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We all take a lot of photos. In fact, according to data provided by InfoTrends, more than 73 billion still images were shot in the US alone in 2010. If you’re lucky enough to own a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera, you’re likely to take two and a half times as many photos in a given month as your friends with point-and-shoot cameras. That’s a lot of photos. What’s more, nearly a quarter of those photos are taken in a raw image format.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with raw format, it is the uncompressed output from each of the original pixels on the camera’s image sensors. Raw files have several advantages over JPEG files including higher image quality, finer control, and more image information. Think of them as big, digital negatives waiting to be processed.
We know from customer feedback that dealing with raw images on Windows hasn’t always been easy. While there is software that works well to convert raw files to JPEG, we have some good news for consumers looking for a built-in Windows solution. Today we’re happy to announce that Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 now supports raw format images. Just download the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack for Windows 7 and Windows Vista to be able to view raw photo files from more than 120 DSLR cameras in Photo Gallery, as well as in Windows Explorer.
Viewing is only part of the story. Photo Gallery will also support editing copies of your raw images. Because raw files are like digital negatives, they’re protected originals, not to be altered or harmed. We know your originals are precious, so if you want to alter a raw image, Photo Gallery makes a copy of the raw original and converts it to either JPEG or the far superior JPEG-XR (or HD Photo) format. With JPEG-XR, all of the quality of the raw original is there so you can fine-tune different editing effects. You can fix red-eye, remove blemishes, or make detailed image adjustments with confidence knowing your original raw file is safe. When you use your raw files to construct an amazing panoramic stitch or Photo Fuse, a new file is generated and you get an even higher quality result than before.
With the new codec pack, Windows will now support viewing and editing a wide range of photo file formats including raw, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and more. This new update unlocks the power of every photo on your computer so that your PC is capable of organizing, viewing and editing your digital memories, whether they were shot with a camera phone, point-and-shoot camera, or a higher end DSLR. So keep shooting all those great photos! And if you’re lucky enough to own a camera that supports raw, give it a try. If you’re already shooting in raw, we hope we’ve just made your life a little easier.
Group Program Manager, Windows Live
I'm really surprised that the Canon 60D was not included in this. It's just about the hottest selling DSLR on the market.
How could you leave out support for the Nikon D7000 and Fuji RAF?? That makes no sense.
And as for DNG, it's a nothing format and deserves to die.
@Nora - You asked for some comparison of the two packages so here it is: www.fastpictureviewer.com/.../fastpictureviewer-codec-pack-vs-microsoft-camera-codec-pack
Can you just clarify please. the 64bit codec is labelled 'amd64' is this file just for AMD processors or will it work well with Intel Win7 x64? Thanks!
"Now?" Microsoft is always good for a bit of hyperbole. We released our first RAW codec (for Adobe DNG) in 2007. It was one of the first 64 bit codecs, but there were several 32 bit codecs existing when we released our first. We followed with codecs for Canon, Nikon, and several Adobe formats (PSD, AI, EPS) in the years since.
That said, I have to give kudos to the Microsoft team for joining the party. There is always room for innovation, and Microsoft has provided baseline support for the vast majority of the RAW market. Now things can move to the next level.
If you have a recent Nikon or Canon camera, or if you want a faster codec with enhanced metadata support (such as lens data from Nikon NEFs), then you may want to give one of our free trials a try.
Unfortunately the new Microsoft codec breaks Windows Explorer. File properties (Author, Tags, etc.) could be changed in the Details pane and in the Properties dialog - no more. The Properties dialog when invoked from inside Windows Live Gallery no longer permits changing file properties either. Sadly I came on this the hard way: ludwigkeck.wordpress.com/.../a-windows-tale-of-woe-error-0x80004005 - IsJPEG-XR really supported? Where is it to be found?
It would be nice if this actually installed... "Could not write value Progid to key \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.arw\UserChoice. Verify that you have sufficient access to that key, or contact your support personnel."
Yes, I have admin privs on this machine.
I understand that Axel is upset, he will earn less money, but I think Microsoft must be pragmatic. Some years ago RAW was a high-end format. Today it is very different and because of it Windows needs the RAW format out-of-the-box support. Sorry Axel! I use your FastPicture codecs, but I am very glad that everyone will get the codecs, too. I think that it should be a Windows Update optional offer and it should be integrated into a download of Windows Live Photo Gallery.
I realise that the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack is a work in progress, and will always remain so as new camera models are released, but could I add a request for Fuji RAF support.
@axelriet I think I am on your side on this but its clear I do not see the difference in what you are selling and what Microsoft is offering. I hope you do add your data to your site calling out the differences and I am sure others like myself will see that what I have for today is incomplete. If it really is faster or the missing metadata is important to me I will have to get it as my camera manufacture did not write a x64 version. Us independent Windows developers need to stick together!
PS. I joined this site so I could reply to your comments. There is no way to just reply without joining.
