Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

I have a question. I used to use Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw plugin till now. These were the only 2 products I need to work with my photos. After reinstalation of my PC I lost the old licenses and I need to buy some new ones. I would like to ask you is there any possibility of Adobe Bridge modul and Camera Raw plugin combination only without Lightroom or Photoshop CS? Or, alternatively, is it possible to buy only Lighthroom and use the Bridge and Camera Raw plugin this way? I mean will the Camera Raw plugin work with the Lightroom only without Photoshop CS? My idea is to open the photos in Bridge, pick up the snap and by double click open it in Camera Raw plugin. That´s the way I´ve used it till now. Thanks for your reply.

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Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

I have a question. I used to use Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw plugin till now. These were the only 2 products I need to work with my photos. After reinstalation of my PC I lost the old licenses and I need to buy some new ones. I would like to ask you is there any possibility of Adobe Bridge modul and Camera Raw plugin combination only without Lightroom or Photoshop CS? Or, alternatively, is it possible to buy only Lighthroom and use the Bridge and Camera Raw plugin this way? I mean will the Camera Raw plugin work with the Lightroom only without Photoshop CS? My idea is to open the photos in Bridge, pick up the snap and by double click open it in Camera Raw plugin. That´s the way I´ve used it till now. Thanks for your reply.

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Correct Answer by ssprengel
Adobe Community Professional
| Adobe Community Professional

In a word, No, to both your scenarios.

But before continuing, have you checked for your serial numbers on www.adobe.com / login / Manage account / password / Plans and Products (up top) / View your products?

Assuming they're not listed, back to your question:

Bridge and the ACR plug-in are parts of Photoshop (and maybe video processing software, not sure), but not a standalone product, and Lightroom contains the functionality of Bridge and ACR within itself, in that once you've imported photos (told LR where the photos are) LR will show you thumbnails and let you make the same adjustments you can make in ACR.  Of course Importing is a separate precursor step to working on the photos, unlike Bridge that opens on a Window Explorer or Mac Finder folder of images without importing.

Depending on what you do in Bridge/ACR perhaps Elements would be ok for you, but it's limited to the first three tabs in ACR:  Basic Toning, Detail (Sharpening, Noise-reduction) and Camera Calibration (Process Version and Camera Profile).

The cheapest way to get the current version of LR+PS is a $120/yr subscription billed at $10/month.  If you cancel, early you owe half the remaining balance as penalty:

Compare plans | Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan

You can subscribe to PS by itself for $20/mo.  Adobe assumes PS-only people are highly paid graphic artists working for some company who can afford to pay for software for it's employees, whereas LR+PS people are barely-getting-by photographers working for themselves, who need a break.

26 Replies

Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

In a word, No, to both your scenarios.

But before continuing, have you checked for your serial numbers on www.adobe.com / login / Manage account / password / Plans and Products (up top) / View your products?

Assuming they're not listed, back to your question:

Bridge and the ACR plug-in are parts of Photoshop (and maybe video processing software, not sure), but not a standalone product, and Lightroom contains the functionality of Bridge and ACR within itself, in that once you've imported photos (told LR where the photos are) LR will show you thumbnails and let you make the same adjustments you can make in ACR.  Of course Importing is a separate precursor step to working on the photos, unlike Bridge that opens on a Window Explorer or Mac Finder folder of images without importing.

Depending on what you do in Bridge/ACR perhaps Elements would be ok for you, but it's limited to the first three tabs in ACR:  Basic Toning, Detail (Sharpening, Noise-reduction) and Camera Calibration (Process Version and Camera Profile).

The cheapest way to get the current version of LR+PS is a $120/yr subscription billed at $10/month.  If you cancel, early you owe half the remaining balance as penalty:

Compare plans | Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan

You can subscribe to PS by itself for $20/mo.  Adobe assumes PS-only people are highly paid graphic artists working for some company who can afford to pay for software for it's employees, whereas LR+PS people are barely-getting-by photographers working for themselves, who need a break.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Hi ssprengel,

Thanks for your reply. This is for the first time somebody clearly explaines to me what the ACR is a part of .

Now I understand, the LR is the right way for me.

Only 2 notices:

1) Is it possible to use the Bridge module together with LR? Is it free? Yes of course, I understand the LR has the same funcionality as Bridge, but my habit...

2) I asked my reseller about limitation for only the first 3 ACR tabs accesible in LR. He told me there is no limitation and there is the full support for all ACR funcionality in LR. We talk about unlimited time license, not 1 year license rental. Is it true?

