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News & Insight

Adobe Camera Raw Gets A Major Facelift After A Decade (& New Improvements)

By Kishore Sawh on March 18th 2016

For whatever reason, Adobe often releases update to their applications without much fanfare or spotlight. Given some of the major missteps that have plagued their decision making and execution in the past year, one could somewhat understand, but all in all, they rectify their problem quickly, showing the attention, cries, words from us, the users, aren’t falling on deaf ears. More than that, some of the updates are certainly worth being a bit loud about.

This week saw updates to Lightroom CC 2015.5, Lightroom 6.5, and Adobe Camera Raw 9.5, and some of the changes are surprising. Certainly there is still a legion of LR users who opted not to go with CC and are on the standalone version, and thus far they haven’t been privy to all the updates that come with CC. Those users were treated this week, and LR got the typical additions we’ve come to expect like new lens and camera compatibility, a few fixes, and so forth. However, it was Camera Raw that took the most notable changes.

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Lightroom has been ‘dark’ in scheme for some time, and Photoshop adopted this manner of appearance some years ago now, becoming increasingly more akin to LR in aesthetics over the past six months. Even Bridge has, but all this time ACR has remained effectively unchanged in appearance for over a decade. This week saw that finally change, and ACR’s interface now looks like it actually fits into the family it is so integrally embedded. It no longer looks like the milkman’s baby.

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It certainly brings a fresh feel to ACR, and one would hope this makes it more appealing for photographers to use, as it has historically been ignored by many. But along with the facelift, ACR brings with it numerous updated, fixes, and improvements.

Of course, there is a Christmas list of lenses it now is compatible with from all the major players, and that includes the new G lenses from Sony we’re all excited about. 

If some of you remember that issue where a Sigma Art lens was identified as a Zeiss Milvus, well that’s gone. Also, the spot removal brush used to look messy when resized at times, and that’s been fixed. ACR also sees the additional compatibility of 13 new cameras like the exciting Nikon D500, D5, and the Sony A6300.

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[REWIND: LIGHTROOM’S DARK KNIGHT |THE ALT/OPT KEY TRANSFORMS LIGHTROOM IN WAYS YOU LIKELY DON’T KNOW [PART 1]]

Here are some changes and fixes:

Bugs Fixed in Camera Raw 9.5

  • Fix crash/hang in Camera Raw and DNG Converter on some Mac systems when saving multiple images.
  • Fix corruption issue that would prevent DNG images originally created by Parrot Bebop Drone devices from being opened after metadata updates.
  • Pressing the Option/Alt key while click-dragging on a perimeter handle of a Radial Filter will adjust only that side of the filter. This change in behavior was made to match Lightroom’s behavior. Previously, Option/Alt-clicking on a Radial Filter in Camera Raw would delete that filter.
  • Camera Raw Filter now displays the histogram and RGB color readouts using the assigned color space of the corresponding Photoshop document. Previously, Camera Raw Filter always displayed its histogram and RGB color readouts using the ProPhoto color space.
  • Improve the quality of Boundary Warp for some panoramas.
  • Fix bug where EXIF metadata for Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens on Canon was incorrectly identified as Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4.

New Camera Support in Camera Raw 9.5

For a full list of lenses see here.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Dave Lyons

    and surprise, surprise… it wouldn’t be an Adobe update without a fuc*up. This update breaks nikon lenses exif info

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hey Dave I haven’t looked at it yet, can you elaborate where you’re seeing this? Cheers

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    • Dave Lyons

      Tried to post it quick, didn’t realize Nikon changed the app so it’s just in random crap but should be first one

      http://img.gg/ONYNrgD

      And it’s says only 1 unknown lens when there was 3 lenses in there.

      it’s a known bug now, I guess you can revert dng converter and then it will work but I won’t do dng anymore ;)

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    • Dave Lyons

      just fyi~ I reverted back to the previous version which works as expected but all the files I added using the current version still didn’t register the lens so i just got done taking them out and re-importing them… grrrrr

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Adobe…. I try hard to defend them, and they do well, but damn… it would be great if a release came without something wrong.

