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Need a simple, basic, fast RAW editor for Mac

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by BarefootPilgrim, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Does anyone know of a simple, no-frills editor (for Mac) that will open and develop RAW files without a lot of bells and whistles getting in the way?

    I'm looking for software that'll handle quick-and-dirty edits of individual image files for posting to the web. I don't want a catalog/asset management app that also develops (like Lightroom), just a one-image-at-a-time RAW developer I can use to crop, adjust white balance, levels, colors, curves and sharpen, then export to web-sized jpg.

    Don't need a "viewer" since I already have a great one (Xee) that lets me sort through my latest transfers, then copy the files I want to quick-edit. And it's very fast.

    Lightroom would be almost perfect if it weren't for the asset management features that, for this particular use, just get in the way. GIMP is too cumbersome because u-fraw is waaaaaayyyyy too slow.

    Any thoughts?
  2. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 20, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Photoshop Elements? Gives you the same processing engine, via Camera RAW.

    Honestly, if Lightroom has what you want, you may be better off just using it and ignoring the DAM features - just start a new catalog for each session, have it output your per-image changes to XMP files, and when you're done, delete the catalog. It's a little more cumbersome, but I'd still consider it to be more painless than any of the more typical shot-at-a-time editors (Photoshop/Camera RAW, RawTherapee etc.)

    I have RPP. Not a huge fan, unless you really like doing a lot of tweaking to get good results. The defaults are awful. Also, no distortion correction, which is a serious problem for m4/3 lenses, especially wide ones. This is a problem with a lot of the free/open-source RAW editors.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Sounds like you'd like RawTherapee (free, O/S)

    BTW, if you ever do want something like Lightroom, look at DarkTable (free, O/S).

    • Like Like x 1
  5. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Thanks all for the suggestions! I think I've got this sorted now.

    That's essentially what I've been doing, Dara, and it is a bit klutzy, especially since I use LR for DAM on all my stuff across multiple hard drives. Was hoping to find some process that'd be simpler, less involved and didn't require setting up separate catalogs just to operate quickly on one or two images that are duplicates of things that will go into (or already are in) the main catalog... shots I'd like to process differently from the way they're done in the main catalog.

    Seems easier to just pull a duplicate off the card before it even loads into LR, do a quick crop or small tone or effect adjust, scale it and save as jpg for for the web or email. The process is actually faster to DO than it is to explain, but not when I have to wait for LR to load and go through all it's start-up stuff and saving/exporting dialogs. Elements is even slower.

    But you're right... that is less painful than PS / ACR / RPP / RawTherapee and everything else I've tried. And it also lets me use DxO, Topaz and OnOne plugins within LR when I want to do that. If I could just be happy shooting everything in jpg this would be easy! :rolleyes: 
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Am I missing something...... I use Aperture.. all my stuff goes into Aperture quickly... I can make selects while files are still coming in from the card, its filed away into a file structure of my choosing, and then I can process and output whatever I require, using external plug ins as required

    I am failing to see the need to have another application... I am curious to what you think is missing

    there was an interesting article over at aperture expert where they managed to get it to out perform photomechanic for one pro user


    • Like Like x 3
  7. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    I *think* OP's use case is that he wants to make minor edits to only one or two shots out of maybe several hundred in his camera in order to quickly send off copies to a friend or blog or such, w/o having to wait for all his images to import? I'm guessing OP's machine might also be a little slow to import and his patience level sounds a bit like mine. ;) 

    Am I close?
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Killarney, OzTrailEYa
  9. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Shoot raw+jpeg = problem averted?
  10. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Preview, which comes with the Mac OS, will convert raw files. There's a few basic adjustments available and you can save files in several formats.

    It's free and already on your computer.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. jomerads

    jomerads Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 27, 2013
    Moorestown, New Jersey
    John S.
    How about Olympus Viewer 3? That is if you are using ORF files. You can't use it for Panasonic camera raw files obviously. With this software you can do basic edits and convert your RAW images without the catalog and other properties that you do not like from Lightroom. It is also free if you have an Olympus camera.


    John S.
  12. TheProfessor

    TheProfessor New to Mu-43

    Jun 19, 2014
    I used to use Xee too, but it was always a bit slow for me. Try FastRawViewer; it’s a new, beta-stage, EXTREMELY fast program (less than half to a quarter of a second to open a file). I’ve switched over to it since I found out about it. It can show you the exposure and white balance you used in the shot, and, unlike for any other RAW viewer I’ve ever seen or used (and I’ve used a lot), this one can actually show you the RAW histogram of the file.
  13. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I used OV3 while I waited for Aperture/Apple to support the E-M1 ORF files. Wow, I felt like I was back in 2003 all over again. The length of time it took my computer to process and display those RAW files was astonishing. I was used to Aperture and various Canon and Nikon products...

    I liked the interface though, but was glad when I could get back to working in Aperture.
  14. jomerads

    jomerads Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 27, 2013
    Moorestown, New Jersey
    John S.
    I have had the same experience using OV2 but had no such problems with OV3. I have 20 gb of RAM in my iMac so maybe it is a hardware issue? I have LR4 and the EM5. At times in the PP Challenges here I have to open RAW files from the EM1 and convert them to a TIFF. I encountered no problems. Although I must say it is not the main program that I use day in and day out. Maybe in certain other areas besides conversions it maybe laggy? I do not know.


    John S.
  15. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    +1 One of the most overlooked and very powerful applications standard with any Mac....As long as the RAW updaters have provided support to the base OS, it will do it....Simply and quickly...

    Personally I prefer to just do the import into Apeture and upload straight from there such that I don't have duplicate files in jpg format laying about on my computer...there is just no need for exports and all that...But hey if you really want to, preview is the tool :) 
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