by Mike McNamee Published 01/10/2013
The change by Adobe from a 'retained for life' software to a cloud-based subscription model carries implications for the users of Raw files. As predicted a long time ago by the naysayers (who wanted an open-source Raw format), the commercial exploitation of the Raw file format has shut a sector of the user-base out of the tent! Owners of new DSLRs suddenly find themselves unable to process Raw files without an upgrade to Photoshop, even if they are perfectly happy with the reduced functionality of their current version. In many ways Adobe are leveraging upgrade income because the newer features of CS5 and CS6 have proven insufficient to tempt the user base to invest. This is, of course, well within their rights as they invented the Raw format in the first place, it's just that they have done a better job than the camera makers and so everybody has developed a taste for ACR! The longer-term issue is that if you are on the subscription-based model you have to keep paying until you fall off the perch (or retire). This then leaves your legacy files un-openable by your offspring or the recently retired owner of them.
One solution is to use the camera manufacturers' software but what if your legacy files include gifted images from other makers for which you do not have the software - once again Raw files become anything but universal?
One software solution is to employ Aperture, Lightroom, Phase 1 Capture or, the subject of this review, DxO Optics. This software overcomes some of the issues with ACR but, today, actually adds additional functionality which is not available through Photoshop, Lightroom or indeed any of the other manufacturers' options. At about £119 it represents but a couple of month's subscription for Adobe CC, but you keep it for life.
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