10.4.3 Updates iPhoto's Raw Capability Including .CR2

by Derrick Story

Not everyone is going to shell out $500 for Aperture when it arrives. So Apple needs to keep iPhoto in good working condition. They took a step in that direction with the latest system update, 10.4.3.

Prior to the update, I wasn't able to load my .CR2 Raw files from Canon's Rebel XT and 5D into iPhoto. This really busted up my Raw workflow and forced me to use Canon's Digital Photo Professional for browsing my Raw thumbnails. Adobe Bridge is just a tad too slow at initial rendering for my tastes, although I really like Camera Raw for image editing.

Mac OS X 10.4.3 fixed all that. So, for the time being, I can go back to iPhoto 5 for organizing my Raw files.

As a side-note for you iPhoto users who are considering upgrading to Aperture, there's an import function in Aperture that enables you to grab the images from iPhoto and put them in the new environment. This will make the transition much easier.


2005-11-01 08:04:08
List of RAW format supported
Could you post a list of all new format supported with the 10.4.3 update?

In fact it would be nice to have a permanent site listing all RAW formats supported by different software (such as Aperture, Photoshop, IPhoto and others).

I am obviously specially interested with the format used by the cameras I own: Fuji F700, Fuji S9000, and Olympus EVOLT 500.

2005-11-01 08:32:15
RE: List of RAW format supported
I haven't been able to track down a Knowledge Base doc yet that lists the new formats for iPhoto 5. The older list is here:


Keep an eye on these talkbacks in the meantime. We should get some reports as readers try out the new OS/iPhoto combo with their cameras.

2005-11-01 08:58:27
RAW editing?
i recall when iPhoto 5 first came out that any edit within iPhoto created a jpeg of the RAW image...is that still the case, or can i edit the RAW file directly. it appears that i can edit the RAW file, but i'm not positive.
2005-11-01 09:19:19
RE: RAW editing?
Yeah, you'll have to wait for Aperture for the more sophisticated Raw editing that you mention here. But I have to say, iPhoto's approach isn't bad for most uses, especially making quick prints or posting pictures online. When I want to work more precisely with an image however, I open it in Camera Raw.
2005-11-01 09:31:20
iPhoto and RAW workflow
I would be interested to know how you think iPhoto fits into a typical RAW workflow. Prior to this update I was converting my Nikon D70s RAW files to Adobe DNGs using Adobe's converter. I think there are many good reasons to perform this conversion, rather than simply archive the original files. I then converted these DNGs using Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop CS. Moving to iPhoto for RAW storage and processing would certainly simplify my workflow but has the following problems:
  • Accuracy of RAW colour conversion using iPhoto has been widely criticised, whereas Camera RAW is generally reported well on.

  • It doesn't seem to like my converted DNGs, only the original RAW (.NEF) files. Will these files even be readable in 5 years time? I'm pretty sure that DNGs will be. I know that Aperture is supposed to support DNGs, so why not iPhoto?

  • I can't see how you would open a RAW file from iPhoto into Photoshop and still preserve the 12/16-bit range. Looks like it can only go through an intermediate JPG (8-bit) stage.

  • Any thoughts on these points at all?
    2005-11-01 10:06:13
    .MRW Supported Too
    Just got an email from a reader noting that iPhoto 5 can now import ".MRW" data from my Minolta Maxuum D7.
    2005-11-01 10:15:14
    RE: iPhoto and RAW workflow
    Oh, I think you make lots of good points here. Just to note, I use iPhoto output for quick and dirty only. I like Camera Raw for the serious stuff.

    I also think DNG is a good idea and am really happy to see that support in Aperture. I'm curious to seehow simple the workflow will be to go from Raw to DNG. Need to see the latest version of Aperture for that.

    As for the 16-bit hurdle... if you drag the Raw thumbnail in iPhoto onto the Photoshop icon on your dock, Camera Raw opens the image at 16-bits, at least mine does. You can also use the Share command in iPhoto, then choose "Original" for the format.

