Raw Developer


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Has anyone used Raw Developer. My Mac is having a spring clean at the moment and I will have to make a decision as to which software to load this weekend. I'd be grateful for any feedback.


Mu-43 Regular
I use Aperture 3.0 and/or Photoshop CS5.

They are both extremely competent and easy to use RAW development softwares. I can attest that they both function perfectly with the Olympus EP1. Not sure about the EPL1 or EP2 though. Consult other forum members for those cameras.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Thanks Caleb. I already have Aperture (2?) For reasons that we won't go into :biggrin: I cannot upgrade to Aperture 3. I would have to buy the whole thing fresh :frown: I have LR2 which came with my X1 but I haven't loaded it yet as there is some confusion over wheather or not we will be able to get LR3 instead. I am looking for a reasonable cost that will cover all my cameras including the Sigma DP1 which is the tricky customer!

Amin Sabet

I love Raw Developer, but it has important limitations. No time to write much at this moment - I'll continue those thoughts a little later on today...


Mu-43 All-Pro
I am looking for a reasonable cost that will cover all my cameras including the Sigma DP1 which is the tricky customer!
Ouch. Most 3rd party raw developers are based at a point or another on dcraw by Dave Coffin(*), and for some reasons I'm not privy with, the Sigma DP1 and 2 are not supported, although there have been attempts to do so.

You might consider choosing a raw developer for most of your cameras, and stick to the one provided with your DP1 for just that camera.


(*) At the moment, dcraw manages about 400 camera models in a tiny package of 8900 lines of programming code. As far as beauty can be applied to computing, dcraw is the modern equivalent of a medieval manuscript : a constant and dedicated effort by a single person to produce an ornate yet surprisingly compact and efficient work. Not always easy to decipher, though !
Not for the faint of heart :
Decoding raw digital photos in Linux
(don't get fooled by the page title : dcraw is used on every mainstream OS out there).

Amin Sabet

Hi Christilou,

I've been using Raw Developer for a long time. Raw Developer is the baby of Brian Griffith, and I'm amazed that he has been able to make such an amazing product.

Great things about Raw Developer:
  • Awesome demosaicing - preserves as much or more of the original detail in the file than any other RAW processing app I have used (many, many) and renders with a natural appearance. This is the core purpose of a RAW processing app, and here RD excels
  • Fast, lightweight, and stable
  • Updated frequently to handle the latest cameras
  • User friendly interface with powerful controls for all basic RAW processing needs
  • Excellent sharpening options
  • Doesn't correct geometric distortion (sometimes I want the uncorrected file, and that is not an option in Lightroom)
Less great things:
  • Doesn't correct geometric distortion (usually I want the corrected file, and this is handled automatically in Lightroom)
  • Doesn't automatically correct color fringing (I'm not 100% sure, but I think this is the case)
  • Less effective noise reduction options (in my hands) than some other apps (although none of the RAW apps natively handle noise as well as some of the plugins available for PS/LR/Aperture)
  • None of the advanced, selective editing tools that are found in apps like Aperture and Lightroom
RD does a heck of a job at developing the RAW file, but it stops there and doesn't take over much of what is traditionally done in Photoshop. It isn't a soup to nuts solution like Aperture or Lightroom, but it arguably does the basics of RAW conversion better than either. I'd say a similar thing about Capture One (C1), which is more fully-featured than RD (C1 does distortion correction, for example) but less so than Lightroom/Aperture.

I find myself using Lightroom for most day-to-day photography, but if I have a special file, I often use RD to get the most out of it and then finish off in Photoshop.


New to Mu-43
Amin Sabet covers the strengths and weaknesses as well. I've used RD for about 2 years as my main raw converter and have found it's output and control wonderful. It allows you to be true to the picture. If you have a older Mac (i.e. non-Intel) it is your best option since it does not seem to require so many system resources as other programs. To Amin's weakness list I'd add that there is no re-light function like you see in ACR/Lightroom or Aperture. Also, at least in my hands, it doesn't seem to transfer IPTC metadata from the raw file to the processed file.


Mu-43 Regular
I tried Raw Developer as well, but as I have Raw Photo Processor, which pretty much does the same job although in a less user friendly front end, I left it. I still occasionally use RPP if I need the ultimate in detail from a file and then import a top quality jpeg into Aperture 3 for further processing.