Do More with RAW files
Digital SLRs let you save files not just as JPEGs but in a RAW format that is exactly what the camera sensor captured, before the camera processes the image. This way you can do your own processing. The Camera Raw 6 plugin in CS5 (which will also be available for Lightroom in the future) works with RAW images from around 275 cameras (RAW formats vary between cameras) and it has new tools that make it easier to get what you want from RAW files more easily.
The higher the ISO at which you shoot your photos, the more likely you will see noise in the image that makes lighter areas in particular look grainy–with some consumer digital cameras, you’ll see a lot of noise even if you’re not taking a long exposure. The Raw Plugin lets you adjust the noise in both the grayscale and color information, so you can take noise out of shadows and get rid of the false color splotches that can appear on white areas. However, we found that the luminance slider for removing grayscale colors wasn’t available with all RAW images, but we’d expect this to be fixed in the final version.
Unusually, you aren’t restricted to loading RAW files in the Raw Plugin and you can now open JPEG and TIFF files too, so you can clean up noise in any photo.
The new version of the plugin promises improved sharpening compared to previous versions and it also lets you add noise. If you want to combine two photos shot under different conditions or with different cameras, you can add grain to make them match or you can just get a stylized film effect.
If you use a wide-angle lens, you can sometimes get unusually dark corners even in an otherwise bright image (this is called vignetting, because it gives a similar effect compared to when a vignette crop or fade is applied). You can now remove vignette corners from a wide-angle image or you can add them to photos as an effect to make the area of interest stand out even more. There are other ways of creating a vignette in Photoshop, but the controls here are simple and it can be convenient to do it at the same time as your other image adjustments. You can control how dark the vignette corners are, how far in they come, how sharp the edges are, and how bright any highlights in the vignette area should be.