How To: Convince Photoshop CS5 and DxO Optics Pro to process Sony α77 II (ILCA-77M2) RAW (*.arw) files

Yesterday I had the chance to pick up my new Sony Sony α77 II. After unboxing, I tried to configure it a little bit like it’s predecessor, the Sony α57. After configuration, I did some test shots. So far, so fun 🙂 Then I remembered that Adobe has the bad habit of not providing updates for the Camera Raw converter for Photoshop. I wanted to open the *.arw file with the Adobe Bridge and Adobe Photoshop CS5, but unfortunately both refused to open it due to an unknown camera type. I tried my luck finding alternatives like the native Sony image converter, but that does only export TIFF and JPEG – so either large files or quality loss. The Adobe DNG Converter hasn’t a new version yet and doesn’t recognize the Sony α77 II files either. Sooo… Shooting in JPEG only? Not an option for me – I love the quality and the possibilities that *.arw provides. As an IT guy, I tried my luck with some hacking… And it worked! Here is what you need to make your Sony α77 II *.arw pictures readable for Adobe Photoshop CS 5:

  1. This manual, which you now obviously have 😀
  2. The invaluable ExifTool by Phil Harvey – thank you very much!
  3. The courage to work with a command line based tool – the ExifToolGUI didn’t work, at least for me.
  4. The awareness that this is just a workaround I found and I take over no responsibility for corrupt files or anything else that screws up.

Let’s start with the second step, the ExifTool. The zip file contains a executable file, which you cannot start by double-clicking, because it’s “just” a command line tool. Unpack the exiftool(-k).exe to a folder of your choice. For future use, you might want to be able to execute the ExifTool like any other command line command, without browsing to the corresponding folder first. For that, rename the file to exiftool.exe and copy it into your Windows folder. So far so good – now it comes to the real stuff.

Now you can copy your *.arw files from your camera to your PC. In this example, let’s say you copied the pictures to the folder D:\Files\Pictures\2014-05-29. Now you have to open the Windows command prompt, either by hitting Windows+r and type cmd.exe into the text line and hit OK, or by opening the start menu and enter cmd.exe into the quick search bar and hitting the Enter key. The following screen, or similar, should appear:

Screenshot by in the German Wikipedia, click on the picture to see the origin.

Now for the above path, enter the following:

exiftool D:\Files\Pictures\2014-05-29\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77

Change the path to your folder accordingly. Pro tip: The tab key (above caps lock) auto completes your input; hit several times for the next possible folders.

What happens now is that the ExifTool crawls through every *.arw file and changes the EXIF data for the camera model from ILCA-77M2 to SLT-A77, the predecessor. Apparently hence the Sony α77 II is “just” an update of the Sony α77, the RAW engine seems to be close to old one – luckily for us 🙂 Please note that ExifTool creates a backup of each file with _original as suffix to the file name extension, doubling the space needed for your files. After successful operation, you can delete the originals.

You should now be able to process your *.arw files with Adobe Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop as you are used to, at least in the first two tries it works for me. Please note that I have no empirical values if this works in every environment and for every picture – use on your own risk! However, feedback on whether or not it works is very welcome!

Disclaimer: All mentioned trademarks (e.g. Adobe and their products, Sony and their products) belong to their respective owners.

PS: This also seem to work with DxO Optics Pro, but you have to replace more EXIF information:

exiftool D:\Files\Pictures\2014-05-29\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77 -Model=SLT-A77

Eventually you also have to replace the software version:

exiftool D:\Files\Pictures\2014-05-29\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77 -Model=SLT-A77 -Software="SLT-A77 v1.07"

I don’t know if the software version is absolutely necessary, but you can give it a try if DxO still refused to open the *.arw file. Thanks to walt_I for the collaboration on the solution! 😉

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “How To: Convince Photoshop CS5 and DxO Optics Pro to process Sony α77 II (ILCA-77M2) RAW (*.arw) files

  1. Pingback: Sony A77II test roundup! | sonyalpharumors

    • The exiftool creates copies before writing the new data, the backups have “_original” as suffix for the file extension – however, better be safe than sorry, you can delete unnecessary backups afterwards 🙂

  2. Works with Lightroom, but gives false color in the red spectrum. Other colors look OK but keep your RAWs until Adobe makes an official update

  3. I’ve used it on a couple of thousand A77ii RAW files and LR5.4 with no problems – although I have had some (easily fixable) white balance issues which I just put down to the AWB in the A77ii tending to be a bit warmer than the A77

  4. Hi, I tried the instructions(win vista 32) and when I copy the step using either my directory(where my image is located) or straight from your post just to see if it works it tells me that it is not recognized as an internal or external command,operable program or batch file. I am using the stand alone version, what step am I missing or what am I doing wrong? Any help will be appreciated

