Our friend Michael Tapes (he of the WhiBal), along with his colleagues at Imagenomic, have created a neat new free utility called Instant JPEG from RAW (IJFR). IJFR is not an application; it's a utility that attaches itself to the Win or Mac OS. It also doesn't process or develop RAW files; it merely extracts the JPEG that's already in all your RAWs. Its functionality isn't unique, but for many people it will be handy. Take a look at how it works:
What does it mean for you? No more shooting "RAW + JPEG" with most cameras, for one thing—no need. No more waiting for your converter to create JPEGs from large directories of RAWs—it's actually instant unless you're also resizing for the web, in which case it's just very fast. And no more waiting for frame-by-frame rendering when you zoom in. And, really, no more reason to shoot JPEG at all—the JPEG is there in the RAW file anyway, so when you shoot RAW you already have both.
Michael's guest post on Scott's blog (includes a brief history of RAW converters)
Mike (Thanks to David E. and Michael T.)
Featured Comment by Eamon Hickey: "The noodge in me can't resist a historical nitpick re: Michael T.'s history of RAW converters, and, since there are 103 comments under his post on Scott Kelby's site, I'll be a noodge here: Although for many, many regular folks, the history of DSLRs and associated software seems to begin with the Canon D30 in 2000, there were, in fact, many news photographers working with Kodak DSLRs going back to the early 1990s. They shot RAW (the only option on early Kodaks), and the pioneering RAW browsing/management application (not primarily a converter) was Photo Mechanic, which really did invent a lot of the paradigms we take for granted now in photo browsing applications. Its author, Dennis Walker, was even given a prestigious award by the National Press Photographers Association for his pioneering work. I wrote a couple of paragraphs about him in an article on the early history of DSLRs, if anyone's interested (Walker is on pg. 3)."
Michael Tapes responds: "Eamon, thanks for setting history straight. I did not mean to slight anyone, and clearly I did not join the raw club until the D30 era, and the club was formed long before that. Thanks for your post and giving credit where credit is due. Appreciated."