For those (probably few) of you using Windows machines, Microsoft recently put up a downloadable extension that lets you view several types of RAW files (mostly Canon and Nikon) the way you can view jpeg files in Windows Explorer and Picture Viewer.
Here's some of the info from the download page:
After installing the Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer Powertoy for Windows XP you will be able to view, organize, and print photos captured in RAW image formats from supported Canon and Nikon digital cameras.
This software offers the following benefits to digital photographers:
The RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer consists of two components: a lightweight "shell extension" for Windows XP that provides high quality thumbnails in Windows Explorer, and a RAW Image Viewer application with an interface similar to the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
- High image quality. This software uses the camera vendors' own processing libraries to provide the highest possible image fidelity for RAW images.
- Superior color fidelity. Windows Image Color Management (ICM) is used to render images in the correct color space as determined by the photographer when the image was captured.
- Familiar user experience. This software builds on the familiar Windows user experience and requires little or no learning curve.
- Performance tuned for rapid previews. The software uses background processing and other techniques to ensure a good preview experience even for large images.