By "auto-toned" do you mean "apply auto tone adjustments", which is a Camera Raw preference, where the plug-in automatically decides on the optimum Basic develop settings? If so, the preference in ACR influences the way Bridge generates its previews. So, if set, ACR should always auto-tone undeveloped images. I can't see how an ACR preference will influence Bridge previews, and not itself.
The ACR auto-tone setting influences JPEGs only if the ACR preference for JPEG handling is not set to Disable. Auto-tone appears to be applied to JPEGs on my system, regardless of whether they have any settings or not, which I would have thought was wrong, but that's just me.
What I'm saying is that I've noticed that my photos, both RAW and jpeg, in Bridge sometimes look better with the auto-tone preference on. When I open one of the images into Photoshop's ACR, it still "auto-tones" them but it doesn't look as good as it did with Bridge's auto-tone. I hope I'm making sense here!
So I'm saying my pictures usually look good while they are in Bridge. And yes my Bridge ACR settings are set to auto tone them. However, when I open the image in Photoshop or ACR, it doesn't keep the same look. Even if ACR does it's own "auto-tone" it still doesn't look like it did in Bridge...
Bridge uses ACR to do things with images. If you Auto Tone in Bridge and then open in ACR then do Auto Tone in ACR do the sliders change? When forming your impression are you viewing the images in Bridge one-per-screen or in thumbnails, many per screen?
Yes, I think the sliders change in ACR..
Also, in Bridge, I'm viewing the image by itself, big, and full screen.
If I set automatic autotoning in Bridge the slider values are the same in ACR as if I clicked Auto inside ACR w/o automatic autotoning enabled. So the autotoning is not different.
And I am not seeing any differences if I make a screen-capture of Bridge's Preview and ACR Preview and quickly alternate back and forth between the two with Windows Photo Viewer or similar. There are no differences with or without autotoning applied.
However, what seems to be true is if you have touched an image with ACR and clicked Done or Open Image rather than Cancel to exit ACR, then Bridge automatic autotoning is NOT applied afterwards in either Bridge or ACR. In other words the automatic autotoning in Bridge is only applied to "virgin" images, not already-adjusted images.
Does this explain what you're seeing?
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I'm wondering if you have set some camera defaults for your camera in ACR that are overriding the setting.