With Camera Raw
by Ben Long
Peachpit Press, 2006
- What the Book is About
- Getting Started With Camera
Raw is an excellent book that covers its subject extremely well. The book briefly
describes the general theory of raw files as used in today's digital cameras, quickly
covers why starting with raw files provides more editing latitude to optimize digital
images, and goes into depth on how to achieve the desired results using Adobe Camera
Raw (ACR) for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The book does not go into normal
Photoshop image editing except in a very introductory way, and often as a discussion
of editing steps that may be affected by choices made earlier during the ACR conversion
- Target Audience
- This book is intended for
those who have a digital camera that can save files in a raw format and who also
want to learn how to use the ACR converter on those files. The lessons cover ACR
in Photoshop CS (Photoshop 8), CS2 (Photoshop 9), Photoshop Elements 3 or Photoshop
Elements 4. Apparently, if someone has the Adobe Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop
7, or can find it somewhere (since it is no longer available from Adobe), the lessons
in this book can apply to that version also. The book assumes the reader has some
basic Photoshop familiarity and/or that the reader will use one of the other available
books to learn the fine points of general image editing.
- What to Expect
- Getting Started With Camera
Raw is divided into several sections:
- Defining a raw image and how
it differs from a JPEG image.
- Introduction of some basic
Photoshop image editing techniques.
- Initial look at the Adobe
Camera Raw (ACR) utility.
- Review of possible raw workflow
- Detailed discussion of the
ACR controls: What they do and how to use them.
- Exploring in-camera exposure
and shooting concepts that will help to produce raw images with maximum editing latitude.
The progression of the book from one topic to another is logical and well thought
out. The reader is introduced to new material in a way that makes it relatively
easy to understand and follow.
A very experienced Photoshop user who just wants to learn how to use ACR should read
Chapter 1; a section called "Where to Begin" will help guide the experienced
user to the chapters that will help them the most. For the rest of us, read each
chapter and work with the techniques on an image of your own. Each one builds upon
the previous, and each will contribute to the overall level of knowledge and understanding.
I found only one noticeable error in the book that may confuse novice photographers.
On page 194, in a section titled "Measuring in Stops", a discussion of
exposure, f-stops and shutter speeds had several numerical errors. The author and
publisher have agreed to make the errata known on the Peachpit website and to correct
the error in any future printings.
- The most significant highlight
is that the author covers his subject with enough detail to provide a good understanding
of the raw conversion principles and techniques without creating a cookbook approach
that would show readers only how to apply the author's own preferences and style.
By following the examples and lessons in the book, the reader is given the tools
and understanding necessary to make their own knowledgeable choices in converting
In my opinion, the book is so well balanced that there are really no sections that
stand out significantly from the others. Everything fits together so well, and builds
logically from basic principles to more advanced, that there were no big "WOWs"
for me, but lots of "Oh - interesting, now I understand." Getting Started
With Camera Raw does an excellent job of introducing ACR and providing the understanding
necessary to make use of this capable tool.
- Mac Guild Grade
- A (Outstanding)
- Final Words
- I would have given the book
an A+ if it had more consistently covered the differences in how ACR is implemented
in Photoshop CS, Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop Elements.
If you want to learn about using the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) utility available in
recent versions of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, then Getting Started With Camera
Raw is a great book. It covers the subject extremely well. The author's writing
style is clear and easily understood and the examples in the book are well illustrated,
even though sometimes the differences between "before" and "after"
can be subtle. By reading and following along, you will learn the tools and techniques
to use ACR to achieve images optimized to your particular tastes.