Adobe has released two Photoshop plug-ins - Camera Raw and JPEG 2000.

Camera Raw delivers swift access from within Photoshop 7.0.1 the application to the RAW image format in professional and mid-range digital cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon and Olympus.

It allows photographers to manipulate captured data, giving a "superior tonal range and the maximum amount of detail", the company claims. The RAW image format is a bulkier than JPEG or TIFF, but holds a more data. Accessing this lets photographers adjust white balance, saturation and sharpness before such levels are altered by the camera's built-in settings. The RAW format can be considered as an uncompressed digital photo-negative.

The plug-in also lets Photoshop users preview RAW files within the application's File Browser, and files can be imported in 16-bit per channel mode. Default and custom RAW image settings are available for each supported camera, and settings are adjustable.

Adobe's senior vice president of digital imaging and video products Bryan Lamkin said: We fast-tracked the availability of this technology because customers told us they wanted to view and work with RAW camera formats in Photoshop. We expect to build this functionality into future versions of Photoshop, but wanted to put it into customer hands as soon as possible."

Photographer Jeff Schewe said: "The coolest thing about this is the white balance feature. Photographers can adjust their images in terms familiar to them, quickly and accurately. The ability to see a preview of the sharpening and smoothing is great. Photographers will love the RAW format capabilities in this new plug-in."

JPEG 2000 is a new image-coding system that uses state-of-the-art compression techniques
based on wavelet technology. It has been developed to provide superior image quality within smaller file sizes, and is already supported by a number of digital cameras, software solutions and other devices.

The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in is bundled with the JPEG 2000 plug-in, meaning Photoshop can support that format, too. The English-only software is available for download from Adobe and costs $99. Japanese versions of the plug-ins are expected to ship in spring 2003.