Today’s Question: If I upgrade to Photoshop CC from CS6, will I be able to maintain a RAW image instead of having to convert to DNG? I would like to stay with RAW and not maintain DNG files.
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, if you upgrade to Photoshop CC via a Creative Cloud subscription, you will be able to process your RAW captures without the need to convert to the Adobe DNG file format first.
More Detail: One of the ways Adobe encourages photographers to upgrade to the latest version of Photoshop is to provide updates to the latest proprietary RAW capture formats only in the latest major version updates of Photoshop. So, for example, if you are using an older “CS” version of Photoshop you won’t be able to get updates to Adobe Camera Raw to support the latest RAW file format updates in the newest digital cameras.
One workaround for this issue is the free Adobe DNG Converter. The Adobe DNG (Digital Negative) file format is an openly documented file format that can be used in place of a proprietary RAW capture. In fact, many cameras now support DNG as an alternative (or exclusive) form of RAW capture.
So, with an older version of Photoshop that doesn’t support a newer RAW capture format, you could simply convert those files to the Adobe DNG format with the free Adobe DNG Converter, and then open those DNG files in your older version of Photoshop.
One of the advantages of upgrading to the latest version of Photoshop is that newer proprietary RAW capture formats will still be supported, without the need to convert to the Adobe DNG file format first. And, of course, you’ll gain access to a large number of new features that have also been added to Photoshop since the transition to the Creative Cloud model. In some cases those new updates are rather impressive, so there is more to gain than simple support for the latest RAW capture formats.