John Roshka Photographer

PerfectRAW – My Favourite RAW Converter

Posted in Photography, Software, Tutorials by John Roshka on October 21, 2008

I always try to get the most from my photos which means as much info as I can. This would consider shooting RAW and using it’s features. For this, one needs a very good RAW Converter – the software that reads the real, true and full image information from the RAW file.


During my attempts of using different commercial software and reading tons of tutorials, I realised that actually it is not me who deals with those genuine pixels from my RAW file but the software I was using.


One day (can’t remember how, honestly :)) I came across DCRAW, a small open source .exe file that can be used with the command line for decoding RAW files.

This is what Guillermo Luijk has to say about DCRAW: “My personal opinion is that I love DCRAW as a RAW development tool not only for experimenting but in a regular workflow. The key is to do in Photoshop all those extra features that other RAW developers can do apart from pure development, and consider DCRAW as a tool that provides a rough image without any kind of processing applied on it, just a high quality development under absolute control. ”


I started to use it and was using it all the time until one day when I decided to check the link for PerfectRAW from the last paragraph of Guillermo’s tutorial about DCRAW.

PerfectRAW Development Forum:

I downloaded the initial testing versions of PerfectRAW and started to use them. I was fascinating about the reality of the moment and information it was bringing to my images (will upload some test images and screenshots soon).

Using PerfectRAW:

1. Download DCRAW.exe file from:  by clicking on the respective specifications of the OS you are using. In my example I’m using Windows so I downloaded the  “dcraw: Windows build updated v.8.88 release “. Save the dcraw.exe file to C:\WINDOWS\

Update: No need to dcraw.exe. It is compiled into the dcraw.dll library from PerfectRAW folder.

2. Download PerfectRAW from:  by clicking on the “Permanent Link to the latest version ( o.5 alpha2 IN)”.

3. Unzipp it and save the forder to your Program Files folder, in my case: C:\Program Files\

4. Open the folder, it must contain 10 files and copy the Victor font file to C:\WINDOWS\Fonts\

5. From the same folder copy the 2 color profile to C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color\

6. From the same folder open the config file by right click and chosing edit. Initially the config file is looking like this:

<xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″>
      <OutputProfile>c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\color\sRGB Color Space Profile.icm</OutputProfile>

You must rewrite to this:

<xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″>

Do you notice the difference ? You must just to delete this: “Color Space Profile” and this: “2express” because the names of the color profiles you copied are not “sRGB Color Space” and “Spyder2express”, but are: “sRGB” and “Spyder”.

7. From the same folder with 10 components double click on the PerfectRAW exe file. If you did everything correctly you’ll see the program starting.

Requirements: .NET Framework # , OS, RAW Images and nice mood. 🙂

In my further posts I’ll concentrate on examples, updates and using PerfectRAW.



6 Responses

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  1. Manuel Llorens said, on November 5, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    You do not need to download dcraw.exe in order to use perfectRAW. We are compiling our own version into dcraw.dll, which comes with perfectRAW download and should be in the same directory as perfectRAW.exe.

    You can use perfectRAW from your USB drive, and carry it with you, there is no need for installation (well, you have to copy the font file inside Windows’ fonts folder and edit config.xml).

    Thanks a lot for the work you are doing promoting perfectRAW!


  2. mikoyan said, on January 3, 2009 at 4:15 AM

    Hello !

    I get multiple problems with the config.xml of perfectraw.

    Here it is :


    charte_c_p_linear.icm is the color profile of my K10D, wich is linear (gamma=1.0). I hase use it with dcraw without problem.

    moniteur_27.12.icm is the color profile of my monitor

    At first, the image is displayed is very bright, there is somewhere a “double” profiling, no ? the output image is not too bright, so i think it is just a problem with the display.

    And the output image (tiff 16 bits) has always the sRGB color profile embedded !? there is still a conversion to sRGB ? The colors of the output image are a bit less saturated than the one i build with dcraw…

    i get no error during the developping stages.

    it is perhaps obvious, but i don’t see my mistake(s)…

    Any help will be very appreciated !!

    Happy new year 😉

  3. John Roshka said, on January 3, 2009 at 10:55 PM

    Thank you for showing interest in PerfectRAw and visiting my blog.

    This is what I found on PerfectRAW blog concerning color management. This was referring to PerfectRAW 0.5. I suggest you to download PerfectRAW 0.65 from

    Also, you can register and be a member of PerfectRAW community.

    “All you need is to specify the color profile and gamma in which we exit depends on our needs and in some cases perhaps the content of the image. The trouble is how I called the profiles. Xml, but I will change it so that no more trouble. The thing is this:

    INPUT PROFILE: Profile of input color (if it is embedded in the picture or if we have it in separate file, I always will be a RAW gamma 1.0) (this will not be in the 1.0 version of the program means that when there a profile of entry and the input image is 1.0 gamma, it is quite crude RAW).

    OUTPUT PROFILE: Color Space and gamma output output. In which the TIFF when it is stored. On screen, with the ICC management will show off the image with the gamma and color profile, so if we specify an output range of 1.0 and ICC will not activate a dark image. This is now called (in the . xml) profile and gamma input, hence the mess. I refer to the entry into the ICC process of conversion, not RAW entrance, hence the mess that I have mounted. I insist that the change in the next to go. At the moment must be all sRGB. In the near future in the configure. Xml not the color space output but the association of profiles color spaces between supporting dcraw. I do not know if they understand.

    DISPLAY PROFILE: Profile of gamma and color monitor. When the ICC is active management can use these values to be an image on the screen regardless of the color space and gamma output. This is now called (in. Xml) color profile and gamma exit. Profile and should be called gamma monitor.
    Always keep the JPEGs with color profile sRGB and gamma independientemete all previous settings. Now take the same exit, but not embedded.”

    Yes, the output of TIFF 16 is sRGB. The next version will have a fully functional color management.

    Also, be attentive how you write the path of your color profiles, so that the exact place and name is specified.

    Waiting for your reply.


  4. mikoyan said, on February 15, 2009 at 6:52 PM


    thank you for reply, i will investigate.

    ” Yes, the output of TIFF 16 is sRGB. The next version will have a fully functional color management. ”

    OK 🙂

    Bon courage !

  5. Ivan de Almeida said, on May 26, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    That’s a very good, maybe the best RAW converter. But sometimes I use others, like RAWTherapee, because it give a fast general result.

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