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    • Dave Lyons

      tell me about it! and fyi~ reverting back also took away tools like “clarity”. I’ve used adobe products before they were adobe products.. I’ve been a coldfusion developer since the allaire days which where before the macromedia days which of course adobe bought out and then everything went to hell.

      They parallel m$ so much that you’d think they’d learn what happens when too many hands in too many cookie jars.. leads to releasing half-baked apps that they know have issues but just figure they’ll fix later.

      Oh well.. it is what it is… good thing affinity photo is so close to being good enough to ditch ps and as soon as capture one gets decent cataloging and tagging… I gave up on adobe long ago and things just keep going down hill.

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  2. Shai Bachar

    Thanks for the update!

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  3. adam sanford

    Also: oh snap on the D500 inclusion. It’s happening! Get ready for some ISO 1.6 Million shots of breakdancing yetis in total darkness.

    #dubiousmarketingclaims #yourmileagemayvary

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  4. adam sanford

    I’m the weirdo who doesn’t use LR — I actually process all my RAW shots through ACR.

    But I’m still on Photoshop CS6, so I’m locked out from all this new ACR goodness, aren’t I?

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    • Matthew Saville

      You’re also the weirdo who calls it ACR, instead of Bridge.

      I’ve been using Bridge since it was first introduced, and for a long time it was far superior to Lightroom. I tried every version of Lightroom including the very first beta, and wasn’t impressed until Lightroom 3. Then they went and made Lightroom 4 a complete dog WRT speed and external input editing, (LR3 and RPG Keys, anyone?) …and it just hasn’t really been the same ever since.

      As we might have already talked about, I’m a bigger fan of Capture One at this point. The colors and tones are much better than anything else out there, IMO. I guess I’ve just seen one too many over-processed Adobe images with nasty flat highlights and wacky shadows. Call me an old fart then.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Hey Matthew… Do you still use the sayang 14mm? If so or not, did you ever have issues with aligning a stack of star pix? It’s driving me nuts lol

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hey Dave, what techniques are you using for stacking your star trails with a 14mm? (Also, how rock-steady is your tripod? ;-) I’ve had decent results with both StarStax, and simple Photoshop layer blending modes.

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    • Dave Lyons

      I’ve mostly used photoshop in various ways and affinity photo which usually does a better job, I have starstax but haven’t really tried it yet.

      If I use my 24-120 or 50mm it works fine and I generally have better luck opening then saving each file in Nikons capture nx-d to tiff’s. I just read yesterday that nikons software has a “special” noise reduction mode for exactly this but haven’t checked it yet.

      For tripod I’m using a 3legged thing, which should be comparable to yours but haven’t tried adding weight yet.

      On the 14mm in usually shooting a d700 (d750’s coming.. whoo), f2.8, 6400, 30 seconds. It could just be that right now the good part of milky way is coming up just before sunrise and of course on the only horizon I have here with light pollution.

      No biggie… I’m leaning towards finding an old 20mm mf prime to use for it

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    • Matthew Saville

      If it’s a matter of focal length preference, and you think 20mm might just work better for you than 14mm, then I’d highly recommend the 20mm f/1.8 G, or the older 20mm f/2.8 D. But that older 20mm f/2.8 D is a bit rough in the corners; personally I’d rather wait and see if Rokinon has a 20mm up their sleeve.

      If it’s a matter of the technical issues of aligning your 14mm shots, then I’m sure we can work it out and make your 14mm work! However I’m just not understanding what your specific problem is, with regard to the alignment of the images. There’s a handful of things that might be the culprit, and we’ve only narrowed down a couple of the possible options.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Matthew,
      There’s a lot of times when the 14mm is just too wide and I’ll use a 24-120mm at 24mm but that’s f3.5 and since i’ve mostly been using D700 cropping isn’t ideal.

