No, 6.2 is exclusively for CS5.
You will never be able to open your raw files from your new camera directly in CS4.
You need to download the free, stand-alone Adobe DNG Converter, version 6.2 (if and when it's available) and then run it as an application to convert your Sony raw files to raw DNG files you can then open in ACR 5.7 hosted by CS4. ACR 5.7 is the last Camera Raw version to run on CS4; there will be no further updates for CS4.
Wo Tai Lao Le
While one can easily see the commercial reasons in not continuing to develop older software, why the heck doesn't Adobe make Camera Raw compatible across at least a couple of versions? Or add support to the next older version of Camera Raw for a little while. Modern software development can certainly handle release branch development at the same time as developing for the main trunk.
Any Marketeer would say that it would cut into Photoshop sales to support new cameras in old versions, and that might even be a valid argument if Photoshop weren't one of the most expensive pieces of software on the planet.
Noel Carboni wrote:
While one can easily see the commercial reasons in not continuing to develop older software, why the heck doesn't Adobe make Camera Raw compatible across at least a couple of versions?
You're wasting your breath. A while ago, I suggested separating the raw file interpreter (RFI) code from the demosaicing and processing (DAP) code, because DNG Converter (which isn't CS version dependent) is effectively the RFI part of ACR anyway, and probably shares a big chunk of code. Then, when using ACR, the DAP code would call the RFI code to open the raw files. Adobe could still protect their development by making the DAP code CS-version-dependent.
Sorry about all the acronyms. I was trying to keep it short.
Anyway, I seem to remember meeting a big negative response, which surprised me, because I thought it was a good idea.
Noel Carboni wrote:
Modern software development can certainly handle release branch development at the same time as developing for the main trunk.
As a plug-in developer yourself Noel, I would think you would have a better understanding of the technical issues involved. And the reasons are indeed both technical and economic. First off, each new version of Photoshop has a new set SDK dependancies that plug-ins must live under. In addition to the SDK, there are also OS level dependancies to consider–particularly on the Mac (which since Photoshop and Camera Raw are cross=platform are real issues). For example, the Photoshop SDK for CS5 must have updated 64-bit processing in order for a plug-in to work in the 64-bit version of Photoshop. When Apple dropped the PPC and went with MacIntel, plug-ins needed to be Universal Binaries to run on both. CS5 has dropped PPC and developers had to change the compiler used from CodeWarrior to Xcode. That was a real pain for developers, right Noel?
Even if the Camera Raw engineers COULD provide some sort of backwards compatibility (and Photoshop Elements is an example) just how far back should Adobe offer free support? One version? Two? Each additional version would need it's own QE testing. And while Adobe is a big company, the Camera Raw engineering team is rather small. What would it take away from R&D if the engineers had to worry about backwards compatibilities? It would take engineering and QE man hours which would reduce the amount of time available for developing new features and functionality. So, what new feature or function would have to be deferred because of the backward compatibility requirements? I don't know...but I do know that the amount of time engineering NEW features would be cut. Maybe Process 2010 and the new noise reduction in ACR 6 wouldn't be as extensive, maybe Lens Corrections and manual perspective transforms...I don't know. But I do know that the 3 main Camera Raw engineers work their butts off to do new things without having to be worrying about the backwards compatibilities.
So, there are real technical, support & testing issues as well as economic issues that led Adobe to make the policy that Camera Raw would only be officially supported and tested against the current shipping version of Photoshop. Whether you like that or not certainly is a factor in their decision but the reasons to NOT offer backwards compatibilities seem to outweigh the reasons to offer that support. And this isn't a 'new policy' from Adobe...it's been the policy since Camera Raw first shipped in 2003.
So, to make the assumption that the only reason Adobe doesn't support Camera Raw in previous versions is purely economic would be incorrect.
