This originated from Canon Rumers.

Microsoft has quietly released a native codec for Vista and Windows 7 that supports preview of most Canon RAW files. In the past I’ve relied on Canon’s Digital Photo Professional application if I needed to quickly rummage through photos and Adobe Lightroom if I really want to dig in and mess around with curves. This has worked for me in the past, but I will admit that Canon’s DPP program is a little slow and clunky to use. Native windows support might knock it out of the running for quick photo selection.

You can download the Codec here. Select MicrosoftCodecPack_amd64 if you have a 64 bit OS and MicrosoftCodecPack_x86 if you have a 32 bit OS. Once you have the Codec downloaded you’ll have to except a few terms and conditions then go through a few random clicks and you’re done.

The file next to the window “IMG_3764” now shows up properly in thumb nail view. If you click properties and look you’ll notice under Type of file, it says CR2 file. That’s the RAW format picture file right from the camera.

If you double click on the picture it now shows up in “Windows Live Photo Gallery” which quickly brings up thumb nails of pictures on the camera by month and date. Whenever you scroll your mouse over an image it gives you a larger thumbnail view. Overall it seems to have very snappy performance, but remember it’s still just a quick picture viewer.

If you try to select a RAW photo to edit you’ll notice that all editing features are grayed out and a little message pops up next to the photo that says “windows Live Photo Gallery can’t fix this photo because of its file format”. So basically you can look but you can’t touch.

I’ve talked to quit a few people that like to shoot RAW+JPG because it’s easier and quicker to use the JPG files as a reference, select your photo’s, then work with the RAW files. It seems like this might be a good way to move away from that workflow and just shoot raw. That should save you a little bit of buffer time if you’re out shooting in burst mode.


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