Best free programs for editing RAW images

Experienced photographers know Shooting in RAW lets you capture a lot more details of the scene.

But when it comes time to edit these files, you need a RAW photo editor capable of giving you top-quality results.

Every RAW editing software processes images a little differently which can affect sharpness and color, including the Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) effect.

From Adobe Lightroom to Darktable, there are a ton of RAW photo editors out there, and finding the right one can be tricky.

Fortunately, We’ve got lots of experience, and came up with 8 best software for editing RAW photos, from free options to lifetime licenses.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, there is an option for you.

What is a raw photo editor, and why should I use one?

A raw photo editor is program designed to process and enhance raw image files captured by digital cameras.

With the power to adjust exposure, shadows, highlights, and more during post-processing, you can breathe new life into lackluster footage or transform good footage into stunning imagery.

8 Best software for editing RAW photos

Here are our top picks for programs for editing RAW files.

We will briefly discuss each below so you can decide which program is best for you.

1. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is the best photography workflow tool for serious enthusiasts who processing raw files and managing a large library of photos.

2. Capture One Pro

Capture One is a professional-grade photo editing software that is known for its advanced color grading and editing tools.

Many people prefer Capture One Pro for its richer rendering of raw images, but requires an effort to master.

3. DxO PhotoLab

DXO Photolab is an amazing RAW photo editing app which allows us to add filters & effects.

4. On1 Photo Raw

ON1 Photo RAW is the best all round photo editing software.

This tool comes with great features such as an image organizer, Raw processor, layered editor, effects and so many best things.

5. Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo is the most affordable and effective choice in terms of RAW photo editor for you.

The Ai technology allows you to do complicated edits without the need to be a geek, or spend loads and loads of time on the boring bits of post production.

6. ACDSee Ultimate

ACDSee Ultimate offers many powerful photo organizing and editing tools, but its interface can get overwhelming and importing is slow.

7. RawTherapee

RawTherapee is a free, cross-platform raw image processing program.

With its user-friendly interface and numerous features, it is a popular choice among photographers.

8. Darktable

Darktable is a free and cross-platform alternative to Lightroom. I offers non-destructive editing, RAW processing, and a variety of tools for image enhancement.

The interface isn’t as intuitive as Lightroom, ant it seems not as fast as Lightroom at editing quickly a bunch of photos .

How to choose the best RAW Photo editor?

Editing RAW images will vary greatly depending on the software you choose to use.

To make sure you choose the right RAW photo editor for your needs, budget, and resources, consider the following features:

Camera compatibility

Make sure you choose software that supports your camera and lenses and provides custom manufacturer profiles.

Camera compatibility is important for achieving accurate colors, maintaining fidelity in the details, and having access to customized tools.

Hardware/OS Compatibility

Before settling on what photo editing software you should use, it’s vital to consider its compatibility with your operating system, graphics card, and processor.

RAW Processing performance

All RAW processing editors are NOT the same, so you should pay attention to its RAW processing capabilities, whether the RAW processor is good enough and how well it handles RAW images.

Photography Editing Style

Each photographer has a unique artistic style and needs different editing functionalities.

There are photo editors dedicated to portrait photography, fine art photography, landscape and nature photography, or something else.


A good workflow needs an easy-to-use interface and speedy performance.

If you edit images from different places and devices, you might need cloud storage that can keep your pictures synchronized.

Presets and filters

A rich library of presets and filters can save you time and energy. You don’t have to recreate the same style over and over again.

Make sure that you choose a photo editor that includes a wide variety of presets and allows you to fine-tune them and save your own for later use.

Digital asset management

Photographers work with large sets of pictures. Besides batch processing, photo editor requires a good image management system, sharing capabilities, and efficient search tools.

If you don’t want to use separate software for organizing your images, choose professional photo editing software that provides this functionality. Make sure it allows you to label, rate, sort, share and search images.


Most professional photo editors offer a free trial version.

A perpetual license is a one-time purchase that gives you the right to use a software forever.

With a subscription license, the customer pays monthly or yearly, and the vendor commits to delivering updates over time.

If you’re just starting out, a free program may be a much better choice than a more advanced one, even if, technically, it’s not as good.


Your RAW editing software should be able to preserve the quality of the photo, have a user-friendly interface, and fast processing speed.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional, these are 8 of the best photo editing programs out there for handling RAW files.

With Adobe Lightroom being convenient to most photographers, Capture One Pro and Luminar Neo bring in great technology to keep your workflow diverse.

RawTherapee and DarkTable are two of the best free options and are very feature rich.

Find one with the features that are most important to you and have fun!

If one application alone is unlikely to meet your needs, You can use more apps simultaneously.

Related Posts: Drawing Tablets for PhotoshopBest Graphic Design Laptops.


What are the differences between JPEG and RAW file formats?

RAW files are lossless and bigger, because they preserves the full data from your camera sensor, providing more flexibility for post-processing.

In comparison, A JPEG image is essentially all that data compressed down into a smaller file size that’s easier to share.

What are some unique features in raw photo editors?

Raw editors often offer advanced features like non-destructive editing, which allows you to adjust images without altering the original data.

They also provide precise control over highlights and shadows, exposure, noise reduction, and lens correction.

What are some free Free apps for editing RAW photos?

There are 2 free and open source programs, RawTherapee and DarkTable that benefit photographers interested in investing in learning how to use them.

It’s a shame people do not realize how great these programs are but simply see they are free and assume they are not worth anything.

What is the difference between raw editing and regular photo editing software?

Regular photo editing software typically works with compressed image formats like JPEG, PNG, TIFF, etc.

If you need to carry out detailed retouching and repair work, a Regular photo editing software like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or Gimp is likely to be your first stop.

Raw editors, on the other hand, work with unprocessed data from your camera, offering greater control over exposure, color balance, and detail.

Do I need a pen tablet for RAW photo editing in Lightroom?

There is much more control over the brush as pen tablets are pressure sensitive, so the harder you press the more effect you have.

Pen tablets for editing photos are better if your doing a lot of masking, dodging, burning, touch-up and such in photoshop, and need to trace more complex shapes that are hard to do with a mouse.

As for RAW photo editing in lightroom and alike, The sliders are done better with a mouse, for speed the mouse wheel or manually imputing numbers can be faster.

If you do want to be faster memorising hotkeys & setting custom defaults help as well as a dual display setup.

Additionally, If you have created a graduated filter in Lightroom, but need to erase portions, then the precision of a pen is invaluable.


カテゴリー: apps review | 投稿者malaga 11:48 | コメントをどうぞ


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