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Nimis's avatar

I've never worked with .RAW images before. Help?

Asked by Nimis (13225points) January 8th, 2009

I shot a friend’s wedding in .RAW.
I’ve been wanting to learn and figured I’d give it a go.
Now I’m not entirely sure where to go from here.

Any free raw converter programs (PC) that you’d recommend?
What else do I need to know before I attempt to start editing?
Or should I just jump in?

Is it hard to get a handle on?
Or pretty much self-explanatory?

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14 Answers

wilhel1812's avatar

Do you have photoshop? converting the pics to JPG will make taking the photos in RAW format pretty much useless. You will have to edit these pictures in RAW format. Photoshop can do it, i don’t know about other windows applications as i use a mac.

judochop's avatar

You can download Picasa for free. It will transfer your RAW images and allow you to do some very light editing. What kind of camera are you shooting with? Most companies provide software for you to convert and edit images.
For example, I shoot with a Nikon and Nikon provides free software to registered users.
Here is Picasa if you would like to try it. It is nice and free!

PupnTaco's avatar

Indulge your dreams for a moment: Aperture.

jaredg's avatar

You probably know all this stuff, but I already typed it out so I’m going to leave it for others.

Raw files contain all the pixels the camera saw at the time the picture was taken. Even the best quality JPEG files are compressed to some extent, and that leads to a loss of image quality. Raw images from fancy enough cameras also have more color depth. You have to be pretty detail-oriented to notice these things when looking at a raw image side-by-side with a high quality JPEG though. And as you noticed, raw files are huge when compared with their compressed brethren.

Raw files can also contain information about the post processing the camera did for you—things like white balance and exposure compensation. This is a little more useful, because you can mess with those things directly in a fancy enough editor and the software is starting from the original, unadjusted image rather than an already slightly processed version.

For what it’s worth (less than what you’re paying for it as I’m a pretty rank amateur :), raw is more trouble than it’s worth except when it comes to low light situations or if you are really, really serious about perfect color.

And after all that, I can’t actually answer your real question. I’ve never done any work with raw images on Windows. Photoshop or Lightroom would be the default choices if you can afford them I guess. People used to speak highly of Paint Shop Pro , but I haven’t used it in years (i.e. before Corel bought it). If you don’t want to mess with the curves, etc. and just want to convert the images to a more accessible format, you can use IrfanView.

Nimis's avatar

@wilhel1812 I do have Photoshop. But I thought you couldn’t edit .RAW in Photoshop?
I realize that immediately converting them to .jpgs will make it pointless.
But I thought those programs allow you to edit them first? [scratches head]

@judochop I shot on my sister’s Canon something rather. I’m blanking at the moment.
She has an Apple. She’s digging around to see if she can find the PC version somewhere.
But was hoping to just get it done myself. She’s in SoCal and I’m up in NorCal.
Gracias, amigo!

@PupnTaco I know. I know. I need an Apple for this shit.

@jaredg Yes, I understand what a .RAW image is, I’ve just never worked with them.
I’m pretty particular and neurotic about things, so I think I could actually appreciate it.
And, yes. That’s partially why I shot in .RAW, a lot of indoor shots and I hate flash.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Nimis i loathe flash

c_gunningham's avatar

Download adobe dng converter here after converting you can edit in photoshop, on import you get all the white balance, levels options.

meemorize's avatar

First of all, RAW is great.
And you don’t need a mac necessarily..
Even though it is not free I can strongly recommend adobe lightroom 2.
It’s available for win and mac, it’s intuitive and pretty east to learn. At the same time It is one of the most advanced and powerful raw editing program out there..

Adobe has a free 30 day trial on their website. Give it a try..

tigran's avatar

all you need is photoshop + the appropiate Camera Raw plugin.

when you open raw files the most benefit you can get from them is to adjust the proper white balance and exposure using a dialog that pops up in any program that can process raw. You can use Lightroom or Aperture if you have a high volume of photos.

bob's avatar

@meemorize is right, Adobe Lightroom is going to be a useful tool for you. It will be easier to process these wedding photos using Lightroom than to it would be to adjust each photo individually in Photoshop. Lightroom’s made for this. Free trial.

Nimis's avatar

Oh, man. Did I forget to mention that Fluther rocks?
Thanks, all!

steelmarket's avatar

Might have missed this in the posts above, but if your camera shoots in RAW, didn’t it come with converter software?
I shoot almost exclusively in RAW (Canon 30D), but I don’t want to edit my RAW files. They are part of the “masters” that I archive. If you don’t want to convert to a lossy filetype like JPGs, convert to TIFs instead. Large files, but no losses if you pick the right settings.
I am just about to investigate the DNG format myself.

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