As you learned in Chapter 2, Camera Raw is a powerful plug-in that lets you correct the color and lighting of images shot in Raw format, as well as JPEGs and TIFFs. Since most of the settings in Camera Raw are slider-based, it's hands down the easiest place to fix your images (that's why this section comes before the ones covering Levels and Curves, which are, truth be told, 100 times more confusing).
The adjustments you make in Camera Raw are also nondestructive; instead of applying them to your image, Camera Raw keeps track of them in a list it stores within the image or in a file called Sidecar XMP (could that name be more cryptic?). Simply put, you can undo anything you've done in Camera Raw whenever you want.
You can zoom in/out of the Camera Raw preview window just like you can in Photoshop (press ⌘-+/– or Ctrl-+/– on a PC). To move around within your image, press and hold the space bar as you drag with your mouse. You can see a preview of your image by turning on the Preview option at the top right of the window or by pressing the P key.
The Camera Raw plug-in is covered in several places throughout this book; here's a handy cheat sheet:
Learning more about the Raw format (Working with Raw Files)
Opening files in Camera Raw (Cropping images)
Cropping and straightening in Camera Raw (Cropping and Straightening in Camera Raw)
Going grayscale in Camera Raw (The Lightness Channel)
Editing multiple files in Camera Raw (see the box on Processing Multiple ...