Thursday, February 14, 2008

RAW Support

If you are using a digital camera, one of the things you’ll have to keep on top of is software updates.

For us film photographers, the latest versions of Photoshop and other programs often don’t offer us much. I can do everything I want to a film scan in Photoshop 7 that I can do in Photoshop CS3, except use the cool new pano stitcher. Not so if you are using a digital camera and photographing in RAW. Software vendors are constantly updating their products to get the most out of RAW.

If you use Apple software like Aperture, iPhoto, Preview, etc., you may need the latest version of their operating software to access your RAW files as Apple programs use the OS to convert from RAW. You can see the latest list of supported cameras here.

Adobe takes a different approach and builds RAW support into the application itself, and doesn’t rely on the OS to do it’s RAW conversions. In the case of Photoshop, it’s handled by the Camera RAW plug-in, so when new cameras come out, or Adobe comes up with better ways to convert from RAW, they just update the plug-in, which is a small download and easy to install.

The way Adobe does it lets them update their products for new cameras faster than Apple, which is just one compelling advantage of Lightroom over Aperture.

What does this mean to you? It means you should install updates and upgrades to your photo processing software on a regular basis if you want to get the most out of the RAW format.