Current Photoshop CS users may not completely understand the policy regarding forward updates to Camera Raw and wheher or not new updates will work in Photoshop CS. The answer is that with the release of Photoshop CS2 and Camera Raw 3, all new updates to Camera Raw will only work in “currently shipping software” which means Photoshop CS2 (when it ships) and Photoshop Elements 3.0 or above. Camera Raw 2.4 is the last update for CR 2.x.
It should be noted that the free DNG Converter will continue to be updated to add support for new cameras released. The workaround for those people not using Photoshop CS2 & CR 3 will be to process raw files with the DNG Converter and then use Camera Raw 2.4 to open–since DNG is supported by Camera Raw 2.4.
From Thomas Knoll on the Camera Raw Forums:
Thread: ACR 3.0 and ACR 3.1
Thomas Knoll – 03:54pm Apr 4, 2005 Pacific
“There is some confusion about Adobe Camera Raw update plans in the wake of the CS2 announcement. So here are some answers.
ACR 3.0 will be including on the Photoshop CS2 CDs. ACR 3.0 will not support any new cameras beyond ACR 2.4. (Some cameras will be moved from unofficial support to the officially supported list, but that is just a testing issue, since there where no actual code changes in the processing for these cameras).
Because of the fairly long lag time required for testing and CD duplication when releasing a major Photoshop version, some fairly important cameras missing the cut for support in ACR 3.0. Most notably the Nikon D2X and the Canon 350D/Rebel XT/Kiss N.
So our plan is to take advantage of the shorter lag time of the Internet, and to “short cycle” the ACR 3.1 release to add support for these cameras (and possibly a few others). We are planning on posting a public beta release of ACR 3.1 on Adobe.com in early May, about the same time as most purchases of Photoshop CS2 would be receiving their CDs.
ACR 3.1 will only work with Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements 3. Photoshop CS owners will need to upgrade to CS2 to be able to read the native raw files from these newly supported cameras, but they do have the option of the using the free DNG Converter 3.1 to convert the native raw files into DNG format, which can then be opened by ACR 2.4, if they want to delay updating to CS2.”
Kevin Conner, in his PhotoshopNews interview also said: “We’ve added a lot more features to Camera Raw in Photoshop CS2, and we can’t really give those features away to users who haven’t upgraded yet. New camera raw updates for new cameras will be limited to users of the latest version of the software. However, we’ve committed to releasing the DNG Converter on the same schedule as Camera Raw, so that provides an easy way to gain compatibility with new cameras even if you haven’t upgraded your version of Photoshop. Just download the free DNG converter for your new camera, convert your files to DNG, and they’ll open in Photoshop CS without a problem.”
Bruce Fraser, author of Real World Camera Raw (we’ll have news soon regarding this book’s update) said: “For those photographers whose cameras are unsupported in Camera Raw 2.4 but will be in Camera Raw 3.0 or above, the DNG Converter solution is a useful alternative“. He went on to say “But photographers would be foolish not to upgrade to Photoshop CS2 and Camera Raw 3.0 because of the advances that have been made in the upgrades.“