After I wrote this post, I posted a new about the new Wacom Intuos4, read here>>
I work as an illustrator proffesionally in Sweden, on a daily basis, and use Wacom tablets for all my work both in CorelDRAW X4 as well as Corel Photo-Paint X4. And I use a scroll mouse from Logitech as well, for the scroll & zoom part. (With the scroll mouse you zoom in and out when using CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4) My suggestion is to only use Wacom tablets for the simple reason, because of its superior simplicity working with it. The Pen´s are great, both the standards and the extra pens you can by from Wacom. My wacom tablets are Wacom Intuos A5 and the Wacom Intuos3 A6 Wide. These sizes and tablets work great for my needs. And the Wacom Intuos3 A6 Wide aint to pricey either. Wacom offers several kind of tablets, so what is a must for you might not be a must for someone else. There is no "must" when you use a Wacom. Only towards the comptitative brands. You understand when you go from using a Trust tablet to a Wacom tablet. No more words needed.
If you dont like to by the Intuos3 line of tablets, then I can higly recomend Wacom Graphire 4 or the new Wacom Bamboo line. They are more than half the price of a Wacom Intuos3 line, depending where you buy them. The new Bamboo line is really nice in that they give you the pressure sensitivity as well. I have tried all these tablets, and if it wasnt for reasons of resolution and pressure sensitivity I would have now hesitation in buying the Bamboo or Graphire. I have done a lot of proffesional work with them all, when I didnt have my Wacom Intuos with me. And hade to borrow tablets. There is no quality differens in respect to DPI and PPI when working with CorelDRAW or Photo-Paint. Meaning when you create a document in CorelDRAW or Photo-Paint in let say 300 DPI/PPI and then draw with your Wacom Intuos3, Bamboo or Graphire4, the quality is the same when you do for both printed material on paper as well as for clean digital work. Its when you like to get more out of your brush strokes in details you will see the differences. For example if you in Corel Photo-Paint or Corel Painter paint a "water colour", the details is better drawn/painted with a Intuos3. It imitates real life much more. Its so much more subtle and detailed. But in all tablets from Wacom here mentioned quality is excellent. And you almost need a trained eye to see it.
If you work as an Art Director, Graphic Designer or making daily work that doesnt NEED to be extremely sensitive in the details of the brushes like many illustrators and artists need, then its more than okey with a Bamboo or Graphire - or the Intuos3. And this said, many illustrators and artists will never need this either. Because they dont work in such a style or technique.
They are great to work with. And you really don´t need to have the largest size of tablets either. Relax. I use to love the large size tablets, but because I like to sit outside my studio, at cafés and work, to be able to work where ever I go, the smaller sized Wacom Intuos3 A6 Wide, have come to be my absolute favorite size. Easy to put in my back-pack together with my laptop. IN total contrast to a fellow illustrator I used to share studio with. She bought the biggest Intuos she could find. I thought it just hindered me, and was way to big. As an artist I have made a painting big as 192 (Kvm) square meter, and other paintings in large sizes, so its not necessarily so that you buy a smaller size becaouse you draw small images, that has nothing to do with it.
My over all feel is that if someone have used a Graphire before, they will feel comfortable with this new Bamboo line. And if the go further and buy any size of the Wacom Intuos3 they will feel "safe". Its a pure joy to work with them. I would say that if you made a decision on pressure and resolution issues, then its just a question of portability. Designwise I prefer the look of the Intuos3, but after that the simple Bamboo Classic which is kind of small but in black colour.
Here is a link to a previous post of mine about Wacom on my blog for those who read it.
Illustratör & konstnär