      The 24-120 work ok but its kinda soft (first version) and I recently bought a new tripod and there’s an issue with it’s ball head where randomly my camera just slides right off and so far it’s broken the 24-120, a 70-300 and damaged my d700 to where it’s not worth fixing. So the tripod company said they’d make it right and replace my gear and even upgrade it a bit and send me a new pro version when they come out next month.

      So I’ll either be getting a d810 or d750 and the newer 24-120 so that will help with sharpness (lens) and cropping.

      I think my issue with the 14mm is that right now the good part of milky way is coming up right before dawn and right now it’s over the one spot I have here with light pollution but what it seems like is that creates a lot of falloff at the top. That falloff and the lens distortion seems to be the issue. So when I align the layers… convert to smart object then do a median filter… big parts of the images are just smeared. If there’s foreground objects it’s worse but if I can I mask those out when helps. So I was thinking 20mm mostly for low distortion because when I used the 24-120 those aligned no problem.

      I also shoot in neutral and mess with it’s setting to try and get a constant exposure across the image (on 14mm) which is hit or miss and since the last reply I’ve tried using nikons nx-d softwares astro noise reduction which actually is helping and seems to work fairly good… a nice lil hidden gem there.

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    • Dave Lyons

      just saw your review on that lens.. intriguing… I think tomorrow my replacement gear is ordered, was going to do the d810 w/24-120 and maybe a 300mm or 80-200mm but think now that i’ll go with d750 with 24-120 and that’ll gimme extra money for a lens which I think i’ll try and find a used 70-200mm f4 and maybe a good deal on it would leave me enough for the 20mm.

      I shot some milky way the other night with a 50mm 1.8 and stitched it in infinity photo and I think they come out way better that way. If skies stay clear I might even try my tokina 100mm macro tonight lol. Just hope i’m not making mistake by not getting d810. Kinda hard letting the d700 go too

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  5. Robert Anderson

    very stupid question, but whenever I see new ACR release, the LR CC download gets it just fine. but my PSD CC NEVER (!!!) shows any update for it, and the ACR on that gets old, and I have to manually try to download the latest ACR and install it myself. Anyone know why I might have this issue?

    I’m asking because now, on this ACR release, downloading the ACR install by itself, refuses to install with some weird error (this patch is not available/applicable to you, please use your CC updater)…

    which if I check once again in CC apps for updates, it shows none at all for PSD.

    So, …

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Robert, it’s unfortunate you seem to be having some difficulty so let’s see if we can get it figured out. From what I gather you are a CC subscriber but also it appears there’s some confusion about ACR and Lightroom.

      When you say LR CC download gets the ACR CC release I’m not sure what you mean. ACR, is, essentially, a stand-alone application, though with CC it typically gets updated when necessary under the umbrella of PS, so when you update PS you should have the ACR update automatically. ACR isn’t precisely part of LR, though the engine that drives them is.

      If you are having trouble with the current update, perhaps not downloading through the Adobe Application Manager, consider uninstalling the manager and then re-installing it. However, you shouldn’t have to. Update PS, open a raw file and let me know if you see the current ACR. If not, I’ll see if I can speak with my Adobe friends on your behalf.

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    • Robert Anderson

      Thanks for the reply. I don’t want to get side tracked, but your notion that LR doesn’t use ACR is not accurate. LR is actually just a glorified GUI for ACR (with cataloging and brushes added). but to simplify the issue, let me just restate the problem this way:

      I’m an Adobe PSD CC subscriber. I hear that ACR was updated. I’ve seen nor had no indication of an update to PSD CC. Nor is any update shown on the CC software. Has nothing to do with LR.

      How is everyone else seemingly managing to get their Photoshop CC to pick up these new ACR releases/updates?

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    • R. John Anderson

      In case this helps anyone else, from adobe site on ACR 9.5:

      Please note – If you have trouble updating to the latest ACR update via the Creative Cloud application, please refer to the following plugin installation:

      http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/camera-raw-plug-in-installer.html

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    • R. John Anderson

      btw, this did now work to properly update PSD CC.

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  6. Dale-Anthony Hines

    about time ACR

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