Many thanks for your reply.

Petr

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 11, 2018

1) You can subscribe to the LR+PS Photography Plan and just use PS/Bridge/ACR and not touch LR if you want.  I think most photographers use LR mostly and then use PS here and there for extra work that LR cannot do.

2) There are three tabs in ELEMENTS' ACR plug-in.  LR has full functionality.  The unlimited time LR is LR 6 which is not being updated anymore, and does not come with PS/Bridge/ACR.  The current version of LR (Classic CC) is 7.4 and the current version of PS is 19.something.  Adobe has 7-day trials of their software although if it's more than one item you're getting, together, like LR+PS then the clock starts for both of them the minute you login when installing the first one, I think.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 11, 2018

I don't think trying to just use Bridge with Lightroom would be very productive. There isn't a "pathway" to move from Bridge to Lightroom, and since Lightroom stores all its work in the catalog changes would not be reflected in the previews displayed in Bridge. I don't see any benefit of trying to use those two programs together. A more productive approach would be to simply use the library module in Lightroom, in my opinion.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

> Bridge and the ACR plug-in are parts of Photoshop (and maybe video processing software, not sure), but not a standalone product

not true... Bridge and ACR are standalone products and technically you can use ACR with only Bridge installed 🙂

the mere fact that ACR code includes checks that either Bridge or PS are present (and that creates some impression that it is not a genuine standalone product) does not mean that PS has to be installed... if you don't believe me - temporarily rename your PS folders and you will see that Bridge starts ACR just fine... be a little more enterprising, eh ?

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 12, 2018

Are you saying the OP can legally install a trial of PS on a new computer, have that trial expire, and delete the PS folders and never pay anything and have Bridge and ACR work on that computer?  That's the context of the discussion, how to get the two products on a new computer.  My answer is that they are part of the licensed PS install.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

> My answer is that __they__ are part of the licensed PS install.

geez, dear, you even don't know the basics = Adobe bridge not included with photoshop?

You don't need a license photoshop install for Bridge ... Bridge is a free product (registration req'd).

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

I have Bridge installed, as a free download, on a spare computer with no other Adobe product.  One can "see" raw images as Bridge previews, fully rendered, but one can't open ACR.  It requires a qualifying product to run ACR.

It's interesting, in that all of the camera profiles are present, but it's only good as a browser.  I have it set up to deliver images to other photo editing programs, but in this case it delivers the original raw file, not a rendered copy.  As far as I can tell Adobe has "locked" it up so it will function only as a browser.

Richard Southworth

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

> It requires a qualifying product to run ACR.

it requires it (qualifying product - PS) to be run just once AFAIK... whether it technically continues to require that all the time is subject to a test (somebody with a spare time welcome to try - CC might act diffrently from pre CC incarnations)... the technical point is ACR and Bridge (in terms of launching ACR) are really standalone products whose functionality is simply crippled by some checks but otherwise neither ACR nor Bridge require any PS binaries to be present to work...

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

The bare-bones ACR raw conversion is apparently present, in order to generate Bridge previews, but I see no way to invoke any of the other ACR functionality.  It may well require other PS binaries to do real work..

Richard Southworth

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Hi Guys,

Thx for all your replies. I see the problem isn´t really simple and clear for many of us 🙂

But i agree with those of you who wrote the ACR doesn´t work properly without PS or LR installed. I´ve got the same experience as

That´s why I wrote this question and you confirmed me there is no other way.

Many thanks to all of you 🙂

Petr

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

>  It may well require other PS binaries to do real work..

it does not - as I noted you can delete PS and ACR will work fully including saving JPG/TIFF/DNG files... I digged into my old notes and it is a matter to run ACR once with PS to get it "activated" for Bridge (at least it used to be), then ACR + Bridge will live happily ever after w/o PS... no PS binaries are necessary for ACR to work (do not click "OPEN" button - save instead)

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

In the interests of science I performed a (reasonably) careful experiment on my spare pc, which had only Bridge.

1. Upgraded Bridge and Camera Raw on the spare pc to bring up to current level.  Tried to invoke CR, got the usual msg about not having started a qualifying product.

2. Loaded up Photoshop CC on spare pc.  Without invoking PS tried Bridge/CR again, no go.

3. Fired up Photoshop, since I was already running it on my desktop and laptop it said no unless I shut down one of the other licenses.  I got out and tried Bridge/CR again, still no go.

4. Transferred my laptop license to the spare pc version of PS, now Bridge/CR works on the spare pc.  Bridge/CR no longer operates on the laptop.

5. Switched license back to laptop, PS disabled on spare pc, and Bridge/CR no longer works (same old message about qualifying product).  Thankfully now fully operational on laptop.

So what can we conclude?  Not too much, other than Adobe has "tightened" up the process, i.e. just signing out on a system kills Bridge/CR functionality.  And can't really conclude much about where binaries are located.  Again, this was all done using latest version of CC.

Richard Southworth

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Richard thank you very much for your very usefull experiment.

I have one more question. Is the LR also the "qualifying product" for CR invoking from Bridge or isn´t?

I´d installed the LR 6.7 trial version and tried to invoke CR from Bridge by double click on photo in Bridge.

"Not having started a qualifying product" message appeared.

Could it be because of the trial LR version or LR isn´t the "qualifying product?

I´m going to to buy the LR licens, but I would like to know it before.

Thx.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 15, 2018

LR is it's own thing.  Photoshop or Premier or maybe Illustrator would be a qualifying product.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

I too have downloaded Bridge in the hope of accessing 9.10.1 version of ACR and have encountered the same qualifying product issues previously reported.

The closest I have managed is to download Elements 2019 but ACR is throttled and does not allow anything other than save image as dng

Is there any way to access the full functionality of ACR without buying a subscription? Is it possible to buy a perpetual licence to another Adobe product that grants access to ACR.?

For a number of years my workflow has been to open ACR from Photo Mechanic and use 'save image as' from ACR.

I rarely need to go into photoshop and this workflow is fast . A recent camera upgrade means my version of ACR (9.1.1)no longer supports my raw files and cannot be updated.

My photoshop is a perpetual licence for CS6 and Adobe stopped updating ACR for this product a while ago.

I would love to continue using my perpetual version of PS (CS6) as it does all I need it to do on the odd occasions I need it.

Thanks

Peter.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Oct 16, 2018

The final version of Camera Raw that is compatible with Photoshop CS6 is version 9.1.1. If you want to continue using that version, and have a newer camera then your alternative would be to download the DNG converter and convert the raw images to the DNG format and ensure that the conversion is compatible with that version of Camera Raw. Then you will be able to continue using Photoshop CS6 for as long as it remains compatible with your operating system.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Your solution is simple and free, but will require an additional step in your workflow. Use the DNG Converter to convert your Raw files to .dng files that remain Raw but can be opened in your ACR.

Adobe Digital Negative Converter

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Many thanks for both responses.

I am aware of the DNG route around the problem but it is too time consuming with my use case.

The occasions when I need to use Photo Mechanic and ACR without visiting PS or LR or anything else are time critical.

It looks like there is no way round having to buy a subscription to enable access to ACR.  Pity.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Oct 16, 2018

Try this plugin:

The Plugin Site - MetaRaw

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Thankyou for the suggestion.

I tried it and it seems like it nearly does the job..although it round trips via DNG converter before opening ACR which costs a few seconds.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Oct 17, 2018

I've been in a couple of rush situations where every minute counts. So I get that.

IME there are two bottlenecks: First, dumping the card to disk, with preview generation, takes a long time with a couple of hundred 40-ish MP raw files. The other is culling and picking. Those two are 95% of normal processing time - but both can be cut to a fraction by shooting raw+jpeg on separate cards, and the jpegs handled in Windows Explorer/Photos. Just note down the numbers.

Once you have your picks and you're down to final raw processing, Lightroom is orders of magnitude faster than ACR. This is what Lightroom was born to do - synchronizing basic exposure and white balance etc.

So I suppose my point is that I don't understand why you would want ACR over Lightroom for high speed work - at least once you get to the final picks.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Oct 16, 2018

Do you have a version of Lightroom that you are using? Lightroom doesn't need the camera raw plug-in. It doesn't use the camera raw plug-in. The raw technology is part of the Lightroom program.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

I am content with my LR arrangement and most of my work lives in that environment but my question concerns the occasions when I need to use Photo Mechanic and ACR without visiting PS or LR due to extreme time pressures.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Oct 17, 2018

I don't have any experience at all with Photo Mechanic. I don't believe there is any way to make Camera Raw work with it, and Lightroom isn't going to work with either one of them as far as I know. So it seems to me that you are in an either/or situation here.

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Re: Camera raw plugin only with Bridge or Lightroom (without Photoshop CS)

Adobe Community Professional, Jul 13, 2018

It appears that somewhere along the line you have performed a hack that is somewhat of an anomaly. It would be interesting to see if you can replicate it again on another computer.

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