With each new edition of Photoshop, Adobe brings out the latest version of its RAW image conversion plug-in, Camera Raw. Now in Version 7, Camera Raw benefits from the tried and tested abilities of Photoshop Lightroom 4, using the same processing module.
What this means is that there are new tools, an improved interface, faster application and under-the-hood improvements, meaning it’s easy to enhance both your RAW photo files and JPEGs. On a technical note, the software has increased its compatibility with even more cameras, so that over 350 models are now supported.
There are a few differences that are noticeable as soon as you open the interface. The tool set down the right-hand side of the screen has replaced a couple of sliders with new options. Exposure and Contrast are still present and correct, but Fill Light, Recovery and Brightness from Camera Raw 6 (we have been comparing directly to 6.4.1) have been removed. Instead, you can now alter the Highlights, Shadows, Blacks and Whites, which give you more control over the amount of detail that you can recover from shots. This means that even images taken on a mobile phone, for example, can have detail rescued that you didn’t even realise was available in the original image. Another change that we really like is that all the sliders are set to 0 by default and the slider starts in the middle position, as opposed to Camera Raw 6, where some of the controls had 0 at the far left so that the results could only be increased from a starting point. Also, in Camera Raw 6 default values were applied for you, which weren’t suitable for every image. Other than these points, there are no cosmetic differences discernible from the outset.