Free RAW Editing Software
Not everyone can afford to pay for RAW editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. So, I have compiled a list of free RAW editing software for the photographer on a budget. I can’t personally vouch for any of these programs as I use Photoshop and Lightroom for all of my RAW conversion.
1. Able RAWer 1.4 is freeware for RAW conversion and editing. It is only compatible with Windows currently. I wasn’t able to locate very many reviews of the software, but what I did find was mostly negative unfortunately. One reviewer sited the incredibly complicated and hard to learn user interface and felt that it wasn’t software that was worth downloading, even for free.
2. Stepok’s Raw Importer appears to be very popular among users. Like Able RAWer 1.4, it is only compatible with Windows. Reviews claimed that it was easy to use, did what it was supposed to, but was a bit slow. Not bad for free! Judging from the reviews, this is good free RAW editing software.
3. SCARAB Darkroom is another promising piece of freeware for RAW conversion. It is currently in BETA mode and only works on Windows computers. Many people on Digital Photography Review claimed to really favor this software for editing their RAW files. It appears to support most cameras, so I would certainly recommend giving this free software a try!
4. Google’s Picasa does support RAW files, and is of course free to use. However, most people feel that it is too basic. It’s not recommended on its own.
5. ArcSoft PhotoStudio Darkroom is compatible with both Windows and Mac, and it is completely free to use the trial version of the software for editing your RAW files. Reviews are mixed. A few people claimed that they actually charge you for customer support, and are in general shady. Others were happy enough with the software itself. I tend to take any claims of poor customer support very seriously. It’s one of my pet peeves and will make me stay far away from a product! For this reason, I would not recommend trying this software.
6. Capture One, which is typically premium RAW editing software, is offering a limited time free download of the express version of the software. You will be asked a question about a certain issue of digital photographer magazine. It might be worth it to purchase the issue since the software typically sells for $129!
I’m sure there is some free RAW editing software that I missed, but I bet something on this list will work for you if you are on a budget. However, I would always recommend purchasing Photoshop and Lightroom if you can afford it.