(news & commentary)
Adobe quietly posted an “update to policy” about Photoshop CS6 in the Lightroom Journal (sic ;~).
Here’s the news: the next release of Adobe Camera Raw (9.1.1) will be the last that works with Creative Suite 6, i.e. Photoshop CS6. New camera and new software support (think Dehaze) will no longer be produced for the CS6 version of ACR after that.
Yes, this is what we all feared when Adobe made their original announcement of Creative Cloud: to stay fully up-to-date, you have to move to the cloud, if you really want to remain a current Adobe user.
Adobe has suggested a workaround: use the Adobe DNG Converter. This, of course, adds a step to your workflow, and “convert” is a terrible word to use in this context, because if you actually do convert and throw away your originals as Adobe suggests (to save space), you no longer have the originals and that’s going to create problems for some other converters (e.g. Nikon’s), should you choose to use them in the future. The good news is that the Adobe DNG Converter works just fine for all versions of Photoshop starting with CS2, so it is a way to keep your camera support current while using an older version of Photoshop.
The new question, of course, is: how long is Adobe DNG Converter going to be updated with new camera support? At the moment Adobe is still promoting DNG and trying to get it established as a standard (even in video), but Adobe has a long history of abandoning products, even if they’re integral to someone’s workflow.
So, sometime soon your choice will be: (1) join the Photoshop Cloud offer at US$10/mo; (2) find an alternative converter—which could be Lightroom—and continue to use your older Photoshop version; (3) use DNG converter with your older Photoshop version; or (4) find an alternative workflow that doesn’t involve Adobe.
Update: not long after I posted this, ACR 9.1.1 and Lightroom CC 2015.1.1 updates were released by Adobe. Thus, CS6 owners now have their last update of camera and lens support from Adobe. Adobe did catch up with many recent cameras, including the Leica Q, the Canon G3 X, the Panasonic GX8, the new Phase One backs, the Ricoh GRII, and the most recent Sony models (A7rII, RX10II, RX100IV). Any camera introduced in the coming months (and years) will require you to use Adobe DNG Converter in order for the raw files to be understood by Photoshop CS6, at least as long as Adobe continues to update the DNG converter.