In early days, DSLR cameras used to have only one supported image format called JPEG. However, now you can capture a picture in the RAW format. The primary difference between RAW and JPEG file is that you will have more scope while editing an image in various photo editors like Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. On the other hand, an image captured in JPEG format may not offer that many options for post-capture editing.
Nowadays, almost all digital camera manufacturers allow users to shoot in RAW format – which have distinctive extensions. Having said that, the problem is that Photoshop CS6 or Photoshop CC may not be able to open a RAW file captured using a DSLR camera. Therefore, this tutorial will help you open RAW image in Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CC.
Open RAW image in Adobe Photoshop CS6 or CC
Like I said earlier, different manufacturers have different RAW image formats for their cameras. For instance, Nikon’s format is .NEF whereas Canon has .CRW, .CR2, etc. Unlike other formats such as .PNG or .JPEG, you cannot open RAW image file using Photoshop or Lightroom because it uses different codec and compression. Hence, you have two solutions to open RAW image in Adobe Photoshop.
- Use Adobe Camera RAW
- Use Image Converter
Open RAW file using Adobe Camera Raw
This is the most common method of opening RAW files in Photoshop. However, the drawback is you may not be able to get the Camera Raw tool for Photoshop CC, since it is designed for CS6 only.
Adobe Camera Raw does support a huge number of cameras and file formats. It supports DNG, CRW, CR2, ERF, RAF, GPR, 3FR, FFF, DCR, KDC, MRW, MOS, NEF and more other file formats. The models of the supported cameras have been mentioned on this page.
Camera Raw is a Photoshop CS6 plug-in, which helps users open any RAW file in Photoshop CS6. By default, Adobe Photoshop CS6 comes with this plug-in. If you have this plugin, you should be able to open the files.
But if you are still getting some error – Photoshop cannot open this file, then either you do not have that plug-in, or you have to update the plug-in.
Head over to this page and download the Adobe Camera Raw. Unzip the archived folder and install the file called AdobePatchInstaller.exe. Now, you will be able to open RAW image in Adobe Photoshop CS6.
However, the problem is that many people have still failed to open RAW file even after using this method. There may be some internal issues, but it has happened earlier. For those, who have not managed to open RAW image using this method, here is the other solution.
Use Image Converter to convert RAW file to JPEG
When you use this method, you will not get what a RAW file offers and your image may be compressed and hence, the quality will be compromised. But you would be able to open RAW image in Photoshop.
For using this solution, you need to find the RAW file format that your camera produces. There are plenty of online tools based on your RAW file format. You can use those image converters to convert RAW file to JPEG, and after that, you can open them in any image editor.
Make sure you are converting them to JPEG since PNG may not work as good as JPEG does for a portrait or landscape. Even for macro shots, JPEG would work better than PNG.
Bonus tips: If you have a Nikon camera, you can also opt for the Capture NX-D, which is a RAW image processing tool available for Windows. You can work with RAW files without losing the quality and color depth.