ACR 3.0 Ushers In Raw as a Full-Fledged Format

Opinion: Adobe's automated Raw adjustment technology generates Raw images that are nearly fit to print without intervention. Also, taking a second look at Mac OS X and pivoting monitors.

Last week, I moaned about the absence of screen rotation on Macintoshes. I didnt get the luxury of wallowing in self-pity for very long, though. My readers e-mailed me a necessary wake-up call: Screen rotation is mostly implemented in the pending operating system, Tiger. Hey, that was fast: Ask for a feature, get it two weeks later! Thanks, Apple!

The first half of this weeks column discusses Raw as a full-fledged format; the second half examines Mac screen rotation in more detail than last week.

In my review of the Adobe CS2 Raw Converter, I missed the forest for the trees. I listed the features—and didnt notice how amazing Adobe Camera Raws auto-everything is and what the consequences might be.

As indicated in my review, ACR 3.0 displays the Raw files as "Auto" settings, with exposure compensation, white balance and contrast automatically dialed in.

The settings that ACR 3.0 chooses arent necessarily perfect; however, Ive put more than 400 Raw images through ACR 3.0 so far, and the initial settings would certainly give prints that were quite usable. In fact, the default results often look much better than my in-camera JPEGs.

The fact that ACR is better than my camera at guessing white balance is amazing, considering that I am using a high-end Canon 1DsII. Even more surprising is how good it is at effecting an exposure compensation reasonably similar to the one Id make.

My exposure and white balance shouldnt be off, but still, its ACR 3 thats saving the shots, automatically!

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