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Adobe Camera Raw optimum picture quality

and long-term archiving.


Almost every ambitious photographer who uses digital cameras, whether professional or amateur, knows and works with RAW data. These uncompressed file formats offer the best long-term possibility of preserving all of the background information of the original photo. Adobe Camera Raw is the perfect addition for people who use Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom CC, or Bridge to edit their digital photos.

Since it was introduced in 2003, the plug-in allows import of RAW data in image, video, and animation editing programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and After Effects. It can be used to edit a number of different RAW formats from various manufacturers including Canon, Panasonic, Fuji, Nikon, and Olympus. Most of these companies have developed their own RAW formats for their digital cameras. Adobe Camera Raw can be downloaded directly via the update function of Photoshop, for example. At the same time, the DNG converter is installed, which converts all camera formats to the Adobe DNG format (digital negative). Users of older Photoshop versions up to CS 6 can obtain the latest functions of Adobe Camera Raw even without program updates by purchasing a current version of Adobe Lightroom. The latters costs around 100 euros and has all of the latest Camera Raw tools. Then data can be further processed in other programs such as Photoshop without any problems. And less expensive programs such as ACDSee Pro and open-source image-editing programs such as GIMP and PhotoLine, to name but a few, also allow import of DNG files.

Image edited with Adobe Camera Raw and free Camera Raw Preset Luc Besson

The advantage of raw data is that they preserve information on the camera used and metadata on the image in the long term. The uncompressed original files are stored as grayscale images and – like an analog negative – always remain unchanged. Unlike with JPGs and TIFFs, which are compressed directly by the cameras, the user always has access to the original state of the photo, regardless of the settings that were applied for saturation, sharpness, contrast, tonal value, and white balance. All of the additional information is stored in so-called subdocuments, in a database, or – as in the case of Adobe Camera Raw – in the file itself. RAW images look dark to the eye. This is because cameras and computer screens react differently than the human eye. While the eye perceives light and the difference between light and dark in a logarithmic tonal value curve, the technical devices evaluate these as being linear. As a result, on the screen RAW grayscale images look twice as dark as they actually are. Those who want to take photos in RAW quality have to adjust their camera accordingly beforehand.

Image edited with Adobe Camera Raw and free Camera Raw Preset Skyfall

With Adobe Camera Raw, the camera model and ISO values can be selected under settings. Via the main settings, changes in color value, saturation, and white balance can be made, and tonal value settings can be optimized automatically. With other tools, the motif can be sharpened and image noise and lens aberrations removed. All settings can be defined as standard and thus automatically apply to all subsequent pictures. The default settings for further editing, for example with Photoshop, can already be defined in Adobe Camera Raw. The visual effects, functions, and tools of the program are basically oriented to Adobe image editing programs. Unfortunately, the keyboard shortcuts are not always identical.


The user interface of the current version of Adobe Camera Raw 11.0 is better and simpler than the preceding models, and it directly incorporates all of the settings from Photoshop. For example, if color themes are already defined in the image-editing program, they are automatically used by Camera Raw. The selection of camera models and lenses supported was expanded once again.

Try some of our best Camera Raw Presets and use them in Adobe Camera Raw. We provide each preset as .xmp file.

Date published Oct. 10, 2019

Learn how to install Presets & Profiles

in Adobe Camera Raw ACR >> read manual


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