The Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is the plug-in within Photoshop Elements (and Photoshop for that matter) that allows PSE to open and edit camera raw files.
As new cameras are introduced they often change their raw file format or other inner workings that affect the raw image file written to the memory card. Adobe updates the ACR to accomodate the change. I normally did not worry about making sure I had the latest ACR, as long as my camera raw files could be opened and edited with whatever version of ACR I had installed. However, on occasion Adobe makes improvements to the ACR that are incorporated into the latest version that add to its capabilities. So you need to occasionally check with the Adobe web site to see if a new version is available. Here is the link to the ACR Download page. Here is the link to the Readme file that describes how to download and install the new ACR.
The latest version is ACR 5.3, which was just released. Even if you have recently purchased PSE 7, you may not have this latest version. For example, I believe my PSE 7 (October vintage) came with ACR 5.1, but I am not certain of that. I do know I have updated it at least twice since then. Also, unlike CS4, clicking on Help and then Updates apparently does not let you know about the new update. When I did this, it said my PSE 7 had all of the latest updates. To find out the version of ACR currently installed, open a image in the ACR and look in the upper left hand corner where you will see the version number.
Also, this latest update is compatible with with PSE 6, and Premiere Elements 4.0 and 7.0. However, you have to copy the file itself into the appropriate folders in each one of these programs. This is all explained in the Readme file. If you recently bought a new camera, you definitely want to upgrade to the latest version. Otherwise you may not be able to read the raw files from your new camera.
The picture above is a recent panorama comprised of four images of the downtown Los Angeles taken from Kenneth Hahn Recreational Area. I need to return there after a rain. I suspect the view will be even more spectacular.
Until next time,