Longhorn gets RAW

I’m a photo enthusiast but by no means a prosumer in the photo space, but I’m pining after the Nikon D70 I borrowed from a friend last holiday season, drooling over the pictures my co-workers took in Greece, and sitting idly waiting for my Canon Digital Elph to die someday (a great point and shooter, just not great for blow-ups).

During my journey with the D70, I learned about RAW image format support. RAW files are uncompressed, and store a massive amount of information (hey, another reason for native 64-bit computing <g>). The problem is that RAW files aren’t natively supported by Windows- you don’t get thumbnails, you can’t view the pictures unless you install a 3rd party component. That’s about to change.

Today, Microsoft along with Adobe, Canon, Fuji, and Nikon announced plans to add native RAW image format support into the next version of Windows, code-named “Longhorn”.

What’s more, for Windows XP users, a freely downloadable add-on for Windows XP will be available soon, the Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer with native support for Canon and Nikon-based RAW files. It will be available from www.microsoft.com shortly- I’m checking on exactly when and will post here when available. Now anywhere in the shell (Windows Explorer) such as My Pictures or My Documents, you’ll see the pictures previewed along with other popular formats. This functionality will also show up in a future version of Digital Image Suite.

Ok so more about the Longhorn stuff. For consumers, the ability to work with RAW image files just as easily as with JPEGs today will allow them to take advantage of the growing support for RAW in digital cameras and imaging software. Consumers will have more choices as new camera models are introduced because the new architecture in “Longhorn” makes it possible for all software programs on Windows to easily work with RAW image files. My understanding is that MCE will also pick up this functionality however I’m working to confirm.

So the HD manufacturers have another reason for us to get larger HDDs- time to get RAW 😉

Press release

2 comments

  1. Martin says:

    They would then do better to add native support for adobe’s raw format, as they at least go through the trouble of providing a conversion tool for many more brands than just the ones already in microsofts backyard.
    But in the end, thumbnailing them is funny, having the previews is cool, but, working with RAW as easily as JPEG? Hell, shoot in uncompressed JPG format not RAW if all you want is a huge picture that you can blow up to poster size. RAW wasn’t meant to cater ease of use, it was meant to allow the maximum amound of control over your picture, if you don’t want to take advantage of that, don’t use it!

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