There are a few alternatives, besides buying software, that could be worth photographers using Pixmantec Rawshooter Essentials investigating, as there will be no further updates, which means that as you upgrade your equipment, the software will no longer be compatible.
Each of the options are listed below, along with a brief summary of the program and its features.
|Adobe Camera RAW (MAC/PC)
If you already have Adobe Photoshop, why not use it's excellent full-featured RAW processing support? Although the quality of output is very good and the range of features is excellent, the provision for batch processing isn't all that great. Adobe Lightroom will eventually take its place, and users of Rawshooter Premium will receive a discount, but that's not exactly free is it?
For more information about Adobe Camera RAW click here, and for details on Adobe Lightroom click here
XnView is a freeware image browsing utility that also includes RAW support for most common digital SLRs. All your RAW files can be searched and organised using the browser window and edited using a separate display, accessed by double clicking the file you wish to adjust.
The RAW adjustment tools are basic, but it's possible to get great results. Once you have applied all your adjustments, images can be selected for batch processing and output to a folder of your choice.
More information on this program, plus a link to download for free can be found at the XnView website.
|FastStone Image viewer (PC)
FastStone image viewer is another freeware browsing utility with support for most major RAW files included. The layout and workflow is virtually identical to XnView except for a smarter looking graphical interface. The adjustments available are basic, but as with XnView, it's still possible to get some great results.
More information on this program, plus a link to download for free can be found at the FastStone website.
This program is not for the less-than technically minded. Dcraw has no graphical interface, instead the program is run from code. On a Windows machine this means that a DOS command window needs to be opened to work on your files.
On the positive side this program is reported to produce fantastic quality results, but because a certain amount of expertise is required to simply operate the program, it's not an ideal solution for the masses.
More information on this program, plus a link to download for free can be found at the Dcraw website
Libopenraw is an ongoing project to provide a free and easily implementable software solution for processing digital camera RAW files. The motivation for the project comes from Dcraw's unsuitability for integration into other applications.
There is no software available to download at the moment as this is an ongoing project. For more information, or news on the progress of the project please visit the Libopenraw website
Jrawio is a freeware project to build a Java-based image browser and RAW processor designed for easy integration into other software just like how you would use plugins with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. The image browser part of the project has reached Release Candidate stage and should be ready once all the bugs and instabilities have been fixed. However the RAW processor , is still under development.
For more information, or the latest news on the progress of this project, please visit the Jrawio website
Although none of these are truly capable of providing a fully-featured RAW workflow solution on their own, the fact that the open-source software development community are working toward a solution is reassuring that there will be something out there for photographers on a tight budget.