Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote a little about the newly released Microsoft RAW Codec. One of the first things I did was try my latest batch of Nikon RAW NEF files from a balloon festival earlier this month. I had so-so results, especially inside Windows Media Center, where thumbnails appeared, but after selecting an individual image file, WMC could not display it. This set of images was shot with a D7000 DX camera, in order to take advantage of the longer reach of FX lenses used with it. I normally carry both a D700 and a D7000.
As it turns out, for whatever reason, the Microsoft RAW Codec does not support the D7000. I’m not sure why, since Adobe and others now support it, and the D7000 has been available since mid October 2010.
Anyway, if you have a supported camera, the new codec most definitely is supported inside Windows Media Center if you want to view your RAW images there. You won’t get detailed EXIF info in View Details, but you certainly can display your images on a large screen. The screen capture below shows one of the folders (highlighted) from an Orchid Show I attended in 2009 where I shot with my D700 and the Nikon 105mm Macro lens. Thumbnails appear as expected.
Today Microsoft released a Codec Camera Pack which brings (long overdue) limited support for various RAW formats from the major camera vendors. While most RAW shooters use more substantial tools (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.) for manipulating images, Microsoft has provided a download for both 32 and 64 bit Windows that allows viewing RAW formats in Windows Live Photo Gallery and some basic image manipulation, mostly rotate and resize. You can, however, copy a NEF to JPG format and edit it inside WLPG, but that is not the same as editing a native NEF (or other RAW format file) inside Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. This may be good enough for casual photographers.
Below is a screen shot in Windows Explorer Tile view of some Nikon NEF RAW images which is where I looked first. Note the generic Windows Live Photo Gallery icons, but please read further