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Opening JPEGs in Camera RAW (with Photoshop CS3)

This is a feature that I became aware of thanks to an article in the June 2007 issue of Photoshop User magazine. I then did a search on the subject and found some forum threads that you might want to check out, if this is of interest to you.

In a nutshell, here is the deal: Until now, Adobe Camera Raw was only available to people with cameras that captured images in RAW format. Thanks to Photoshop CS3, now anyone can experience the "wonderful, nondestructive editing offered by Camera Raw, even with JPEG and TIFF files. (its functionality available in a PS plug-in, if I understand this correctly).

You can change a Photoshop preference to make ALL JPEGs open this way or just choose to open specific files in the Camera Raw dialog. An example of something that you can do with this capability is a VIBRANCE slider. This new control is similar to Saturation but only affects colors that need to be saturated. For example, in a photo of a person with a blue sky, the sky can be saturated without increasing saturation of skin tones.

Another huge advantage is cropping. In Photoshop (alone), if you crop a document and save it, the information outside the cropped area is gone. In Camera Raw — if you open the file as a "smart object" — the crop is nondestructive (made only on a copy of the original, unchanged, file).

A couple of forum threads where this (apparently undocumented or poorly documented new feature) is discussed:

Adobe Forums: http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx/.3bc03c04.3bc43bea

Luminous Landscape Forum: http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=16985

Note that Photoshop CS3 is available in several different configurations/packages. I personally recommend spending the low dollars to become a member of a community college or university so that you can buy this software at Educational Discount, if the price is off-putting. Another option may be to go with Photoshop Elements. Adobe seems to extend a lot of plug-in support to Photoshop Elements (eventually) so it is possible that Photoshop Elements will also have this capability soon (if it doesn't already - not too up on elements).
Personally, I don't know why one would want to open up a jpg in camera raw. When editing in PS would really be the optimal way to go. However, that's just me.

TIFF (Tagged Information File Format) has traditionally been an uncompressed (though now there are levels of compression associated with it) similar to Bitmap (BMP) format.

I don't see where there is any real advantage to one over the other. The same algorythm must be used for Camera RAW to open the jpg file and if saved in jpg format, the same losses will occur. If you want to play with the sliders, use PS for that. It generally works better on jpgs. At least in my experience.

Some, mostly older, cameras use TIFF as their RAW format. Canon did this for a long time before developing their own RAW format. RAW format is generally the information that the CMOS/CCD sensor see's without any modification. JPEG, on the other hand, will allow the modification done by the cameras internal software.

It's almost like the old days of film where you had certain films that made your photos look a certain way. Kodak ES1000 slide film as opposed to Fuji print films. You could take the same picture with the same exact settings and they would look entirely different due to the differences in the film.

Anyway, it's a "nice to know" feature, but would I change my currentl workflow for it. Not really. Just not enough advantage in doing so.