Working with a Single Image

In single image display mode, FastRawViewer displays the image in the main window, while the auxiliary data (EXIF, histogram, exposure statistics, XMP-data) are displayed in additional panels:

Right-click context menu

Right-click within main window area will show context menu similar to that in the grid mode/Filmstrip panel:

This menu is always for current (single) file even if current file is within selected group.

Embedded and External JPEG

For every file, there can be up to three “representations”:

  • RAW file.
  • Embedded JPEG preview (Internal JPEG).
  • External JPEG file with the same name (if the setting Preferences – RAW+JPEG – Handle RAW+JPEG together is on).

The existence of representation is displayed in the status (lower) bar of the program, between the file dimensions in pixels and the EXIF data:

  • R I – denotes the existence of RAW and Internal JPEG.
  • R I E – RAW, Internal JPEG, External JPEG.
  • J – only JPEG, without a RAW-file.

A capital letter indicates that the representation is available for viewing. Lowercase means that it exists, but is unavailable for viewing for one of the following reasons:

  • i – the internal JPEG is not shown. This is a default setting for when there is an internal JPEG file and the RAW+JPEG mode is on (can be changed in settings: Preferences – RAW+JPEG – Do not show internal JPEG if external JPEG is present).
  • r – RAW representation is not shown. This happens for unsupported RAW formats (Sigma Foveon) or for too large RAW files (limits can be changed in Preferences – Performance – RAW file size limit).
  • File representation is damaged (errors while decoding of JPEG or RAW data).

To switch between representation use Menu – View – Switch RAW/intJPEG/extJPEG or press the J key on the keyboard. The representation that is currently displayed is denoted with letter indicator going white.

Tuning the behavior of the program in regards to the display of embedded/external JPEG files is done through Preferences – RAW+JPEG.

  • Handle RAW+JPEG together – turns on the pairing of the RAW file and JPEG of the same name. If you turn off this setting, the pairing won’t happen – the files will be shown separately and treated as separate.
    • Do not show internal JPEG if external JPEG is present – disables decoding and displaying of an embedded JPEG when there is an external one.
    • Do not show external JPEGs – disables the decoding and displaying of external JPEGs (still, both RAW and JPEG files will be relocated with a move operation).
  • Ignore internal JPEGs – disables any processing of embedded JPEGs in all Handle RAW+JPEG modes.
  • Default image to Display (same as Previous/RAW/internal JPEG/external JPEG) – controls what representation will be used for display when opening the next file.

Zooming and Panning

To change the zoom level of the displayed image, you can use the following commands available through Menu - View and also through the keyboard shortcuts:

  • Menu – View – Zoom In or Ctrl-+ – magnifies the image on the display.
  • Menu – View – Zoom Out or Ctrl—(Ctrl-Minus) – zooms out.
  • Menu – View – Fit to Window or Ctrl-0 – changes the zoom factor in such a manner that the image fits into the current size of the window (and when changing the size of the window, the magnification factor will follow).
  • Menu – View – Actual Pixels (100%) or Ctrl-1 – set the image scale to “100%” (each image pixel is displayed as one monitor pixel).
  • Menu – View – Toggle Zoom or Z – toggles zoom level between the setting in Preferences and the current zoom level. In more detail,
    • If the current Zoom level is less than the value of the “Toggle Zoom” Zoom to setting (this value is 100% by default), then the current zoom/magnification value will be stored and the image will be magnified/zoomed up to this value (again, to 100% for the defaults).
    • If the current magnification/zoom value is greater or equal than the value of the “Toggle Zoom” Zoom to setting, then
      • If there is a stored zoom value from a previous use of Toggle Zoom, the zoom level returns to that stored value.
      • If there is no stored value yet, it switches to the Fit to Screen mode.

If the image does not completely fit into the window:

  • Pressing and holding the left mouse button turns on the Drag mode: the image moves with the mouse cursor.
  • Pressing and holding the right mouse button turns on the fast panning mode: the program window becomes ‘Navigation Pane’, moving the mouse, for instance, to the top-right corner of the window will show you the top-right region of the image.

Furthermore, the fast combined “Zoom + Panning” modes are available as well:

  • Left mouse button + Shift – turns on temporary zoom and Drag mode.
  • Right mouse button + Shift – turns on temporary zoom and panning mode.

The zoom factor for these modes is set in the Preferences-Zoom section:

  • Interface – ‘Zoom and Drag’ zoom to.
  • Interface – ‘Zoom and Pan’ zoom to.
  • Interface – ‘Toggle Zoom’ zoom to.

Changing Image Orientation

When you open the image, its orientation is calculated from the XMP file (if it exists), or from the EXIF data and the image is rotated accordingly.

  • Menu – Adjust – Rotate 900 CCW (or Ctrl-7) – turns the image 90 degrees counter-clockwise.
  • Menu – Adjust – Rotate 900 CW (or Ctrl-9) – turns the image 90 degrees clockwise.

The orientation changes are recorded in an XMP-file.

Sharpening for Display

While being processed in a RAW converter, RAW images generally have had some sort of sharpening algorithm applied to them (this is true for both out-of-camera JPEGS and offline RAW conversion).

