During a friendly walk through Northampton this past Sunday I had a conversation with a photographer and colleague of mine. We talked about where we stood on JPEG vs. RAW. Both of us currently shoot in JPEG for specific reasons. However, we agreed that we should be shooting in RAW. Software was definitely an issue for us. I am currently doing all of my post-editing using Adobe Photoshop. With my lap top I can not upload RAW files from my camera. I haven't had the chance to purchase the Nikon software. Capture NX, though it is on my list to purchase. We also discussed how in our work flow adding the conversion process would hinder our ability to work quickly. After reading ShutterBug I found two alternatives to paying out a-lot of money for software to accommodate shooting RAW. Arcosoft's PhotoStudio Darkroom 1.5 and Photoshop Elements. Of course if you are working with Photoshop CS3 you're all set to just up-load and edit your heart out. But, if you're like me then you need an alternative. Arcsoft's new program has a list of features that sound pretty impressive. You have the ability to import or export files from your camera or another form of media. It supports JPEG, TIFF, and RAW files that cameras are capable of shooting. Most major cameras are compatible with this program. Included in this list of features is the ability to adjust levels and curves, white balance, and exposure settings. I think this sounds really straight forward and worth while purchase considering Capture NX is over $200.00, Photoshop is upwards of $600.00 and other programs run in those price ranges. Where as Arcsoft's program will only run you a whopping $100.00. Here is the link to Arcsoft.
On a side note, I strongly recommend using Arcsoft. I use their software for my film scanner and it is a quick, easy, and painless process. They have some great products out.