    2005-11-01 11:10:45
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    To contribute, I have made a quick test on raw files from my cameras (10.4.3 is installed):
    Fuji Finepix F700 (.RAF): iPhoto NO, Photoshop CS2: Yes As I am satisfied with Photoshop handling of those file, I have not tsted any other solutions.
    Fuji S9000 (.RAF): iPhoto NO, Photoshop CS2: NO
    The software supplied by Fuji allows only conversion to TIFF, is very slow, and does not offer much.
    Olympus EVOLT E500 (.ORF): iPhoto: NO, Photoshop CS2: NO
    The software supplied by Olympus, specially if you upgrade it to "Master Pro" is full featured and very fast and offer a variety f formats including JPEG.

    2005-11-01 11:22:36
    RE: iPhoto and RAW workflow
    Yes, I suppose that quick and dirty is the most suitable use all right. It is convenient to have access to immediate previews of the images in iPhoto rather than to have to go through a manual or batch conversion in Camera Raw.
    And I suppose that the lack of current support for DNGs in iPhoto isn't too much of an issue for me. I can do the conversion and then archive the DNGs to optical disk. Then import the RAWs into iPhoto and let it do the work. The D70s RAWs are compressed a little in-camera and are only 5MB in size. After DNG conversion those guys grow to roughly 25MB, so storing them in iPhoto would probably not be smart anyway.
    Your tip on getting around the 16-bit hurdle is a good one, but it doesn't work for me unfortunately. I only have Photoshop CS and it doesn't support the RAW format in the D70s. I need CS2 for that (which I'm not prepared to pay for at the moment). The DNG converter works around this limitation nicely, as it is free and the resulting files are compatible with Camera RAW in CS.
    2005-11-01 11:54:07
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    Strangely, neither iPhoto nor Preview will recognise a .CR2 file from my EOS 350D (or Digital Rebel XT as you call it). The situation appears unchanged from 10.4.2 and I don't understand why.
    2005-11-01 13:04:32
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    This is really helpful. Thanks for posting!
    2005-11-01 13:10:06
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    Hmmm... something is amiss. I just double-tested a .CR2 file from my XT (or EOS 350D), and it worked in both iPhoto 5 and Preview... after the 10.4.3 update.

    Do you get an error message? You have any more info?

    2005-11-02 09:31:20
    Color Mode in iPhoto
    Does it matter which color mode (sRGB or Adobe RGB) you use for your RAW files when storing/working in iPhoto? Many people recommend that you shoot in Adobe RGB and convert to sRGB when you are ready to post on the web or print at a commercial lab. Will the thumbnails (which I understand to be JPGs) created in iPhoto be negatively affected if the RAW file is tagged with Adobe RGB rather than sRGB?
    2005-11-03 04:08:00
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    I also having problems with .CR2 from a 350D. I have firmware 1.0.3 on my 350D and 10.4.3 on my powerbook.

    DPP 2.0.3 also fails to display the raw files.


    2005-11-05 14:03:01
    RE: List of RAW format supported
    Look at this hack on macosxhints.com:


    We europeans are second-class apple citizens after all... ;)

    2005-11-06 23:33:09
    Camera Raw support
    Be aware that it's the OS that provides Camera Raw support to both iPhoto, Preview and Aperture, so the same support that's available for Aperture will simutlanously be available for iPhoto. Not that I understand why anybody would want to use iPhoto for that, though...
    2005-11-07 14:06:26
    RE: Camera Raw support
    Yes, you're right about the OS update affects iPhoto and Preview. That's implied in this post.

    But I do want to push back a bit about the usefulness of iPhoto for managing Raw photos. I think iPhoto is very handy for Raw. I can preview my pictures quickly, output to web or snapshot in a flash, and organize the shots easily.

    I agree that iPhoto isn't the end-all for Raw workflow. For example, I really like Camera Raw for image adjustment. But I missed iPhoto when I couldn't use it for my .CR2 files, and I'm glad Apple provided the update.