If you’re looking to browse your camera’s RAW format images on a PC then your first instinct will probably be to locate a suitably powerful image viewer. But there could be a simpler solution.
Microsoft’s Camera Codec Pack supports the viewing of a host of device-specific formats in Explorer, Windows Live Photo and any other Windows Imaging Codecs-based software, and it’s free and straightforward to use.
Just download the version you need; the Codec Pack comes in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours. (Both require either Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7, unfortunately.)
Run the installer, allow it to proceed to completion, reboot when requested, and that’s essentially it. You should now be able to view thumbnails of your RAW images within Explorer, so you can browse them without needing any third-party tools at all.
The Codec Pack has its limits. In particular its support for some manufacturers is far better than others, but if your camera is on the list (and the Pack has just been updated with a few new examples) then it’s probably worth the download.
Here’s the full list of supported devices.
- Canon: Digital Rebel XT, Digital Rebel XTi, EOS 10D, EOS 20D, EOS 30D, EOS 40D, EOS 50D Digital, EOS 60D, EOS 300D, EOS 350D, EOS 400D, EOS 450D, EOS 500D, EOS 550D, EOS 600D, EOS 1000D, EOS 1100D, EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 7D Digital, EOS D30, EOS D60, EOS Digital Rebel, EOS Kiss Digital, EOS Kiss Digital N, EOS Kiss Digital X, EOS Kiss F, EOS Kiss X2, EOS Kiss X3, EOS Kiss X4, EOS Kiss X5, EOS Kiss X50, EOS Rebel T1i, EOS Rebel T2i, EOS Rebel T3, EOS Rebel T3i, EOS Rebel XS, EOS Rebel XSi, EOS-1D, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS-1Ds, EOS-1Ds Mark II, EOS-1Ds Mark III, PowerShot G2, PowerShot G3, PowerShot G5, PowerShot G6, PowerShot G9, PowerShot G10, PowerShot G11, PowerShot Pro1, PowerShot S90, PowerShot S95, PowerShot SX1 IS
- Nikon: 1 J1, 1 V1, Coolpix P6000, D1H, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, D3, D3s, D3X, D4, D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D90, D100, D200, D300, D300s, D700, D800, D800E, D3000, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D7000
- Sony: DSLR-A100, DSLR-A200, DSLR-A230, DSLR-A300, DSLR-A330, DSLR-A350, DSLR-A380, DSLR-A500, DSLR-A550, DSLR-A560, DSLR-A580, DSLR-A700, DSLR-A850, DSLR-A900, Alpha NEX-3, Alpha NEX-5, Alpha NEX-5N, Alpha SLT-A55/A55V, Cyber-shot DSC-R1
- Olympus: C-7070 Wide Zoom, C-8080 Wide Zoom, E-1, E-3, E-10, E-20, E-30, E-420, E-450, E-520, E-620, EVOLT E-300, EVOLT E-330, EVOLT E-400, EVOLT E-410, EVOLT E-500, EVOLT E-510, PEN E-P1, PEN E-P2, PEN E-PL1
- Pentax (PEF formats only): *ist D, *ist DL, *ist DS, K10D, K20D, K100D, K100D Super, K110D, K200D, K-5, K-7, K-r, K-x
- Leica: DIGILUX 3, D-LUX 4, M8, M8.2, M9
- Konica Minolta: ALPHA-7 DIGITAL, DiMAGE A1, DiMAGE A2, DYNAX 7D, Maxxum 7D
- Epson: R-D1
- Panasonic: Lumix DMC-G1, Lumix DMC-GH1, Lumix DMC-GF1, Lumix DMC-LX3, Lumix DMC-LX5
- Casio: EX-FH20
- Kodak: EasyShare Z981, EasyShare Z1015 IS
- Samsung: NX11
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