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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 canon-europe.com/Support/software/dpp –  labnut Dec 15 '10 at 17:56
See also: photo.stackexchange.com/q/4880/21 –  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

10 Answers 10

up vote 17 down vote accepted

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

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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

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 photo.stackexchange.com/faq#promotion –  mattdm Feb 11 '12 at 12:48

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. www.rawtherapee.com/RAW_Compare/

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. code.google.com/p/rawtherapee/source/list

Here's someone's brief review of RT stylepeterson.com/photography-articles/raw-therapee-a-brief-review

I have tried Bibble and while the interface and photo management aspects of it seem superior to RawTherapee I have never been able to get my RAW's to look as good as the jpegs that come out of the camera. With RawTherapee it seems as though I can just adjust exposure, a little contrast / saturation to taste, and I'm there.... no suck luck with Bibble.

Give Bibble a try though.... they have a free demo you can download.

This was my first post, so I could only create 1 hyperlink. Sorry, you'll have to copy/paste them into your address bar.

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update: Bibble is now Corel's Aftershot Pro. –  inkista Apr 25 '14 at 18:54

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. –  George Edison Jan 16 '11 at 23:44

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

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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

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

UFRaw, another classic free photography app

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