If you've read this far, I hope I've convinced you of the benefits of shooting raw. In the remainder of this chapter, let's examine the reasons for making Adobe Camera Raw the raw converter of choice.
Unlike the raw converters supplied by the camera vendors, Camera Raw doesn't limit its support to a single brand of camera. Adobe has made a commitment to add support for new cameras on a regular basis, and so far, they seem to be doing a good job. So even if you shoot with multiple cameras from different vendors or add new cameras regularly, you have to learn only one user interface and only one set of controls. This translates directly into savings of that most precious commodity, time.
Camera Raw is one of the most full-featured raw converters in existence. It offers fine control over white balance, exposure, noise reduction, and sharpness, but unlike most other raw converters, it also has controls for eliminating chromatic aberration (digital capture is brutal at revealing lens flaws that film masks) and for fine-tuning the color response for individual camera models.
Thanks to the magic of metadata, Camera Raw can identify the specific camera model on which an image was captured. You can create Calibration settings for each camera model, which Camera Raw then applies automatically. Of course, you can also customize all the other Camera Raw settings and save them as Camera Defaultsso each camera model can have its own set of custom settings.
Integration with Photoshop
As soon as you point Adobe Bridge at a folder full of raw images, Camera Raw goes straight to work, generating thumbnails and previews so that you can make your initial selects quickly.
Bridge's automation features let you apply custom settings on a per- image basis, then call Photoshop to batch-convert images to Web galleries, PDF presentations, or virtual contact sheets. And when it's time to do serious selective manual editing on selected images, Camera Raw delivers them right into Photoshop, where you need them.