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I personally swear by Photoshop, but if you're doing mainly web graphics, I've heard nothing but raves about Fireworks, though I haven't heard anything specific about MX yet. Can't imagine it would be worse than the older versions though, eh?
If you're on a budget, I've heard that Paint Shop Pro will do just about anything you want at a much smaller price than Fireworks or Photoshop (even though it is plagued with an "amateurs only" reputation). Then there are those who swear by the Gimp, which can be had for cheap or free (Open Source and all that) depending on your platform. I think Gimp is available for *nix, Mac OSX and Windows...
Those are the Big Four that I know of... any one of them is probably quite capable of most anything you need to do. If you're on OSX, I've also heard good things about the "Stone Studio" suite of applications. Supposed to handle all aspects of web and graphic design, including image editing. It's a brand new product, but they let you download and try it out.
Fireworks is great, I dont have mx yet, will be getting it soon..... Currently using version 4... *sigh*
"(even though it is plagued with an "amateurs only" reputation)."
I agree, it has gotten a bad rep, and why I am not sure. I have found it to be a very usefull tool, and powerfull enough to do alot of stuff, and for the price you cant beat it (unless you have unlimited resources ;) )
Has anyone else seen a similar backwards compatibility issue with Fireworks MX?
In using Fireworks MX however I haven't seen any fantastic new standalone features which would make the upgrade a must, but the integration between Flash and Dreamweaver is quite good now.
Download and have a play around with it before you go out and buy it, and like SmallTime said it is still the beta version. The license runs out on the 8th June, but once final version is released you'll get another 30 days to trial it.
The one complaint I have about it is the shortcut icons. Flash is using a big red F and Fireworks is a small yellow fw, I see a red F and think "fireworks" everytime.....