Not every photographer cares a hoot about the RAW image format for photos. Simply put, RAW images are unprocessed data, photos which are captured but not saved as JPG files. I think of RAW as a digital negative. RAW images usually have a wider dynamic range or color gamut than the photo’s JPG counterpart. Can you edit and enhance RAW images? Sure. Most high end photo editors, including Photoshop, handle RAW images.
For a lot less money and a much lower learning curve, RAW images can be edited in AccuRaw, a relatively inexpensive yet powerful RAW image editor.
Using AccuRaw is a rather straightforward process. Drop in a RAW image. Then select tools and options from the list in the sidebar.
AccuRaw gives you control over demosiacing to suppress artifacts. Color is calibrated throughout from beginning to end and uses camera calibration files (check the list of supported cameras).
The RAW data inspector gives you far more photo information than you’re likely to find in a standard JPG photo file.
The built-in browser lets you thumb through RAW images easier than using the Mac’s Finder.
What you won’t find in AccuRaw are standard lens correction option or noise reduction. The image displayed is the RAW image your camera saw and captured.
I found AccuRaw to be simple to setup and use, the presets are decent, but the options are limited.
A couple of caveats to using AccuRaw. First, you’ll need a Mac with some horsepower and plenty of RAM. RAW image files are usually large. Second, there’s no try-before-you-buy version, which is a shame for an app at this price range. Finally, makes sure your camera’s RAW files are supported in AccuRaw (it’s an extensive list).