I have Lightroom 4.4 and am not willing to buy the 5 update because it has nothing I could use – except support for new camera RAW formats. Then I see that the DNG converter is available for free download, and I could actually use that to convert RAW images of a new camera model to DNG and then use them in Lightroom as usual. That adds an extra step to the workflow (which might be possible to automate), and I'd lose the original RAW file (because I don't want to keep twice the file size).

So, is it possible to teach the new file formats to Lightroom 4 as well?

Photoshop CS6 recently received a Camera Raw update that enables it to open such new files. It's only Lightroom, of the same age, that seems to be stuck in the past.


No - You cannot upgrade only the camera raw portion of LR separately from the software as a whole. The workaround is exactly what you proposed - using the free converter to DNG.

This is how Adobe keeps you upgrading. If you get a new camera, you may also need to upgrade your Adobe software unless you want to change your workflow(use the free converter, stop shooting RAW, or use different software that does support your new camera).

See the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in support site for more information and a complete listing of cameras supported by each version: http://helpx.adobe.com/creative-suite/kb/camera-raw-plug-supported-cameras.html


It isn't really "stuck" in the past. The release of Camera Raw and Lr can be out of step on occasion, but rarely for more than a few weeks. Most of the time, they are released as updates on the same day, as was the case for CR 8.7 and Lr 5.7. I recall that the minor release numbers of both related products are set to match on purpose.

For older releases of Lr that are no longer being updated, you have to preprocess to raw via the free tool and then import into Lr. There isn't any duplicate raw file:

  1. Create the raw file(s)
  2. Import them into Lr, either in-place, or by moving it to the new location

Perhaps someone has created a plug-in that approximates this.


One possible workaround is a folder watcher of some sort. You can use a fancy plug-in like this (assuming there is a version for Lr 4.4 -- Friedl tends to track latest, though), or maybe just a regular watched folder. Then script the DNG convertor to output the files to this folder for automatic importing.

  • I am not confused. Your points are in my answer. (Other than the "raw" file being ignored, which most workflows would do regardless of how the raw was converted, unless they wanted to save the raw inside the DNG. i.e. I make no distinction between the in-camera raw, which I throw away and reformat over on the memory card, and the archived DNG.)
    – user31502
    Nov 28 '14 at 21:02
  • I was actually making the boilerplate statement about current and future CR support in Lr that is nearly identical to the Lr support forums: supported versions get CR updates in step with the CR plugin and standalone util -- both use the CR library at a specific version. And the typical way to continue to use raw/DNG in earlier releases by adding an extra step and import. I was disagreeing with Lr being stuck in the past, as CR is an integral part of the raw processing stack and is not an import plugin.
    – user31502
    Nov 28 '14 at 21:10

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