know of for a photographer?

Okay, here’s the thing. I’m biased. When I first started using tablets I bought the higher end tablet. Since then, I’ve always upgraded to the top end tablet (the Intuos line). I do know many people that use a Bamboo tablet, and they love it. But for me, after using an Intuos, it’s kinda hard for me to use a Bamboo tablet. It just doesn’t have the same feel and pressure sensitivity as the Intuos.

Question: Matt, I bought a medium sized tablet a while back because that’s what you were recommending at the time. Now you use the small size. What gives?

You caught me! 🙂 I used to use the Medium tablet as my primary tablet. Over the last year, I’ve traveled more than I have in the past, and I just kept taking my Small sized tablet with me since it was easy to pack into my laptop bag. After using it more and more, I found I liked that I had less area to move my hand over. I get very fine-tuned control because instead of moving my whole hand, I could just move my wrist and still cover a lot of space.

That said, I still have my Medium sized tablet in my office at work and I still use it. And it’s not that much larger than the small tablet so I still recommend them.

NOTE: If you haven’t read the original post then you should go back and check it out. I explain a little more about why I don’t use the larger sized tablets for editing photos.

Question: If I have an Intuos 4, Should I upgrade to the Intuos 5?

Oooo. That’s a tough one. Here’s my experience. When the Intuos 4 came out I noticed a HUGE difference from the Intuos 3. The “feel” was entirely different and it felt like a new tablet to me. And I know a lot of people that felt the same way. When the Intuos 5 came out I didn’t notice as big of a “feel” difference as I did before. But there’s two HUGE changes for me. First, (and this one is big) the Intuos 5 is a touch-senstiave tablet. Now I can use my finger to move around instead of always using the pen. So if I’m just surfing around on the web I tend to switch to using the touch features. When you’re in Photoshop or Lightroom you can also use one hand to pan, zoom and rotate your canvas. But when you really need to get precise, then grab your pen. It’s something you’ll get addicted to very quickly. Second, it’s wireless. If you have a bunch of wires across your desk, or like to sit back in your chair with the tablet, this can really help out. You just need to figure out how important those two features are to you.

I hope that helps answer any questions. Thanks for stopping by today and have a good one!


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