RealTime IT News

Microsoft Builds Support for RAW

Microsoft is sprucing up its imaging with a little help from Canon and Nikon.

The move aims to provide Windows XP and Longhorn users with greater control over the digital image editing process.

The enhancement to the current and upcoming versions of its Windows operating system will give users more control while working with RAW image files, which take information directly from the camera, the company said.

While JPEGs are processed inside the camera, a RAW file is processed on a PC. The exposure and color can be controlled on the PC after the image has been captured. However, each new camera model introduces changes to RAW image files; therefore, digital imaging applications must also be updated to support these changes. Microsoft is working with its partners to help solve this problem.

"The explosion in popularity of digital photography on Windows continues to progress and evolve as consumers discover the quality benefits of digital camera RAW," Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft, said in a statement. "By working with industry leaders to extend support for RAW in Windows, we are removing the obstacles for consumer use of RAW and enabling a seamless platform for the next era of digital imaging innovation."

Redmond is working with digital imaging firms Adobe Systems, Canon, Fuji Photo Film and Nikon to deliver support for digital camera RAW images in the next major version of Windows, code named Longhorn.

"We believe Microsoft's plans to deliver native support to digital camera RAW images in the Windows operating system is good news to consumers," Tomonori Iwashita, director and deputy chief executive of Canon's Image Communication Products Group, said in a statement. "RAW images are valued as one source of expanding the digital imaging world, and we welcome the possibility that more and more digital camera users will have the opportunity to experience and enjoy the world of RAW."

"Microsoft's support of digital camera RAW in both Windows XP and future versions of Windows is an exciting development that will make RAW image files much easier to use for the consumer," Kenji Watanabe, general manager of Marketing Electronic Imaging Products Division for Fujifilm, said in a statement. "With these plans, users of Fujifilm cameras will enjoy a seamless, high-quality experience whenever working with Fujifilm RAW files on Windows-based PCs."

Microsoft will enhance the digital imaging capabilities of its current operating system with a RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP. XP users will be able to view thumbnails and preview and print Canon and Nikon RAW files from Windows Explorer. They'll also be able to organize and edit Canon and Nikon RAW files in future versions of Digital Image Suite. Microsoft plans to offer the tools as free downloads in the next few weeks.