RAW images are the original data that your digital camera captures, uncompressed. They can allow you to do further tweaking to get the perfect image unlike the jpegs that most cameras will give you. The .jpeg files are already processed with the camera automatically deciding what it thinks will make the best photo. The RAW allows you to make those changes yourself to find the best settings for the results you want with photo editing software. Until now, Windows did not support RAW files and you couldn’t view them in the Photo Gallery.
With Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011 and the newly release Microsoft Camera Codec Pack, it now supports RAW files so they can be viewed and adjusted on Windows Vista and Windows 7 – both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems are supported. The new codecs support over 120 different DSLR cameras in Photo Gallery and Windows Explorer. In addition to RAW files, it brings support to PNG, TIFF, and other formats.
Viewing is only part of the story. Photo Gallery will also support editing copies of your raw images. Because raw files are like digital negatives, they’re protected originals, not to be altered or harmed. We know your originals are precious, so if you want to alter a raw image, Photo Gallery makes a copy of the raw original and converts it to either JPEG or the far superior JPEG-XR (or HD Photo) format. With JPEG-XR, all of the quality of the raw original is there so you can fine-tune different editing effects. You can fix red-eye, remove blemishes, or make detailed image adjustments with confidence knowing your original raw file is safe. When you use your raw files to construct an amazing panoramic stitch or Photo Fuse, a new file is generated and you get an even higher quality result than before.
With the new codec pack, Windows will now support viewing and editing a wide range of photo file formats including raw, JPEG, PNG, TIFF and more. This new update unlocks the power of every photo on your computer so that your PC is capable of organizing, viewing and editing your digital memories, whether they were shot with a camera phone, point-and-shoot camera, or a higher end DSLR.