Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I've lost the install disks that came with my 500D and I was wondering if there was any better software for editing Canon RAW files. I Had a quick skim of the Canon website and couldn't find anything.

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You should be able to download the software from here – labnut Dec 15 '10 at 17:56
See also: – Rowland Shaw Dec 15 '10 at 19:31
Note that there are very few (if any) third-party programs which will edit Canon raw files but not other brands. – mattdm Dec 16 '10 at 3:15
Do you mean free merely as in price, or are you looking for open source? It sounds like the former, and you're getting answers based on that (though some are also open source)... but just checking if that's how you mean to be asking it. – lindes Dec 17 '10 at 17:56
I'm not too fussed about looking at the source code, I've got my photographer hat on here not my developer hat. – Omar Kooheji Jan 17 '11 at 18:15

16 Answers 16

up vote 28 down vote accepted

Raw Therapee is an excellent piece of software and it's free.

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Short answer: RawTherapee

Almost everything uses DCRaw under the hood at least for reading in the RAW data. The differences come with the demosaicing algorithms. RawTherapee offers several such algorithms but the one to note is AMaZE, its the one you want.

The comparison page on RawTherapee's website doesn't contain the new AMaZE algorithm but this will show you the kind of differences you will see with different algorithms.

RawTherapee was free for a long time but now it is free and open source. It is being actively developed in the open as I write this.

Here's someone's brief review of RT.

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Darktable is a fairly new project but it looks very promising and has some great functionality already.

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It's a bit rough on the edges, but I have huge hopes for Darktable – t3mujin Dec 15 '10 at 19:39
Unless you're on Windows... :) – inkista Apr 25 '14 at 18:51
Doesn't show RAW files in their correct color for Nikon d5300 NEF files. – Alireza Hos Nov 17 '15 at 11:34

UFRaw, another classic free photography app

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The Gimp is an excellent photo editor, but lacks support for RAW images. However, there is a plugin you can get for it that will enable it to open the files.

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careful though: GIMP is 8bit. This could be impactful to your RAW image which is likely 14bit. depends what you want to do, however. Word is that next ver of GIMP will be 16bit. – Kevin Won Jan 14 '11 at 23:51
@Kevin: cinepaint supports 16-bit RAW images, IIRC. – Nathan Osman Jan 16 '11 at 23:44

Picasa is a nice simple photo editor that's free, and it will take in RAW files.

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This is true, but it's very simple... You just have to decide for yourself if that is good. – chills42 Jan 15 '11 at 22:23
Picasa will not work with newer Canon RAW files, the 760D/RebelT6s to name just one, will display with a pink hew. – Steve stevenet150 B Dec 10 '15 at 14:28
Picasa is now discontinued (2016) – kazanaki Mar 23 at 8:50

Don't forget the De-Facto raw conversion utility DCRaw.

It's very user unfriendly (read: command line only), but most available RAW converters are at least somewhat based on it, since it's open source, and largely BSD licensed.

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Yes. Download a copy of Canon's Digital Photo Professional from the Canon website (at least in the US). Canon has changed their download policy and now grants access to the full installers, rather than just updaters. You no longer have to have the original disk to download the software utilities that come in the box with the camera. You simply need the serial number of your camera.

There are, of course, also good open-source alternatives for RAW conversion, most of them based upon DCRaw. Good open source packages to consider would include UFRaw (most typically as a plugin for the GIMP), or if you prefer an Adobe Lightroom-like interface, DarkTable, PHotivo, and RAWTherapee.

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I also recommend checking out Scarab Darkroom. It is often praised for its intuitive user interface and is also relatively fast. [Disclaimer: I'm the developer]

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Please see – mattdm Feb 11 '12 at 12:48
In this case this promotion is relevant. I will take a look and try to send you some feedback. – Rafael Apr 9 '15 at 16:18

If you can spare fifty quid Bibble is pretty amazing. If not, ufraw and Picasa should cover it.

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Bibble is now Corel's AfterShot Pro and is no longer free. – inkista Apr 10 '15 at 20:25

Sorry but another simple answer here. Irfanview is a pretty neat and fast editor I use. Easy to install plugins and I make sure it uses the Canon dlls for processing raw files.

In a nutshell I use it to post process my RAW files into jpegs. I shoot CR2 for everything and then use scripts to do the following 1. Copy RAW files from card to computer 2. Convert to jpg, adjusting the quality and size to be 2048 at the longest edge * 3. Call exiftool to copy EXIF information from the CR2 file into the jpg. ** 4. Go through card for anything else. Ie copy across movies or resample any in camera jpgs into lower quality ones. 5. Run synctoy to backup images. 6. Run picasa to sync to web 7. MANUAL step. Go through RAW files on the computer and keep the best ones, deleting the rest.

  • I use Picasa as a backup solution. With a Google+ account you are allowed free storage for images upto 2048 at the longest edge. With my trusty 400D nothing comes out greater than 1936 anyway. ** In camera jpgs have the right EXIF data. Irfan does not copy exif data when converting from RAW to jpg, only between jpg to jpg. This is an intended feature not a bug.

Sorry for the verbose answer. Hopefully it helps someone.

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You don't answer the question though. You give a verbose description on your workflow, but it's not answering the question. – Håkon K. Olafsen Apr 3 '12 at 9:19
This explenation is NOT an alternative to working with raw files. You convert them to jpg on the first step. From that point i stoped reading couse it is not raw image anymore. I'm not voting down couse im nice :o) – Rafael Apr 9 '15 at 16:12

If you have a Canon camera that shoots RAW, you should be able to download Digital Photo Professional for free from the Canon website. It's good software - I used it exclusively for three years before moving to Lightroom, and I notice that DPP has had some additional tools added to it since then. You shouldn't have to have the original install disks to do this.

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I'm a linux user and I was looking for a great open source software like Adobe light room, I used Darktable at first, but soon I realized that It doesn't support NEF nikon d5300 files (Nikon RAW files). I now use Lightzone it is a great piece of software and I'm very happy with it.

Many filters of Lightroom is there for you for free like clarity, HUE, b&w, blur, and so.

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My suggestion goes for LIGHTZONE:

Unique software that is now developed open source. It has a useful graphical zones tool hence the name. Furthermore each tool is on its own layer, which allows to achieve some creative effects. Multi platform too.

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I have one more suggestion, this one I haven't tried, it's Polarr web/Chrome editor. It does have experimental raw support. Someone with reputation 10 please update the post on free RAW converters, I think Lightzone deserves to be included. – leon Nov 16 '15 at 17:25

I use the Free Zoner Photo Studio 17 to edit Canon RAW files. It will open and edit RAW files and then convert them to JPEGs of TIFFs or other file formats. I prefer to retain version 17 on my computer although there is a new version 18 available as a Free download simply because v18 requires you to be connected to the internet for it to work. You can upgrade to a pay version for extra functionality, but at the moment I am finding the free version very useful.

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DigiKam is very powerful and feature rich.

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