  5. I unzipped the file then added to c:windows, not in a folder but on the actual windows folder, then open the cmd window, after I type my command it will look like this:
    c:users\nefty\exiftool C:\Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77M2

    I am trying to change the exif of the new sony a77 m2, the ARW files do not work on lightroom 3.6 neither in cs 5, so I saw a post on https://seeraeuberphoto.wordpress.com/,

    the post stated: How To: Convince Photoshop CS5 and DxO Optics Pro to process Sony α77 II (ILCA-77M2) RAW (*.arw) files

    I copied the command line and change the destination folder where I have the file but does not work, it tells me that it is not recognized as an internal or external command,operable program or batch file

    The command is supposed to change the exif of the file to the prior model camera a77 so it can be opened in lightroom 3.6 and also in cs5, lightroom v 5.5 is supposed to manage the new arw files but it can not be installed in vista.

    Any help will be appreciated, and thank you for your quick response.

    • Your command should more look like this:

      exiftool C:\Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77

      The differences are that you don’t need a folder structure on the beginning, and that the parameter is SLT-A77 instead of SLT-A77M2. The idea is to make Photoshop think it opens the pictures of an Alpha 77 camera.
      Prerequisite is that you renamed the exiftool(-k).exe to exiftool.exe, though. If this still doesn’t work, you might need to grant administrative rights to the exiftool.exe, you can do that by opening the properties of the exiftool.exe in the C:\Windows folder by rightclicking on the file, then click on properties. In one of the tabs you should have the possibility to check “Run as administrator” or something similar – try again if it works if you check that option. It also might be the case that you need to do this for the cmd.exe in the C:\Windows folder as well – Windows Vista is kind of paranoid regarding permissions.

      Did that help?

      • Hi!, yes it works!!!, Thank you so much!!!
        Here are the steps that I did, step by step in case someone needs it……..

        USE EXIFTOOL TO BE ABLE TO OPEN FILES FROM SONY A77
        MARK 2 CAMERA IN LIGHTROOM 3.6 AND UP AND CS 6 WITH CAMERA RAW 8.4
        DOWNLOAD THE EXIFTOOL(THE STAND ALONE VERSION), UNZIP, GO TO CONTROL PANEL
        MAKE SURE YOU CAN SEE HIDDEN FILES,
        THEN RENAME the exiftool(-k).exe to exiftool.exe THEN PUT IN C:WINDOWS
        BUT JUST DROP THERE DO NOT MAKE A FOLDER(SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GO
        PROPERTIES AND RUN AS AN ADMIN, IN VISTA I DID NOT HAVE TO DO THAT)

        THEN GO TO EITHER ACCESSORIES AND USE THE CMD OR TYPE IN SEARCH OR IN RUN CMD, WHEN THE WINDOW OPENS
        THEN TO GO TO THE C PROMPT AND TYPE THIS IN THE CMD BLACK WINDOW: cd C:\

        TYPE AFTER THE C THIS: exiftool \Nefty\Desktop\TEST”>Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77

        NOW IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS:
        c:\>exiftool \Nefty\Desktop\TEST”>Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST\*.arw -SonyModelID=SLT-A77

        KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE DIRECTORY WHERE YOU HAVE THE FILES, ON THIS
        EXAMPLE MY FILES WHERE: Nefty\Desktop\TEST”>Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST
        THE ACTUAL FOLDER WHERE I HAD THE FILES WAS ACTUALLY C:\Nefty\Desktop\TEST”>Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST
        SO BECAUSE
        I ALREADY HAD THE c:\>exiftool \ SO I ONLY ADD THE Nefty\Desktop\TEST”>Users\Nefty\Desktop\TEST\

        WHEN HIT ENTER THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL SE(I HAD ONLY TWO FILES IN THE FOLDER TO TEST THE TOOL)

        Warning: [minor] Entries in SubIFD were out of sequence. Fixed. – /Users/Nefty/D
        esktop/TEST/DSC00073.ARW
        Warning: [minor] Entries in SubIFD were out of sequence. Fixed. – /Users/Nefty/D
        esktop/TEST/DSC000731111.ARW
        2 image files updated

        c:\>

        THEN IF LOOK IN THE FOLDER WHERE YOU HAD THE FILES, IT WILL BE 4 FILES, MY ORIGINAL FILE FOR EXAMPLE WAS NAMED: DSC00073
        SO AFTER THE PROCESS THE FILE THAT WAS THE ORIGINAL NOW IT IS RENAMED TO : DSC00073.ARW_original

        THE FIXED FILE HAS THE SAME NAME AS THE ORIGINAL BUT DOES NOT SAY ORIGINAL.

        I TESTED THE FIXED FILES IN LIGHTROOM 3.6 AND CS 6 EXTENDED WITH CAMERA RAW 8.4.0.199 and the the fixed raw files opened.
        Operating system was Vista business 32bit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: