I have Photoshop Elements 12 and ACR v8.4. They both give me the ability to crop my image. I shoot in RAW and I have a Canon 6D. I remember reading somewhere that it was better to crop your image in ACR vs. in the PSE editor, but I don't remember the reason (better image quality maintained with an ACR crop?). I mainly cropped in the PSE editor, but I'll change to cropping in ACR if it's better.

Is there an advantage to cropping in one over the other?

  • Perhaps I should add a little more info re my workflow. I bring image into ACR. When finsihed, and open in PSE editor and complete my editing, then save as a JPEG. If the image needs cropping, does is there any advantage to cropping in ACR, vs cropping in PSE editor?
    – markthomas
    Feb 1, 2015 at 0:44

3 Answers 3


I would imagine the advice was given to crop in ACR vs PE because edits within ACR would be non-destrctive vs PE which would be editing a JPEG in a destructive manner. I don't use either tool directly but this would be my assumption.

For example, once you crop and save in Photoshop Elements, the image is overwritten and the cropped portion of the image lost(unless you Save As and create multiple files). In a tool like Adobe Camera RAW your edits are non-destructive to the original RAW File and saved in a separate file with the extension of XMP. It is only upon export of the edits that you will create a new file that is cropped(with any other ACR adjustments), but your RAW file remains unchanged.

See: Why is Camera RAW changing my original raw file?


If cropping more than a little trim, I'd rather export less to the huge TIFF file initially.

If rotating as well as just discarding pixels, one or the other might have better algorithms.

With the latest version of PS, you can load the raw file as a "smart" object and fiddle with the cropping and other ACR settings within the PS image, so there is no difference (but I don't know if it uses different code than simple rotation/transform).

  • "With the latest version of PS" PS or PSE? Important to note here I think.
    – dpollitt
    Feb 2, 2015 at 17:54
  • I know it from (regular) PS. this list seems to be current. Looks like Smart Objects are crippled, but lack of complete 16-bit support makes it a no-go for RAW in general.
    – JDługosz
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:03

I can't answer the question precisely but I researched this the other day and noticed if I crop in Raw and save as JPEG the resulting image size is much larger than doing the same crop in JPEG. So, a bigger file should in theory be a better quality.

  • Are you using the same crop dimension and the same compression settings?
    – Olivier
    May 9, 2017 at 20:10

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