I use Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Why do I need MetaRaw?
MetaRaw allows you to open camera raw files, which are normally not supported by your version of Adobe Camera Raw. You can also apply Adobe Camera Raw as a filter with the help of MetaRaw and create smart objects from normal layers that can be edited with Adobe Camera Raw.
Additonally MetaRaw's own raw converter produces images that are up to 0.4 megapixel larger than those of Adobe Camera Raw. It is able to open camera raw files from unknown future cameras and supports 160 camera models and 13 raw file extensions that are not supported with the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw. It converts some raw files a bit slower than Adobe Camera Raw, but you may like its output better, e.g. better details, less moire, its skin colors, its preservation of shadow and highlight details or the more natural look of converted X-Trans raw files.
Futhermore, in Photoshop Elements 10-14 MetaRaw lets you apply two hidden settings of Adobe Camera Raw: auto lens correction and chromatic aberration removal. Another feature of MetaRaw is hiding the Adobe Camera Raw dialog when opening a raw file.
If you use Photoshop Elements or a pre-CC version of Photoshop, you can ulilize all features of MetaRaw. If you use Photoshop CC, your benefits are MetaRaw's own raw converter and the Camera Raw Smart Object feature.
Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) does not allow me to open raw files from the camera that I recently bought. Can I use MetaRaw instead?
Yes, MetaRaw definitely lets you to open raw files of newer camera models in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. MetaRaw lets you work around the fact that Adobe only provides new Camera Raw updates for the latest version of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. So if you are using an older version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and do not plan to update to the latest version, you can use MetaRaw to compensate for the missing raw file support.
Why should I use MetaRaw instead of an external raw converter?
MetaRaw allows you to open camera raw files directly in Photoshop with Camera Raw, even if the Camera Raw plugin does not support the files. So you do not need to leave Photoshop and use an external application or tool to process your raw files before you can return to Photoshop to open them. This saves you quite some time and hassle.
Additionally you do not have to worry about the conversion quality of an external tool. MetaRaw makes sure that you get the same premium image quality that you expect from Photoshop.
Which raw converters does MetaRaw support and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
MetaRaw currently supports three raw converters and manages to utilize their advantages while bypassing their disadvantages. Here are the pro and cons of these three raw converters:
Adobe Camera Raw:
+ Works as a plugin in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements+ Many image adjustment options+ Relatively fast raw conversion- You have to update to the latest version of Photoshop to get support for the latest camera raw files.
- Does not open raw files from unknown or exotic cameras
Adobe DNG Converter:
+ Supports the latest camera raw file types
+ Available for free
+/- Produces DNG files, which still need to be converted with Adobe Camera Raw, but this also means that the resulting images are identical.
- Is only available as a standalone application and not as a plugin
- It is inconvenient to use and only allows you to process a whole folder of raw files from its UI
+ Built into the MetaRaw plugin
+ Produces up to 0.4 megapixel larger images than Adobe Camera Raw
+ Supports 170 cameras and 13 raw file extensions than are not supported by Adobe Camera Raw
+ Is able to open raw files from unknown future cameras (even without an update)
+ Produces images with better details and less moire than Adobe Camera and DNG Converter with its "Very High" or "High (Moire Removal)" settings
+ Produces a more satisfying result than Adobe Camera Raw in some cases
+/- Its output looks quite similar but not identical to Adobe Camera Raw
- Conversion speed is in some cases a bit slower than Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe DNG Converter
MetaRaw compensates the disadvantages of Adobe Camera Raw by running Adobe DNG Converter or the MetaRaw converter when Adobe Camera Raw does not know a certain raw file type. MetaRaw evens out the inconvenience of Adobe DNG Converter by running it from within Photoshop and automatically processing its output with Adobe Camera Raw. The tiny speed disadvantage of the MetaRaw converter (which will diminish in future updates) can be minimized by using the other two converters whenever possible.
I use the Adobe Bridge version that was installed with my older version of Photoshop and do not see thumbnail images of newer raw files. Can MetaRaw help here?
Actually we thought about creating a MetaRaw plugin for Adobe Bridge, but as Adobe Bridge CC is now available for free, there is no need for it. You can download Adobe Bridge CC from here. Once you have it installed you can see the thumbnails and previews of newer raw files with it. To make sure that it supports the latest raw files, choose Help > Updates on its menu to download and install the latest Camera Raw version.
I do not see a difference when activating the Auto Lens Correction feature of MetaRaw. What is the problem?
There are different factors that determine if the Auto Lens Correction feature works in Photoshop Elements 10 and higher:
1. Auto lens correction does not work (in the current version of MetaRaw) if you have MetaRaw Converter selected on the MetaRaw dialog.
2. The raw file has to have the name of the lens mentioned in its EXIF data. If you use a lens of the same brand as the camera, it is usually the case.
3. A lens profile of the used lens has to be available. If you installed the latest version of Adobe DNG Converter, Adobe Camera Raw has access to the latest lens profiles.
4. If the photo was taken with a focal length near 50mm (this value can be different for different cameras), no lens correction is necessary, so none will be applied.
If you do not see a difference in the opened image when Auto Lens Correction is activated, one of the mentioned points may be the problem.
Is MetaRaw Converter based on the free dcraw converter?
Yes, MetaRaw's own converter is based on dcraw, but it has some advantages over it:
1. MetaRaw is updated more often than dcraw, so it offers support for new raw files much sooner. It also supports some raw files that dcraw does not support.
2. MetaRaw Converter uses dcraw for opening the raw files, but uses own demosaicing and post processing algorithms, which run on multiple cores. As a result it converts raw files much faster than dcraw.
3. MetaRaw Converter produces a better conversion result for most raw files than dcraw, because of its improved demosaicing and post processing algorithms.
4. MetaRaw offers a graphical user interface and automatically opens the converted images in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements whereas dcraw has to be used from the command line.