DNG for PowerShot - PowerShot RAW image converter

Sep 29, '08 05:30:00AM

Contributed by: robg

If you've got a Canon PowerShot (Digic II or Digic III) camera, there's a third-party software suite known as CHDK (Canon Hacker's Development Kit) that adds a huge variety of features to your camera -- and it supports a long list of Canon models, as seen on the first page of their site. For many people, the ability to shoot in RAW mode is among the most useful of the newly-added features. I wanted to test this out, and my PowerShot 850is is among the supported cameras, so I installed CHDK this weekend. The installation is relatively straightforward; I used a combination of the CHDK for Dummies and FAQ pages, and soon had a more-powerful Canon that was shooting in RAW mode. (Once installed, CHDK does not permanently change your camera, and it's easily removed if you never want to see it again.)

The problem, however, is that RAW formats are camera-specific, and OS X (and its various image-aware applications) don't know what to do with these RAW formats they've never seen before. So I couldn't use iPhoto (or Aperture) to import my RAW photos, because those programs know nothing about the PowerShot's RAW format. iPhoto would import the JPEG copy that's created alongside the RAW image, but not the RAW image itself.

So I went looking for a solution, and didn't have much luck at first -- most programs that handled PowerShot RAW format images seemed to be for Windows or Linux. After much digging, however, I found DNG for PowerShot. This program converts PowerShot RAW images to Adobe's DNG format. Once converted to DNG (which is based on the TIFF file format, but adds in metadata), I was able to use Photoshop to open and edit the files. (Aperture also supports DNG, but iPhoto does not.) Note that I first tried Adobe's own DNG Converter, but it would not read the RAW images from my PowerShot.

So if you've CHDK'd your Canon, and you're looking for a way to handle the RAW images it creates, give DNG for PowerShot a try -- it worked well for me!

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