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June 1, 2005 – Microsoft announced a series of enhancements to current and future versions of Windows that will enable consumers to easily work with RAW files. The Washington-based Microsoft worked with Adobe, Canon, FujiFilm, and Nikon on the RAW project and plans to deliver native support for digital camera RAW images in the next major version of Windows, code-named "Longhorn."
"The explosion in popularity of digital photography on Windows continues to progress and evolve as consumers discover the quality benefits of digital camera RAW," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft. "By working with industry leaders to extend support for RAW in Windows, we are removing the obstacles for consumer use of RAW and enabling a seamless platform for the next era of digital imaging innovation."
Additionally, Microsoft will improve the ability to work with RAW images in Windows XP with the upcoming Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer. Both the Thumbnailer and Viewer will allow Windows XP users to view thumbnails, preview, and print Nikon and Canon RAW files from Windows Explorer. Future versions of the Microsoft Digital Image Suite will also allow users to organize and edit Nikon and Canon RAW files.
Microsoft is also in the process of developing a certification program for third party RAW image codecs. This will allow hardware and software vendors to contribute their own codecs that will in turn be certified and implemented into Windows.
"Often likened to a digital negative, a RAW image is preferred by many photographers who feel it preserves the subtle color and detail possible with today’s digital cameras," noted a Microsoft press release. While JPEG images are processed in the camera, RAW files are processed on a PC, allowing both color and exposure to be adjusted after the image has already been taken while retaining the images' original fidelity.
"We believe Microsoft’s plans to deliver native support to digital camera RAW image [via] the Windows operating system is good news to consumers. RAW images are valued as one source of expanding the digital imaging world, and we welcome the possibility that more and more digital camera users will have the opportunity to experience and enjoy the world of RAW, "said Tomonori Iwashita, Director and Deputy Chief Executive of Canon’s Image Communication Products Group.