In FastRawViewer, the sharpening is applied only for display. You can switch between two levels of sharpening and also set sharpening to “off.” The settings are available through Menu – View – Screen sharpening (the default shortcut is S) and also through the USM button located on the bottom bar of FastRawViewer.

The following image has sharpening applied to the right side, while the left side doesn’t:

To fine-tune the amount and mode of sharpening, you can use Preferences – Image Display – On-screen sharpening. We will cover this in more detail in the “Program Settings” section below.

This is also the place where you can switch off the sharpening for JPEG representation, turning on the Sharpen RAW files only setting.

Viewing File Channels, Viewing in Black and White Mode

FastRawViewer allows per-channel view of the RAW file and also conversion to black and white:

  • Menu – View – R channel (Ctrl-3) Red channel is displayed.
  • Menu – View – G channel (Ctrl-4) Green channel is displayed.
  • Menu – View – B channel (Ctrl-5) Blue channel is displayed.

These modes work with internal RGB image (after demosaicking, exposure adjustment, white balance setting).

In these modes, the RAW and JPEG histograms are shown only for the displayed channel. If the RAW file is not RGB, then the histogram will be for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd channels respectively.

  • Menu – View – RGB full color (Ctrl-2) – back to RGB display mode.
  • Menu – View – BW-conversion full color (Ctrl-6) – will show the black and white variant” of the image (conversion from RGB is performed using the brightness channel formula, same as the one used while coding JPEG).

Boosting the Shadows

The Boost Shadows mode is intended to assess the quality of the shadows in the RAW: it opens up the shadows at the expense of companding the highlights:

For the image above: on the left part the shadow boost mode is on, on the right, it is off. When the mode is on the indicating S in the EDS group on the bottom bar turns bright white.

You can turn the boost on/off through Menu - View – Boost Shadows (or by pressing Shift-S on the keyboard).

Setting the amount of boost: Preferences – Image Display – Boost Shadows Amount controls the additional gamma adjustment, the range is 0.2 to 2.0.

Inspection of Highlights

Highlight Inspection mode (Menu – View – Highlights inspection or Shift-H) does the “opposite” of the Shadow Boost mode:

  • The brightness of the shadows and midtones is decreased, and as a result the image looks darker.
  • The contrast in the highlights is increased.
  • Additionally, you can “cancel” the white balance, by setting it to “UniWB” in the Highlights inspection settings.

As a result, you can evaluate the details in the highlights (left – Highlight inspection mode on, right – default view mode; as we can see, the highlights contain plenty of details):



Adjusting the Image Contrast

FastRawViewer allows one to apply “standard” tone curves (sRGB, Gamma 1.8 и 2.2, L*), but also offers the Variable Contrast mode for tone curves. To switch between those two types, you can use Preferences – Image Display – Contrast Curve Type.

In Variable Contrast mode, the image contrast can be adjusted in “grades”:

  • -5 to +5 for “normal contrast”.
  • U+0 to U+5 for “ultra contrast” (useful, for example, for underwater photography).

Normal contrast curves correspond to the contrast setting in Adobe RAW converters, process version 2012, from -100 to +100 (with a step of 20); that is, +2 corresponds to 40 on the Adobe scale, while -3 corresponds to -60.

Ultra contrast corresponds approximately2 to Adobe Contrast +100 with the Blacks slider from 0 to -100.

To increase contrast, you can use Menu – Adjust – Increase Contrast (or press K on the keyboard),

to decrease contrast Menu – Adjust – Decrease Contrast (or Shift-K).

By default, the contrast settings are recorded to an XMP file only in FastRawViewer format. To record it in the format that is acknowledged by Adobe converters, turn on Preferences – XMP – Write Adobe-compatible Contrast/Blacks into XMP file.

Using Monitor Profile For Display

FastRawViewer supports Color Management when showing RAW and JPEG files, however this mode is turned off in the Windows version by default for the following reasons:

  • The majority of modern monitors are sRGB (or close to it) and using sRGB as a workspace when displaying RAW gives very acceptable results.
  • Furthermore, in many cases supplied monitor profiles are inadequate, and they have a negative impact on the image appearance.
  • Moreover, a noticeable number of users have optimized their video settings for computer games, manually turning on the anisotropic filtration of textures. This mode is incompatible with the Color Management function of FastRawViewer.

Color Management can be turned on through Preferences – Color Management – Enable Color management. Further color management settings are described in the “Settings – Color Management” section below. If the system profile of the monitor is set up properly, then further tuning of settings will, most likely, not be needed.

Support for Cameras Modified to Black and White

FastRawViewer supports black and white cameras that are made from color cameras by removing the color filter array (CFA) from the sensor.

This mode is turned on through Preferences – Image Display – Force Black-White mode for Bayer images.

In this mode:

  • Demosaicking (de-Bayerization) is skipped.
  • Per-channel viewing is turned off.
  • White balance preferences are turned off.
  • RAW histogram and exposure statistics are for one channel.
  • The image is black and white:

This mode is not applicable to JPEG images; they stay colored.


2 Adobe programs clip the shadows below the setting for “blacks,” in FastRawViewer we use a curve with a very gentle slope.