I am now on my third Epson, not because there was any problems with them, but I needed a bigger and more up to date printer. All of which have done the job that was intended for. I have had a 1200, 2100 and now I am using a 7800 (which I love, sad I know).
InDesign gets my vote to. Having worked my way through various Quark versions over the years I can safely say that the whole InDesign experience is a breath of fresh air. Page layout, integration with other adobe programs, pdf creation and price are the main advantages for me.
I work in a small print house in Bristol, UK, receiving many customer/designer created work. The majority is now arriving in In-Design format, or High Quality PDFs created through In-Design. I feel Quark has had its time in the sun, and happily see In-Design leading the field.
Lens: 70 - 200 F4 L
Lens: 50 F1.8
Lens: 17 - 40 F4 L
I tried using Quark after using InDesign, and (even after the long delay waiting for a Mac OS X version) Quark seemed to not do some basic things, that other programs had since... the 1980s. My coworker used Quark, so I would ask where certain basic features were like:
Switching between multiple open documents? No switching list in the menu.. you had to move windows out of the way... Where's the select brochure 2 from the menu?
Can I click down to select through a stack of items? No, had to "send to back" through the stack to get to something...
No keyboard shortcut for some zooms... there was 100% (command 1) but no 200%, or something like that... if you programmed command 1, where is the next size choice of command 2?
After seeming huge productivity holes, with features PageMaker, InDesign, and word processors had since the 80s or at least the 90s, I couldn't figure out why Quark lacked basic features. I don't care as much if you can 'kern to 1 millionth of an inch" if I can't even switch between open documents without moving and resizing windows on the desktop.
This was after I ordered mulitple copies of Quark Express direct from Quark, and it took almost 2 months for them to ship the existing product... no status followup from Quark, but I had to keep calling them...
Maybe that was a "time of transition" or something, but I wasn't impressed with the service I got.
If Quark hid, or didn't have features like open doc switching, basic zoom shortcuts, and layer select drilling, which I found missing in the first 15 minutes, it seemed Quark got arrogant in their prior lead, or just sloppy...
This was I think around Quark 6, which was a while ago, but at the time the competitors (even word processors) did things Quarked either lacked, or failed to put in the obvious menu choice. Not just so a new Quark user couldn't find them, but a designer that ONLY used Quark didn't think the features existed... Ugh...
Hopefully Quark turned things around since then, but since I need Photoshop and Illustrator anyway, InDesign comes wth the set, and has some nice features like bringing in Photoshop layer masked .psd files, so you can have soft blends to transparent on your page... no longer images limited to hard clipping paths only.
Also I've noticed a lot of job listing mentioning "Adobe Creative Suite" probably for simplicity of corporate upgrades and the cost savings of getting the bundle price. At the very least, it would be good to get experience with InDesign as it's getting common to find it used in shops with the Adobe Bundle.
InDesign also opened and converted the few Quark files I had, (tweaking sometimes required, like converting PageMaker files, etc.) so it wasn't a complete loss of the Quark assets...
As prepress use of PDFs became more common, InDesign made it very easy to export PDFs (Adobe helped invent the format) while at the time Quark had some convoluted export pdf process, with choices in multiple locations (which setting overides which?) that was so flakey, I had to pin a paste-it note on the board with the steps to get it to work right... maybe they fixed that too, but Adobe had an early usability lead for PDFs which made things easier.
Just my experience... you mileage may vary...
Canon 60D, 40D, 70-200 L 2.8, 17-40 L, Sekonic L-358, 3D apps & Photos...
My opinion is that that all the programs everyone is talking about are good, it's actually pretty hard to find a bad one nowdays due to all the competition.
These are the programs I use every day: Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, Freehand (on my Mac). On my PC I use Fireworks and Dreamweaver for the odd bit of web stuff that I do. I've never used Quark so I can't comment. I used to use Corel 8 many many many years ago but switched to Freehand, which I've been working in for years and now the Adobe CS3 Design Standard bundle. All the above programs have their strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, if you take Illustrator and InDesign and merge them into one package you'll get a program that falls just short of Freehand, only problem is that its been discontinued. (I actually started a thread on this subject in the Illustrators forum). Corel is also a great tool and it's nice and cheap, my memories of it was that it was a bit memory intensive and buggy but it had all the features and the "easiest to remember" keyboard shortcuts which I've taken with me to all the other programs I've used since.
Here's another vote Corel I have only been using it since version 4.0. But I worked in a print shop that was mac based and had one pc in it. I brought Corel in because I found it to be the most flexible , and while a little buggy back then, it is very stable now. And it is feature rich.
Quoted Message: Corel X3 - because I originally started with a MAC and Pagemaker, moved to IBM format computers and Pagemaker, then to Corel with version 1.0 and have been with it ever since.
That was back when my computer cost me a bundle. Ram was $100 a meg, my single spin CD rom was $700 and my vga monitor cost me $1200. Not to mention my first color printer was $4600. Now I think of computers as disposable after those prices. For me now when it breaks it goes in the trash and I get a new one.
Oh, wait. The question was about DTP. Corel all the way for my illustration designs.