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Doug Pardee

Windows Raw codecs and Fast Picture Viewer

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In order to process Raw files on Windows, CameraBag requires that you have an appropriate Raw codec installed in Windows. Most versions of Windows come with codecs for older cameras, but many modern cameras (say, maybe 2014 and later) aren't automatically supported.

From what I can tell, the big supplier of Raw codecs for Windows is Fast Picture Viewer. You can get their full pack of codecs for about $10 US.

IMPORTANT: if you use the Fast Picture Viewer codec pack, you should know that it defaults to simply yanking the preview JPEG out of the Raw file. That gives an 8-bit, low resolution image, which pretty much negates the value of processing the Raw file. To fix this, open up the FPV control panel and change the settings so that you'll get the full Raw conversion.

At least on my computer, it's immediately obvious if I'm working with just the preview JPEG. Zooming is instantaneous, and on my Fujifilm Raw files, I can't zoom very far at all because Fuji uses small previews. When I'm getting real Raw decoding, zooming in is very slow initially, and I can zoom all the way in.

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Usually Camera manufacturers will provide free downloads for their RAW codecs from their site, which will let you get access to the full image and all the glorious extra color info!

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As far as I can tell from a sloppy search, Sony is the only camera manufacturer currently providing a Raw codec for Windows (https://esupport.sony.com/swu/4022/US/)

Canon and Olympus used to provide Raw codecs, many years ago -- I have Canon's Windows XP codec for my 11-year-old Rebel XT. But as far as I can tell, there have been no Canon or Olympus codecs for modern cameras or modern versions of Windows.

Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Pentax don't seem to have ever provided a Raw codec for Windows.

I suspect that a Pentax set to produce DNG files can use Adobe's DNG codec (https://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5495). Similarly, Leica should be able to use the DNG codec. I'd also expect that DNG files created by the Adobe DNG converter could be handled by Adobe's DNG codec. A potential kink is a mismatch in DNG version on this ancient software. The DNG codec is old, released back in 2012 for use on Windows 7. Reports are that it works fine on Windows 8 and Windows 10. I don't use DNG myself, so I can't attest to any of this personally.

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