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Wacom Graphire 3 Tablet
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 4905 Tue October 31, 2006
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers 70.00 9.0
Wacom_graphire_3.jpg



Description: Graphire3 gives you the control you need to quickly and easily edit your digital photos. It works great with any software your mouse does and runs on both PCs and Macs. Draw, paint, create artwork for CDs/DVDs, sign your name, and annotate documents in Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft PowerPoint. You can even write directly in Microsoft Office XP and with Apple Inkwell. With both Wacom pen and mouse you'll have the right tool for any task. Using them alternately reduces repetitive motion
Keywords: Wacaom Graphire 3 Tablet


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Dave
Pixalo Crew

Registered: July 2005
Posts: 18315
Review Date: Wed June 14, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: 70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very acurate for detailed Photo Shop work. Lessens wrist ache vs mouse
Cons: Takes a little while to get used to.

Bought one of these primarily because I suffer from wrist RSI. The pens is a lot easier on the old wrist than a mouse.

Does take a while to get used to, but is very good for fine work on PS etc. Drawing a mask is a lot easier & more natural.

Only thing I have struggled to pick up is the pressure sesitive nib, that affects the way your brush strokes come out. It's me more than the kit, so just need to read up on it & practise.
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Rob Barron
Loves the place

Registered: September 2006
Location: Poole, Dorset
Posts: 7226
Review Date: Tue October 31, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: 70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: A must for photo editing, easy to use
Cons: None

I would personally recommend EVERYONE who does any kind of photo editing (probably most of us) to invest a few quid in a graphics tablet and for the vast majority of us, that would mean an A6 size one and not one of the larger, and considerably more expensive, A5, A4 tablets.

You might be surprised that I am recommending smaller rather than bigger but the larger tablets are mostly aimed at graphic designers who need a large area to work on. Using even an A5 tablet means moving your hand around a lot more which is more tiring. An A6 tablet allows you to rest your hand just like using a pen and make very fine adjustments or broad sweeping strokes, whatever you need.

Ok, a couple of technical points: this has a lower pressure sensitivity than the more expensive Volito tablets by Wacom but that is frankly irrelevant. It has 512 levels of sensitivity which is more than enough for what we need. The expensive ones have 1024 but photo editors do not need that, not by a long shot. The lpi (lines per inch) sensitivity is absolutely ample for editing right the way down to pixel level so again this pen has all we need.

The tablet comes with both a pen and a mouse and neither of them needs any batteries so they never wear out in that sense. The mouse also has no ball so it doesn't get dirty at all. It has three buttons and a scroll wheel (the third button is integrated into the wheel) and it is all adjustable to whatever you want the buttons to do with its own software.

The pen has the obvious tip at one end... extremely hard wearing, goes on for years, and a plastic 'eraser' at the other end. It really is just like an eraser in that at any time you can flip the pen over and erase what you want... just like a pencil with a rubber on the end! There is a rocker switch that one way performs right-click and the other a double click. However, you might want to change either or both of these, certainly the double-click as it is unnecessary. To click on something you just tap the pen tip and to double-click you just double tap!

It is extremely comfortable to use and as controllable as a pen. If you have ever tried making a selection using the mouse, you will wonder what on earth you were messing about for when you try it with a digi-pen. The tablet has a clearly marked A5 area which will calibrate perfectly to your monitor so that you can reach the entire area of the screen.

The tools in Photoshop can be set in options to either be single level sensitivity so they are basically on or off but that would be to waste one of the most important functions of a digipen. By having it set to use as a pen/brush etc you get to make thin light grey lines with the light touch of a pencil or to press harder until you get thick dark grey lines. This does take a little bit of getting used to but it is very intuitive and feels entirely natural.

Some people try a digital pen but go running back to their mouse because they feel awkward. I have to say you might need a day or so to get used to it but for most people, it will become second nature virtually straight away. I often pick up the pen and use that even for other things but it's great having the choice. You don't have to make any changes to go from one to the other, just put the mouse down anywhere outside the tablet area and pick up the pen. When you want to go back, stick the pen in its holder and pick up the mouse. It's that simple.

The pen will work within about a centimetre of the tablet so even hovering above it lets you move the cursor around easily. It needs no firm grip and is perfect for people with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) or just arm ache from using a mouse!

There are cheaper makes than Wacom but none of them have the solid feel and usability from what I have experienced. I tried a couple of cheap ones out, one only cost 30, and although they worked well enough, the pen felt really plasticky and the mouse was worse. If you haven't got a digital tablet and pen, Wacom Graphire 4 is now out and I highly recommend you try one.

You can by a suite version which comes with Elements software as well though most of us have probably got all the editing software we want. You can buy it without the software as well but at least you have the choice and are not forced to buy something you have no need of.

Cheers,
Rob
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