Sunday, March 09, 2014

K-3 and Mac/iPad RAW Support

I received an email from a reader of this Blog and you may find the information he shared and the trick provided useful, as a K-3 user:

You may be aware that K-3 RAW images (both PEF and DNG) are not readable by Apple’s software such as iPhoto and Aperture, neither on the iPad with the Camera Connection Kit. There was no problem with my K-20D and K-5 before, but this time Apple and Ricoh seem to be out of touch, there is no fix in sight.

Now, I’ve done some research and found that it all comes down to a single byte: The DNG files have a “minimum version” field that tells the software that it needs to support this version in order to understand the data in the file. In K3’s DNGs this version is set to 2 while all previous Pentax DSLRs did put a 1 in there. And, alas, Apple’s software can’t deal with that.

Now, here’s the funny part: I wrote a little tool that changes this version field from 2 to 1. And with that, Apple’s software and the iPad can suddenly read and show those DNGs!

Now, it may still be that the DNGs contain some new information that Apple’s software can’t decypher, but I cannot see that the images suffer from it. Maybe it’s just some meta data that’s getting lost in this transition, but I could care less. All I care about is getting the raw data image out of it and that works just fine with that little fix.

I’ve made this tool and information available on pentaxforums.org, but didn’t get much response yet (http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/120-general-technical-troubleshooting/252732-k-3-mac-ipad-users-help-me-test-fix-raw-files.html). I’d like to get some more opinions on this, and see if others find any issues with this method. If not, I’d like to see if we can’t get Ricoh to issue a firmware update that changes this version number to solve this damm issue with Apple product.

Note: While there’s currently an “official” work-around, i.e. using Adobe’s DNG converter, this is not a solution on the iPad, as it can’t run this software. That’s why I like to get this solved properly, as I rather carry my lighter iPad than a Macbook around to review my images when I’m on the road.

Thomas

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