@balayage : Sorry to hear you're running into troubles. I suggest you go to our forum and include a little more detail regarding your problem. For example, what software is giving you the error message and what camera you have. You can find the forum here http://windowslivehelp.com/ under Photo Gallery. Thanks in advance.
@axelriet : You have a great product that I know plenty of people LOVE. There are plenty of people here who are pretty darned impressed and I know there are many, many more of them out there. And, yes, there are plenty of other great products and sources of codecs out there as well. As always, different people will choose different approaches and different software to achieve the success with their photos. Our codec pack respects and honors that choice. The urgency of us adding to that choice has increased in recent years as the popularily of raw has increased. A need, quite frankly, that is mushrooming at a rate that says there will be more opportunity for third party software than less. The intention of my post was not diminish the importance, quality or mere existence of third party offerings but to extend a hand to those customers who simply don't know where to turn for help.
@7flavor : Even folks on our marketing team accuse me of writing too much like marketing, so you're not alone! Thanks for acknowledging the fact Windows has actually supported raw for some time with the help of third parties. I was directing my post at those folks out there who don't really know what a codec is nor where to find them. Or if they have found them, were having troubles. Indeed there are plenty of others of you who have had, and are having, no problems. By all means we want happy customers to continue being happy even if that means they don't download this update. Our intent with this work is to get more people to have the experience you've been having by doing some heavy lifting ourselves.
@Nora: I think you fail to see the big picture but that's OK. As I side note I wonder why you joined this community just minutes ago only to post this message?! Besides that I've said everything I'm willing to say here. Enjoy your free Microsoft codecs.
@axelriet while I believe you are correct that @bradweed should not have said that RAW support is new to Photo Gallery because I have been using the WIC codec that came with my camera for a few years with Photo Gallery. I do think that in the last update it did seem to work better with Photo Gallery so I think the Microsoft team did something to make it seem like new.
That being said I disagree that this is the end for independent developers who write WIC codecs. Like you, and I assume you are Axel Rietschin, I write Windows software that at times competes with software that Microsoft charges for or gives away for free. You have to learn to show why your software is better than free. There is the phrase "you get what you pay for" with the implication that something for free cannot be that good. In your blog post comment you wrote it is slow and does not show all of the metadata but you say this in vague terms. On your site and in your blog tell me why and how you are better and why I should buy your product. Personally for me this new codec is MUCH faster than the one from my camera maker. You made a comment about Picassa and speed and I use it in addition to Photo Gallery and this new codec seems faster to me with Photo Gallery than the RAW processing I see with Picassa which does no use WIC codecs, I think. Also on your blog tell me what metadata is missing and why I should pay money to see it. I do not see any missing metadata in my RAW images and it looks like all of the EXIF info is there that I would see when compared to a jpeg. In fact I was really supprised to see the geotag data in the RAW metadata displayed. I just got a x64 laptop and was considering your product so I could see my thumnails and get things working in media center but this codec from Microsoft seems to be working just fine. If there are features that I am missing that I need to have sell this to me on your site. I would love to see some numbers on how much faster you are. Speed might make a difference for me. I love the fact that the new codec is faster than the one that came with my camera. Personally I do not care that there is not support for new cameras mostly because I have not bought a new camera reciently. In this economy who can afford new cameras? Also camera companies start and discontinue cameras all of the time. Take the Sony Alpha 390 as example, it came out 13 months ago and they have already discontinued it!
You made the comment that Microsoft is installing by default over 3rd party codecs but while I only know a little about WIC I do know that they way it works is that when an app calls WIC WIC will ask each codec what level of support it has in the decode and then which ever codec has the highest level of support it is the one that gets to decode the image for the app. There were not that many decode properties and if it is a tie among codecs it is random as to what WIC passes back to the application. I am not sure how Microsoft hurts things in this scenario as if you have a better codec.
@Cas: try to look for "Sony RAW Driver Download", it has official Sony RAW codec from Sony.
or link: support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/.../index.html
At least I'm glad the codec works in 64 bit Windows too. The official codec for the camera I use only support 32 bit Windows.
To the team, I had error messages about the setup failed to register the ProgID for the file extensions. I ignored the errors and the setup completed. I could view the files in Explorer and Photo Gallery but can't edit the picture
@7flavor What I said above! Now MS dumps an inferior product on the market (they don't expose all metadata, don't support any camera newer than 18 months old, and their codecs performs so poorly they make /actual use/ of Photo Gallery and Windows Photo Viewer for raw files viewing a real pain - just check Picasa or competing RAW codecs offerings by (now-crushed) ISVs: they make the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack look like a bad summer intern's job - which it probably is). Now they present it as something new and the best thing since sliced bread, while codec-based RAW support has been there all along in Windows for the past 5 years starting with Vista and XP SP3.
