Rawstudio – free cross-platform raw converter

Digital Photo School’s latest posting is about the eternal question, RAW Vs Jpeg? It’s a really good read and goes through “what a RAW file is .. compared to a Jpeg” which can be a bit mysterious if all you’re used to is uploading images straight from your camera!

The article was written in response to this discussion on Flickr on the same subject. I skimmed through the thread, but the very last comment pointed me at Raw Studio, a GPL licensed RAW converted for Linux, Windows and Mac and any other OS that supports GTK+.

It’s still rather new, being only at version 0.3 but I downloaded the very latest code from SVN and it worked fine. I pointed it at Matt’s RAW photos of my wedding and a few moments later up popped a thumbnail browser, preview window and side-panel controls. There are no automatic auto-exposure/auto-everything options but the auto-white balance worked perfectly.

It uses dcraw, the RAW conversion engine used by many projects, including Google’s Picasa (and no, there is no virus in the Linux version!) and my favourite GIMP RAW plugin, UFRaw. Linux RAW has a good overview of Linux software for working with RAW images.

At this early stage I’m very impressed!

rawstudio raw converter

The RAW Backlash

There are holy wars in every field of human endevour. Vi vs Emacs, C vs Java, film vs digital and of course RAW vs Jpeg.
For several months last year I shot in Raw+Jpeg which was great. gThumb displayed a thumbnail for the Jpeg file while I also had the RAW negative. Yes, great. Until I got tired of opening the RAW file in my RAW converter (bibblelite, ufraw-gimp), before opening in the GIMP. Then there’s the space requirements. I shot 85GB of images last year. I need one of those terrabyte RAID servers Joe mentioned the other night at that dinner!
Ryan has done the same, shooting in Jpeg now.
Doug Pardee has too. He explains why too. He hasn’t got time to do the extra conversion required given the volume of shots he takes.
And of course, Ken Rockwell shoots Jpeg. He has a very lengthy post about his choice.
Still not sure? Read Tommy’s post for a rebuttal to Ken’s article. If you agree with him (and he makes plenty of valid points), then you should shoot RAW.

I’ll still shoot RAW, but only at special occasions. We’re going to a wedding next month and I’ll certainly be shooting RAW there!