Slightly OT raw converter discussion

Started Jan 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
tr4driver Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Re: Slightly OT raw converter discussion

IrfanView is a nifty little program, and I use it as my main "double click" viewer in Windows.  However, it is my understanding that when you open a RAW image with IrfanView, all it is really doing is opening the embedded JPG image included in the RAW file, and that IrfanView does not do an actual RAW conversion.

I'm not familiar with Pentax RAW files.  I shoot Fuji and Nikon.  Nikon is a little unique in that their proprietary RAW editing software (Capture and View) actually modifies the RAW (NEF) file, and does not store the edit data in a sidecar file like most RAW converters.  However, if you open an NEF file in Lightroom or some other third party RAW converter that has been edited with View or Capture, it will not show the edits.  When you edit a NEF file with View/Capture, the embedded JPG file *is* updated based on the adjustments.

It's easy to verify that IrfanView is only opening the embedded JPG image with a Nikon NEF file by shooting RAW only.  When you select this option with a Nikon camera, the embedded JPG is rather low quality, and it's easy to see the JPG artifacts in IrfanView (especially if you over-sharpen the image).  When an NEF file is edited with View/Capture, the updated JPG is actually saved in a much higher quality in the NEF file (and the size of the edited NEF file increases significantly as well).  When you open one of these files in IrfanView, the JPG artifacts are not noticeable.


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