Have you ever attempted to load your DSLR's RAW files into Windows, only to unleash a torrent of swearing at the operating system for failing to provide any form of RAW support to allow you to view your photographs from within Windows Explorer? Well, the good news is that you can start enjoying that functionality in Windows right now, for Microsoft has just announced the availability of a free codec pack which finally brings RAW support for a variety of different camera models to the world's most widely used operating system.
Have you ever found yourself wishing for Microsoft to implement some form of RAW support in Windows so that you do not have to go through the hassle of downloading the appropriate RAW codec for your camera from the manufacturer's website, or resort to making use of high-end photo editing tools? Well, the good news is that you can consider that wish fulfilled; for Microsoft has announced the availability of a free codec pack which allows you to view your RAW images directly off Windows Explorer.
According to a report published by PC Magazine, Microsoft's new Camera Codec Pack will reportedly offer "native file support for over 120 camera models, including those from Canon, Nikon, and Sony". PC Magazine has also quoted Microsoft's senior product manager for Windows Live, Raphael Aquino-Jose, as claiming that Microsoft's codec pack eliminates the need for users to "download another codec from their camera manufacturer", thus allowing "more advanced users see the raw images without having to fire up high-end photo software such as Lightroom or Photoshop."
The Camera Codec Pack is available for download in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants, although users might want to take note of the fact that the codecs can only be installed on a PC that is running off Windows Vista or Windows 7. Alternatively, users can also get their hands on the codec pack via the latest version of Windows Live Photo Gallery, where it will prompt users to install the codec pack should they attempt to open a RAW file with the application. It has also been suggested by PC Magazine that it is entirely possible for Microsoft to bake such functionality into the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.
That being said, XP users will probably have no choice but to sit this one out, for it appears that the Camera Codec Pack is not compatible with that ancient operating system.
Source: PC Magazine