The RAW picture image format is now supported by Windows Vista and Windows 7 through Windows explorer and Windows Live 2011 Photo Gallery.
RAW is a raw data format without any digital treatment, offering a better quality picture than JPEG (a compressed format). It is a proprietary format specific to each digital camera model.
Some programs are capable of manipulating this raw format, but you generally have to purchase these. As for handling this format in Windows, Microsoft’s Windows Live Group Program Manager Brad Weed as recognised that manipulating Raw picture files has "never been simple".
A codec pack for Windows 7 and Windows Vista is available to allow the RAW pictures from more than 120 devices viewed (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Leica, Minolta, Epson and Panasonic).
"While there are programs that work very well to convert RAW files to JPEG, we have the very good news for users looking for a solution integrated into Windows", writes Brad Weed.
Thanks to this pack, it is possible to view thumbnails of RAW files directly in Windows Explorer. In addition to this, with Picture Gallery (Windows Live 2011), metadata editing functions will also be available.
The pack is free and is available for the 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. It can be downloaded from Microsoft’s download centre. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Mac OS X was already capable of generating thumbnails of RAW files.