DSLR users have a hard time finding a good software for RAW file manipulation on Linux because there are just a few options to consider. Practically, besides Rawstudio and UFRaw, the only viable alternatives can be found on Windows and Mac OS operating systems, but users need to pay a considerable amount of money for these kind of features.Installation
Rawstudio can either be downloaded as a source package and installed on virtually any Linux distribution or, if you have a Debian based distribution, right from the PPA.
If you choose the first option, then the installation is quite simple. Execute the following commands in a terminal:
tar xfz rawstudio-x.y.tar.gz
sudo make install
Adding the PPA to your software repositories has the advantage of keeping the installed version up to date. The link and instructions on the PPA can be found on their Lauchpad project website
Rawstudio has a very friendly interface and, even if it's the first time you'll be using this type of software, almost every important option is conveniently placed in the first window, so there is no mucking about, searching for a particular feature.
At first glance there seems to be just a handful of options available, but this is because Rawstudio is deceptively simple and follows the same “rule” of a DSLR camera. The first time you pick one up and start using the device, it doesn't appear to be a notable difference than what you had before, but the more you use it, the more it shows its qualities, as you master the camera.Features
There are simply too many features to just start counting them and explaining in detail what everything does, but we can pinpoint some important ones which make all the difference.
First and foremost, Rawstudio has one major strength, besides its slew of options. It does batch conversion from RAW files and it does the job very fast and reliable. Most users don't realize how important it is to have a batch system that works fast.
If you go on vacation and return with 1000 pictures and they're all in RAW format, processing every single one can be time consuming. For example, if you feel that some of them have been exposed wrong, but you don't want to change the exposure setting on each one, then a quick set-up will do the trick. Voila, you just saved yourself an afternoon of work!
Besides the batch feature, Rawstudio has all the options this kind of software should have, from simple image editing like rotate, crop, flip, mirror and so on, to some serious ones like channel mixer, light denoising and lens correction, just to name a few.
However, there are a few features that stand out. The first one any user will notice is Lens Correction. Here, we are given the possibility to define the lens that was used to take the picture, from a substantial database, allowing us to correct blue and red chromatic aberration and even vignetting.
The second important feature is a very useful histogram that shows not only the white balance, but also red, blue and green components, which gives photographers a much better control if used in concordance with the basic features.
The third feature users will notice is something called Tethered Shooting. Here's how it works: users can connect their camera and control it right from the program, with a single mouse click. In reality the connection doesn't appear to be very stable and works occasionally. We used a Canon 450D and a Canon 400D, which are not the latest from Canon, so the support should be there. Even if it's not working properly, this feature has a lot of potential.The Good
Rawstudio has a huge number of features even if some of them might never be used by the average user. With options like Lens Edit and Tethering, it's hard to find anything wrong with this software.The Bad
It's always easy to find faults with something, especially if you try it. Only two things can be mentioned. Rawstudio is now at version 2.0, but the software has crashed more than once, in different circumstances. The crashes are more frequent when you try to do major changes in options like Tint or Vignetting. However, in the end, you'll realize that these incidents vary and sometimes Rawstudio is quite stable.
Tethered Shooting is a great addition, but there are technical difficulties. I couldn't get it to work properly with two different cameras, on two different machines, so there is a lot of work to be done in this department.Conclusion
We loved Rawstudio, even with its little problems and sudden crashes. It offers a great alternative to the commercial RAW editing software that can be found on other platforms. With a few tweaks and some improvement in stability, Rawstudio could be among the top rated applications in photography.