Photoshop cannot open Camera RAW

Photoshop raw image import issue
Source: Photoshop

Almost all DSLRs including some of the latest basic cameras come with a option to shoot Raw images instead of just JPEG. It’s always better to shoot images in Raw format instead of JPEG. Even in JPEG there are different types like low, medium and high quality JPEG images, but all of these JPEG images are compressed images and not all image information is saved. Where as images captured in Raw format can be used to recover some of the lost content when compared to JPEG images using tools like Lightroom, Photoshop or any other photo editing tools.
I recently bought a full frame camera (Nikon D600) and had captured images in Camera RAW format. I used my friend’s machine who had Photoshop and Lightroom installed and was in need of it to edit these RAW photos. I could easily import photos to Lightroom but when I tried importing RAW images (NEF format file for Nikon) to Photoshop, it just did not work. It did not work even when I had used Bridge. I got a pop-up message as shown above which said “Photoshop cannot open this file” with a link to adobe Photoshop help.
The reason why you get this image is you have an older version of Camera RAW import software (plugin) and the image was captured using the latest camera. When I checked with my friend, he told me that the Photoshop software was installed before this camera was released in the market and there was no software update done by him.
Either upgrade your Photoshop or Lightroom software to the latest version or fix this issue by follow the following steps:

  • First, check the version that’s already installed by navigating to Help>> About Plugin >> Camera RAW and a pop-up will appear as shown above with the version number of Camera Raw. As you can see, the version of Camera RAW is Version
  • Now go to Camera RAW plugin of Adobe help page [link] and check for the supported camera. Here you can find the list of cameras and their supported Camera RAW format. For my Camera Nikon D600/ D610 the supported version is 7.3 (min.). So, I need to download and upgrade the plugin. This is a free download and can be downloaded from Adobe website.
adobe camera raw version
Source: Adobe
  • Download the latest or the supported version of Adobe Camera Raw and DNG Converter [link].
  • Install the software and convert the RAW file into DNG format and try importing the image to Photoshop.
  • The image that you imported will now be opened and all the camera raw details will be pulled in.
  • You can now proceed with the post processing.

If you are using Mac machine, then you can download the right version either directly from Photoshop or from the above link. The above link is for Windows, similarly you can download for Mac machine as well.