If you don’t like using Elements, and can’t afford the latest Photoshop, and have something like a Mac G4 or early Intel series, or a Windows XP machine, Adobe has an unbeatable price for you to download and use Creative Suite CS2.
The link you need is:
Be warned that since this link was made public, the server has been down occasionally and the site temporarily unavailable. It has been restored but you may have to retry for a quieter period. This is a popular move from Adobe.
The important element of CS2 for the photographer, Photoshop, is only part of the deal as you also get InDesign, Illustrator and Premiere (pre-HD video).
You can use CS2 for a wide range of photo editing tasks, and although it does not support new Alpha and NEX raw files, it is easy enough to convert these to .DNG (Adobe Digital Negative) format using the DNG Converter. This is also a free download: