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Beginner: how do i convert from RAW?

Federica Monsone , Feb 23, 2009; 04:53 p.m.

Hi there,

Tonight at college we shot RAW and i have some of the images on a USB stick. The camera used was a Canon 5D. How do I convert the RAW files to JPEG? Where do I find the software? Woudl the software that came with my 20D work?

I always shoot JPEG so I am really at a loss here and any help will be very much appreciated! thanks,



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Richard "Dick" Tope , Feb 23, 2009; 05:02 p.m.

Download a copy of IRFANView. It's free and should support the 20D.

Rob Bernhard , Feb 23, 2009; 05:02 p.m.

[[Where do I find the software? Woudl the software that came with my 20D work?]]

You can use either the Canon Zoombrowser software or the Canon Digital Photo Professional software to convert RAW files.
You probably need to download the latest updates to this software from Canon before doing so (if you haven't already). (The 20D was released before the 5D, if memory serves.)

You can get the updated software from Canon's website:

Federica Monsone , Feb 23, 2009; 05:20 p.m.

Fantastic. I have downloaded Ifranview and i can view the files. I will now try and turn them into JPEGs. Thanks so much guys!

D N , Feb 23, 2009; 05:52 p.m.

RAW is not the same between manufacturers, in fact, not even between cameras within a manufacturer. Another alternative is to convert RAW into DNG with the free Adobe converter. It reads most of the proprietary RAW formats. Many of the imaging tools can read DNG.

Rainer T , Feb 23, 2009; 06:03 p.m.

Irfanview isn't an overly good rawconverter. It will not let you adjust some important settings.
(It nevertheless is a very nice viewer).

For free, try rawtherapee ... http://www.rawtherapee.com/ ... it will convert the rawfiles of allmost every camera.

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Feb 24, 2009; 12:59 a.m.

The Canon software that came with your 20D might work. I can't remember if the 5D came before or after the 20D, but if before, it will work. If after, probably not. Even then though, if you go to Canon's website you can download the latest version of Canon Digital Photo Professional, or what ever they are calling it these days, and that will convert raw files made by any Canon camera sold to date. You have to have installed the software Canon provided with some camera to get the update to work, but if you have the 20D, you're good to go.

Federica Monsone , Feb 25, 2009; 05:01 a.m.

I have a new question now.

The Canon 5D was tethered to an Apple Mac and was shooting B&W. However, I noticed that when the shots were viewed in some way or other, the raw files displayed in colour rather than B&W. the tutor said that this is normal. However I then downloaded Irfanview to open the raw files at home and then convert them to JPGs, but they were in B&W. Any idea why????

Rob Bernhard , Feb 25, 2009; 11:38 a.m.

There is no such thing as a B&W RAW file for this camera (or any other current DSLR). The camera captured all the information in color and showed you, essentially, a B&W preview. This information is stored with the RAW file.

Some RAW conversion software will recognize that you shot in B&W mode and show you that preview image. But that's simply a preview of one representation. Other RAW conversion software shows you the RAW data so you can begin your own B&W conversion that meets your own requirements.

You'll probably get into this in class later, but shooting RAW and then directly exporting a JPG file based on the in-camera settings is pretty much a waste of time. One shoots RAW because one wants to develop the final image themselves. If your only goal is to produce JPG files that look exactly like what the in-camera parameters say it should look like, then you're better off shooting JPG in the first place.

Federica Monsone , Feb 25, 2009; 12:11 p.m.

thanks Rob. can i view the file in colour using Irfanview? Thanks,


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