When shooting, capturing Raw files ensures that you can maintain greater control of your final images. Raw doesn't just permit a greater scope for post-production due to the higher amount of data in the file, but permits sharpness and image noise control that, if shooting in JPEG-only mode for example, may otherwise be compromised given the camera's often limited internal processing.
The process of editing Raw files is often viewed as a laborious and time-consuming one, although if you pick the right photo editing software it needn't be. We've picked a few of the best that can hopefully make your life easier.
Mac & PC - £82
The latest version of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom software sees an extensive range of developements, and further consolidates its position as the number one image editing and organisations tools for professionals and hobbyists alike.
Lightroom allows for Raw edits to take place within the software itself through a selection of slidersthat mimic Adobe Camera Raw, thus eliminating the two-step process seen elsewhere. Recent lowering of the software's price also means that Lightroom is more affordable than ever before.
Best Raw Photo Editing Software for: Complete Raw photo editing and organisation
Mac only - £55
Almost like an ‘iPhoto Pro', Aperture 3 adds ‘Faces' and ‘Places' features for face recognition and GPS data mapping. Brushes, adjustments and a full screen browser also feature, with a Photobook design module also coming up trumps.
Aperture 3 is a Mac-only photo editing software solution, and although this means PC users miss out, it does result in excellent native support across the Apple platform.
Best Raw Photo Editing Software for: Native Apple integration
Mac & PC - £119 (Standard) / £239 (Elite)
In terms of a complete Raw editing solution, it's hard to better DxO Optics pro. Not only does the software offer extensive tools to aid the Raw conversion process, but it also boasts a range of high-end tools to aid the improvement of image quality.
DxO Optics also features a range of tailored lens correction plug-ins which recognise the lens used and correct the images accordingly for any known flaws.
Best Raw Photo Editing Software for: Advanced lens correction and editing
Mac, PC & Linux - £80
Corel AfterShot Pro may be better known by its previous moniker - Bibble Pro. Corel relatively recently acquired the popular Raw editing software and placed it at the centre of its AfterShot Pro software suite.
AfterShot Pro is quite similar to Adobe's Lightroom software in that it not only offers advanced Raw editing functionality, but also serves as a sophisticated photo management tool, and one that won't break the bank.
Best Raw Photo Editing Software for: Simplicity and cross-OS support
Mac & PC - €229
A long-standing favourite with studio photographers thanks to its tethered shooting capability, Capture One Pro is often aassociated with medium format users. As pro as it is, however, there are many features for easy organisation and top-notch post-processing.
If you're looking for a solution that offers a professional level of support and integration in to the work flow, Capture One Pro 7 could well be worthy of consideration.
Best Raw Photo Editing Software for: Professional photographers