Software updates from Nikon and Canon this month bring Windows Vista support for "raw" images taken with the companies' newest SLRs--and in Canon's case, a number of older cameras as well.
Raw images contain more data than JPEG and give photographers more control over processing, but different cameras and manufacturers use different proprietary formats, making support a challenge. Microsoft relies on camera makers to supply customers with "codec" software that lets Windows Vista--and any programs that use its image-handling abilities--read the proprietary raw image formats. In contrast, Apple writes its own codecs, and Windows XP doesn't have any built-in support for viewing raw images.
Version 1.1 of Nikon's codec adds support for the new $5,000 top-end D3, due to ship imminently, and the $1,800 D300, which just began shipping.
The new version 1.2 of Canon's codec supports its new $8,000 top-end EOS-1Ds Mark III, also imminent, and the $1,300 EOS 40D that's been on the market for a few weeks.
The software also supports a number of older compact and SLR cameras from years past that supported raw files, said Chuck Westfall, a Canon spokesman and tech guru, and works with the Windows Live Photo Gallery software on Windows XP.
In addition, Canon upgraded a swath of other software, including its ZoomBrowser EX and ImageBrowser photo-browsing utilities, its Digital Photo Professional tool for editing raw images, its PhotoStitch software for joining photos into a panorama, its Picture Style Editor for adjusting photo color, and its EOS Utility for controlling cameras with a computer.
The new versions of these products bring support for the new cameras, and in the case of Digital Photo Professional, adds the ability to correct some lens aberrations, Westfall said. The other packages can be downloaded from camera model Web pages.
(Via Rob Galbraith.)