Camera Raw's sharpening capabilities have improved greatly in the last couple of versions of the plug-in (starting with Camera Raw 4.1, which was released after Photoshop CS3), and its controls now rival the sharpening you can produce in Photoshop. Sharpening in Camera Raw even affects your image's luminosity (lightness or brightness values) and leaves the color alone.
But should you use Camera Raw for sharpening? The answer is yes—if you're not going to edit the image much in Photoshop. If you are going to do a lot of editing in Photoshop, you should save the sharpening for your very last step (after retouching and resizing) and use one of the methods described earlier in this chapter instead.
You don't want to sharpen in both programs—at least, not the whole image. Sharpening in Camera Raw is a global process, meaning it affects your entire image (though you can wield a little control using Camera Raw's Adjustment Brush, discussed later in this section). It's also a somewhat automatic process: your image gets sharpened the minute you open it in Camera Raw (unless you turn off automatic sharpening as described in the next section). If you let Camera Raw sharpen your image, you'll need to practice selective sharpening (described on Sharpening Part of an Image) once the image is in Photoshop to avoid oversharpening it and introducing halos.
With Photoshop CS5, sharpening in Camera Raw is even better than before. The new Camera Raw 6 produces smaller sharpening ...