Adobe February 2019 update brings new Enhance Details feature

Adobe is claiming its new feature offers a 30% increase in fine detail resolution. It’s just one of a number of improvements and enhancements across the Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom ecosphere, but it’s the one likely to attract most interest.

Enhance Details is a process applied to RAW files during the demosaicing process – when the software processes the red, green and blue data captured by the sensor’s photosites into a full colour image. Adobe says its new system uses the power of machine learning, computational image processing and its Sensei AI technologies to achieve improved fine detail rendition. It’s available in the updated versions of Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC.

However, it’s not simply an update to the RAW processing system. Instead, it’s an optional alternative process that takes longer than regular processing and generates a new Adobe DNG file alongside the original. The new process can work on both regular bayer sensor RAW files and Fujifilm X-Trans files, which have a unique colour filter array layout.

Adobe has a sample image on its website which illustrates the potential fine detail improvements, though in tests on my own images the differences proved pretty subtle. With the image above, it proved possible to see slightly harder pixellation at 400% magnification, but no detectable visual difference at lesser magnifications. It’s possible the Enhance Details feature works best only on specific kinds of subjects and details.

The Enhance Details process takes a few seconds to complete and produces a new DNG file alongside the original RAW.

Other improvements in this update include RAW file support for the Nikon Coolpix A1000, Olympus OM-D E-M1X and preliminary support for the Sony A6400. Adobe has also added lens profiles for the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR telephoto prime used on its own and with Nikon’s 1.4x, 1.7x and 2x teleconverters.

Lightroom CC takes a few steps closer to feature parity with Lightroom Classic CC with support now for targeted adjustments, panoramas, HDR merge and HDR panoramas.

There are minor updates to the Android and iOS Lightroom mobile apps, but most of the changes here are behind the scenes as Adobe prepares them for future ‘exciting’ updates.

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