Adobe has posted the latest updates for its Camera Raw and DNG Converter Photoshop CS2 plug-ins on its support Web site (Windows, Mac) today. The latest version, 3.5, adds support for raw files from the Kodak EasyShare P712, the Nikon D2Xs, the Panasonic DMC-FZ50, the Panasonic DMC-L1, and the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100.
Adobe's Camera Raw lets Photoshop users convert proprietary raw image files into standard file types, such as TIFF, JPEG, and so forth. DNG Converter lets you convert those same proprietary raw files into Adobe's proposed standard DNG raw file type. While few manufacturers have adopted the DNG standard, Adobe argues that it offers a more stable file type for long term archival purposes, since older raw files may eventually lose support and become unreadable. To its credit, it's a positive sign that Adobe has been making an effort to break down the proprietary wall of raw files. If adopted, users of third-party raw converters wouldn't have to wait for software updates to catch up with new camera releases. On the other hand, camera manufacturers routinely counter that, by nature, raw formats must be proprietary and that any attempt at standardization would limit their ability to innovate with new processing features.
Of course, if camera manufacturers offered software developers kits early enough before launching new raw-capable cameras--and if Adobe's Camera Raw and other third-party converters continue to provide support for all those older models, then there should be no reason to worry, right?