Adobe Camera Raw ACR Plugin CS6 CS5.5
Nikon .NEF Canon .CR2 .CRW
Rewriting the Digital Workflow...
Download Free Nikon .NEF Raw Files
by Gary G. Ballard, a professional Adobe Camera Raw Workflow consultant, Southern California
Adobe® Photoshop® Camera Raw® Lightroom® After Effects® Bridge® are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc.

What is Camera Raw?

According to Photoshop expert Jeff Schewe, author of "Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5":

"A raw file is a raw dump of the sensor data unaffected by any camera color conversion or tone curve. The advantage of Camera Raw is that YOU get to decide the white balance and the tone curve applied - not the camera.

"A raw capture looks REALLY WEIRD because all the response is flat with 1/2 the capture bits in the brightest stop. To make it look like what we are expecting a gamma curve must be applied." (Quotes excerpted from Photoshop Mac Forum

Note: When a RAW file is opened in Adobe Camera Raw Plugin ACR, a curve is applied by default, so it doesn't look so weird, but we can apply various curves and many types of tonal adjustments while inside ACR.

FREE DOWNLOADS Nikon .NEF RAW files included below.
I have several free Nikon D300 D200 and D70 .nef files below for downloading for educational and training purposes.

This is a good introduction video to Adobe Camera Raw.


Where can I download or buy Camera Raw for Photoshop?"

Adobe Camera RAW Plugin is included with Adobe Creative Suite Photoshop CS6 CS5 CS CS2 CS3, and it is automatically installed with Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements.

What are .nef, .cr2, .crw, .xmp files?

NEF, CR2 and CRW are manufacturers' "RAW" file formats. NEF is Nikon's format, CR2 is the Canon Digital Camera Raw Image Format...

XMP is a sidecar file ACR generates to store information about a RAW file you open. In other words, open a RAW image in ACR, and a .xmp icon appears next to the source image. The next time you open the RAW file, ACR will use the adjustments stored in the .xmp — lose the .xmp for that file and you start over.

How do I open RAW .nef .cr2 .crw photographs in Adobe Camera Raw?

To open a RAW image — .nef .cr2 .crw files, for example — in Photoshop and use Adobe Camera RAW — normally just double-clicking on the icon should open in the Adobe Camera Raw dialog box.

From Adobe Bridge, you should also be able to just right+click on thumbnail, and Open With: Adobe Camera Raw.

TROUBLESHOOT: Adobe Camera Raw or Photoshop won't open my camera's RAW files, what should I do?

This is a common compatibility problem — typically, new digital cameras are not compatible with older versions of Adobe Camera Raw — for example, ACR 2.0 will not open .nef files from a D70s camera, but ACR 2.4 will. But ACR 2.4 — the last ACR Plugin for PS8/CS — will not open Nikon D200 camera nef RAW files because the ACR 2.4 plugin was never written for the D200 RAW photos.

First try updating your Camera Raw plugin to its latest "dot" version. If that doesn't work, then you need to wait for ACR updates to support your camera. Older versions will likely never be updated and you will be stuck with having to buy a later compatible version of Photoshop.

Check out Adobe's official supported cameras list: Adobe Camera RAW Camera List.

UPDATE ACR Plugin to the latest version for COMPATIBILITY ISSUES:

Open Photoshop: Click on Help> Updates... that should find your Camera Raw update if there is one available, and install it for you.


Latest Adobe Camera Raw versions by Creative Suite:
7.0 (CS6) - 6.6 (CS5) - 5.6 (CS4) - 4.6 (CS3) - 3.7 (CS2) - 2.4 (CS1)

How to check which version of ACR is installed?
Open Photoshop> Photoshop> About Plug-in> Camera Raw (should open an Adobe splash screen noting the specific Version):


That will also confirm that Adobe Camera raw is installed on your computer.

Help! I can't find the where Adobe Camera Raw application is installed.

Adobe Camera Raw is a Photoshop "plug in," it installs automatically with Adobe Photoshop. Instructions to visually confirm the ACR plugin (the plugin is located in a shared folder so apps like Lightroom can use it). Later versions of Photoshop install the plugin here:

  • Mac:
    Library> Application Support> Adobe> Plug-Ins> CS5> File Formats: Camera raw.plugin
  • Windows 32 bit:
    C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\CS5?\File Formats
  • Windows 64 bit:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\Photoshop?\File Formats
Adobe Camera Raw ACR Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

How to make Camera Raw open in 16-bit Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB?
To access Workflow Options in ACR to change Space (profile) Bit depth, size, Resolution, Sharpen For and Smart Objects:

  1. Open a RAW image (the Camera Raw window should open),
  2. Click on the underlined text at the bottom center of the window,
  3. See Workflow Options dialog (see screenshots below).



Shoot camera Raw .NEF, open .NEF in Camera Raw, apply all the corrections within the Photoshop Adobe Camera Raw ACR interface - then - bring the file into Photoshop (in 16 bit)....

