Usually the camera manufacturer will provide software that handles raw files from your camera. However, several problems can arise:–
- You change computer and loose the original software.
- You have several cameras made by different manufacturers but want to use the same application to deal with their raw files.
- You don’t use Micro$oft Windows.
So what can you do?
Before you stump up any hard-earned cash, I would suggest you download and try GIMP image editor c/w either UFRaw or DCRaw plugin:-
UFRaw is actually based on DCRaw but is much friendlier IMHO. However, Dave Coffin, the author of the original DCRaw source code is a very interesting and knowledgable chap and his site is well worth a vist anyway:-
Dave Coffin’s mission:- “Write and maintain an ANSI C program that decodes any raw image from any digital camera on any computer running any operating system.“
How much does it cost and is it any good?
All the above applications are free of charge and open source. This means you may download, copy and distribute them freely and that’s why the various projects share each other’s source code. They are also highly respected projects within the open source community. This means they are free from viruses, worms, spies, adware and all the other crap usually associated with free Windows software. Also means there is quite a lot of community support, if you Google it. They all run on both Windows and Linux and can be made to run on other platforms such as Macintosh & Solaris as well.
I use UFRaw on Linux as my standard raw handler, both as a standalone and as a GIMP plugin. I have found it quite excellent, in both instances. Indeed, have yet to find a raw format that UFRaw/DCRaw won’t open!