@Brad Weed: you should not be proud. It's Microsoft market power at work all over again, crushing market segments by dumping inferior-but-free products on it, complete with built-in mechanisms to make sure your product is installed by default over any existing 3rd party offering, offering the consumer no choice but to use your demonstrably flawed and underperforming package. In fact, you don’t even acknowledge the existence of 3rd parties, despite the fact that some did a much better job than you and for a far longer time. Bottom-line, innovation is stifled once again and consumers will eventually suffer as small vendors get out of business thanks to your tactics, and available options shrinks to your product only. Sheeps will applaud because they save a few bucks and Microsoft will have extended its power to yet another tiny market segment, crushing WIC codec providers along the way. The skills needed to engineer proper codecs are very specific and requires talented people fluent in imaging, native code, system-level components and COM technologies - people necessarily very supportive of the Microsoft platform, and you just pissed of a few of them quite badly.
But don't forget the SLT Sony cameras (A35, A55, the comming A65 and A77), please !
The NEX-5, NEX-3, NEX-3C and the comming NEX-77 are waiting, too :) !
Oh please call off the marketing speak. Photo Gallery has supported RAW formats since the very first version in Vista if the correct codecs are installed. You should at least not mislead by saying it NOW support RAW formats.
Didn't work. My camera was on the list. Getting an error saying it cannot find the right codex.
@Regunathan Umapathy Ah. I see what you mean. I don't think that functionality is available on SkyDrive yet. I did try to use several different browsers just to make sure that wasn't the problem.
This is a welcome addition, I'm glad you guys added it. But I'm a little surprised & disappointed that you didn't support the Digital Negative (DNG) standard.
@fenus, the skydrive link I gave all the photos are uploaded in the original quality. I didn't reduce the size while uploading. So it's same as the original. However if you right click image and save it you will end up in getting the image with 1024x768. To get the original image size click the download link at the right side.
Now coming back to my problem. You can have a look at skydrive.live.com then click the download link at the right hand side. You can inspect the document with EXIF tool and there you can find the longitude and latitude. But I can't see any relationship to bing maps or at least where the photograph was taken. My concern is that it is the coordinates are not shown with live photos.
Please add Canon 600D/T3i support! Thanks.
@Regunathan Umapathy, it looks like you uploaded reduced sized images they are showing 1024x768 size and no other metadata.
Is there going to be any support of the Sony NEX-5?
@JohnnyWestlake, I am sorry. I do have a photo album via skydrive.live.com but I can't see geotag on the right hand pane. Most of the photos do have the coordinate informationa. I also uploaded to some of them via www.panoramio.com/.../PirappankulamMahamariAmmanKovil most appeared with out manually georefering. I don't know what is the problem. I shall be thankful if someone can guide me. Thanks in advance.
thanks for that, I will try it as a free alternative to Fast Picture Viewer which is not free but can read a lot of formats
Great to have this functionality offered by Microsoft, and I hope it will be offered out of the box in future releases of Windows/Windows Live.
Now, what would be really handy is if the JPEG and TIFF codecs respected the Exif orientation flag. The lack of support for soft rotation is essentially a deal breaker when it comes to viewing JPEG/TIFF files in Explorer/Photo Gallery/Photo Viewer.
You make it sound like raw support in Explorer and Photo Gallery is something new, while 3rd parties have been providing the necessary WIC codecs for years and provided raw thumbnail and preview support in Windows XP SP3 to Vista to Windows 7. Incidentally, your new breakthrough - while still far behind regarding camera model compatibility and raw decoding performance - squashes a couple of small software vendors that filled the gap for you during all those years. Not even acknowledging the existence of the folks you inadvertently put out of business is not very nice.
Good stuff - now if you could talk to the Zune folks about a codec pack that has FLAC support I'd be all set!
Thank you for supporting RAW files. But please add support to edit PNG files, Photo Gallery is the only modern photo editor that you must convert PNG files to JPG to edit them.
For those of you looking for more codecs, we hear you. We're working on more and will release them as soon as they're available.
Could you guys bring support for RAW images coming from the Nikon D7000? Also, Im not sure why gifs are no longer supported in Windows Photo Gallery - they worked perfectly on XP. Bring it back.
@ Regunathan Umapathy - Live Photo Gallery already shows on a map where the photo was taken, and tells you the area. Just look under Geotag on the right hand pane.
It's too bad that the updated raw pack doesn't support newer Panasonic and Olympus M43 camera. Like G2/GF2, EP2/EPL1/EPL2....
I am hoping the Originals are not going to be hidden under something AppData folder.
Secondly, I know I can revert to original, but can I revert to an earlier version of my edited photo?
My camera has builtin GPS. I shall be thankful if you can get the cooridinates from the photos. I shall be thankful if you can also display in Bing maps where the photo graphs are taken and even more nicer if you can add a layer of of photo from Microsoft Photo Live Gallery to to show the photos which are shared publicly in Bing Maps. I hope to hear some geographic aware feature soon :).