The photo opens in Photoshop's 16-bit RGB WorkFlow with only the one Raw-to-16-bit RGB conversion!

Camera Raw> 16-bit RGB keeps us true to the main goal of digital imaging:

CAPTURE as much color information as possible, and PRESERVE that color information throughout the editing process:

Bruce Fraser & Jeff Schewe have already written the books on Adobe Camera Raw:
Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS4


PERSONAL NOTES and free D300 D200 D70 D-70 Raw .NEF file downloads

I have to admit I've never owned an auto-anything camera and have rarely shot 35mm professionally over the past 20 years, but my recent foray into Nikon D70 ($1,300 with kit lens, SB-800 flash), and later D300 and D200 cameras and Adobe Camera Raw plug-in has rewritten my professional photography workflow at light speed....

The relatively inexpensive D300 and D200, with all those modern Nikon features, conveniences, are awesome. And the Adobe Camera RAW Plug-in has sealed the deal.

My only complaint thus far is the Nikon D200 and D70's viewfinders - I can't see the sharpness to manual focus - but the D70's light weight, 1/500th flash-sync speed weigh greatly in the D70's favor. The maximum 1/250th second sync on the D200 is a major disappointment though.

Here is a free digital .nef photograph shot with my Nikon D300 for download.

Download free Nikon D300 RAW .NEF files photos.
Note: Photoshop 9 CS2, Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 4.5 or better required to open this file.

(Seaworld) shot with the AF-S Nikkor 18-135mm ED DX kit lens...
DOWNLOAD original D300 RAW .NEF file:
D300 (12mb)

Here are two free digital .nef photographs shot with my Nikon D200 for download.

Download free Nikon D200 RAW .NEF files photos:
Note: Photoshop 9 CS2, Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 3.4 or better required to open these files.

(My lunch) shot with the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm ED kit lens...
DOWNLOAD original D200 RAW .NEF file:
Pescado.sit, (12mb)

Shot with the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm ED kit lens...
DOWNLOAD original D200 RAW .NEF file:
Fishermen.sit, (12mb)

Download free Nikon D70 RAW .NEF files photos.
Note: Photoshop 8 CS, Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) 2.2 or better required to open these files.

Shot with the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm ED kit lens, F/11 @ 6 seconds...
DOWNLOAD original RAW .NEF file:
RedRoof.sit, (7mb)

Shot with the AF Micro Nikkor 105mm, F/2.8 @ 1/250th second...
DOWNLOAD original RAW .NEF file:
MonaLisa.sit, (7mb)

While G BALLARD used a Nikon D300 D200 and D70 to prepare this ACR online tutorial, Adobe Camera Raw supported Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Konica Minolta camera models include:

• D1
• D1H
• D1X
• D700
• D90
• D100
• D200
• D300
• D2H
• D2Hs
• D2X
• D2Xs
• D40
• D50
• D70
• D80
• Coolpix

• EOS-1D
• EOS-1Ds
• EOS-1D Mark II
• EOS-1Ds Mark II
• EOS-1Ds Mark III
• Canon 1000D (Digital Rebel XS/EOS Kiss F)
• Canon 50D
• EOS 10D
• EOS 20D
• EOS 20Da
• EOS D30
• EOS D60
• Rebel
• Powershot

• Fuji FinePix IS Pro
• FinePix E900
• FinePix F700
• FinePix S2 Pro
• FinePix S3 Pro
• FinePix S20 Pro
• FinePix S5000 Z
• FinePix S5200/5600
• FinePix S6000fd/S6500fd
• FinePix S7000 Z
• FinePix S9000/9500
• FinePix S9100/9600

Konica Minolta
• DiMAGE A200

• N Digital

• Leaf AFi II 6
• Leaf AFi II 7
• Leaf Aptus II 6
• Leaf Aptus II 7
• Aptus 22
• Aptus 65
• Aptus 75
• Valeo 6
• Valeo 11
• Valeo 17
• Valeo 22
• Leica
• D-Lux 2
• D-Lux 3
• Digilux 2
• Digilux 3
• V-LUX 1

• DSC-F828
• DSC-V3
• DSC-R1
• A100

• ZD

• DCS 14n
• DCS Pro 14nx
• DCS720x
• DCS760
• DCS Pro SLR/n
• EasyShare P712
• EasyShare P850
• EasyShare P880

• Olympus
• E-10
• E-1
• E-20
• EVOLT E-300
• EVOLT E 330
• EVOLT E-400
• EVOLT E-410
• EVOLT E-500
• C-5050 Zoom
• C-5060 Zoom
• C-7070 Wide Zoom
• C-8080 Wide Zoom
• SP-310
• SP-320
• SP-350
• SP-500UZ
• SP-510 UZ
• Olympus SP-565 UZ

• R-D1
• R-D1s

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