As to the backwards compatibilities of the free DNG Converter, that's a different issue since DNG Converter is a free standing application not tied to Photoshop and its SDK, the job of making DNGs out of new cameras is much, much easier. Also note that aside from some of the DNG spec changes that require different processing options, there aren't any real controls nor image parameter processing that needs to be supported, just the new DNG spec and making sure the app runs on the supported OS's. Adobe offers the free DNG Converter as a method of previous users of Photoshop getting new camera support for use in previous version-all the way back to Camera Raw 2.4 in Photoshop CS2.
Personally, I support the policy of limiting backwards compatibilities because I want to see the engineers concentrating on future development not spending a lot of time worrying about support for previous versions. I understand it hits some users more than others who are on a timely upgrade schedule. But I find it ironic that people who seem to have the money to buy new cameras don't consider upgrading their software to get the most out of their raw files. It seems they are willing to spend the money on the hardware but resist spending an upgrading their software–which as you've seen with the improvements with Process 2010 can have a major impact on their image quality.
I don't really want to get into a full-blown debate on the subject of ACR backwards compatibility, but I just wanted to make sure people understand it's not only an economic reason why the policy is what it is. And, debate all you want, but I'm REAL sure that regardless of what you may think and argue about, that policy is not going to be changed.
I appreciate your detailed thoughts, Jeff, and I agree with you in principle that it is good to have people working and looking forward.
But should getting a new cutting-edge camera really demand getting a new version of Photoshop?
As a plug-in developer, yes, I very well understand how to make plug-ins compatible with multiple versions of Photoshop - and frankly it isn't that hard! My plug-ins are compatible with a huge number of apps, Photoshop from way back through the present, and even a bunch of other editors.
I've been able to develop software on any number of branches and on a main trunk simultaneously for something like 25 years now. Unless the software development processes being followed by the Camera Raw engineers are really broken, this is not a technical problem at all.
No, this all comes down to policy and economics. An argument that adding camera support to an old version will take away engineers and testers from new development is thinking like a line manager... Adobe need only fund more developers. Perhaps I think more like top management because I own my own company, but this isn't rocket science.
The decent thing to do would be to support one prior major version, and optimize the software so that the changes to support new cameras will slip easily into both versions. It may not be perfectly automated, but c'mon, in the new millenium it can be done easily.
Think, for a moment, about someone who has waited until much of the way through a Photoshop release cycle to buy a new camera and a new copy of Photoshop. Okay, so they'll get upgrade pricing on the next version, but should they really have to pay, then pay again? Perhaps they'll have more money to spend on software in the off year when they didn't buy a camera.
Adobe is a big company. Adobe charges big bucks for this software - amongst the biggest. It's clear they're commercially successful now, but wouldn't they like to be even MORE successful? That happens beyond the current fiscal year by delivering great VALUE in the products. If you take care of people using CS4 for a while (and who by definition have avoided CS5), chances are much better that they'll buy CS6, no?
Personally I think Adobe squeezes the cash cow a little too tightly, and she'd give even more milk if she were fed better.
Personally, I find the price of the Photoshop upgrade to be amply justified by the improvements in each major version of ACR.
I upgraded to CS3 and to CS4, respectively, exclusively for the new versions of ACR in each instance. I'd upgrade to CS5 if it didn't entail a cost of literally many thousands of dollars for a new machine, new internal drives and a slew of software applications (that require Classic). A couple of hundred dollars, that's OK; many thousands of dollars, no way.
What I'm trying to say is that I understand both points of view in this argument, as ironic as it sounds.
Thanks Tai. You've nicely illustrated the point that an upgrade might not involve just the price of Photoshop itself. Now imagine adding the price of a new cutting-edge camera to your finances. It's often a matter of timing.
I personally always upgrade to the new versions of Photoshop the moment they release, so I'm really trying to make the point of "best practice" for Adobe here. The current policy does not affect me negatively at all.
From time to time we even see people proposing alternative editors because of some of the "less than best practices" Adobe follows.
That's right. I'd be willing to pay $200 for an upgrade to a version of ACR 6.x that worked hosted by CS4. It's the thousands of dollars required for me to upgrade to CS5 that keeps me from taking advantage of ACR 6.2.