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Apple supports new high-end compact cameras

Aperture and iPhoto now can handle raw photos from new cameras from Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and Pentax that are compact but have interchangeable lenses.

Apple now supports raw files from Olympus' E-PL1 camera.
Apple now supports raw files from Olympus' E-PL1 camera.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple recently issued software that lets iPhoto and Aperture handle raw photos from a range of new compact, higher-end cameras from several manufacturers.

Camera makers are racing to compete in a new market pioneered by Micro Four Thirds models from Olympus and Panasonic that feature small camera bodies but also interchangeable lenses. The Apple update adds support for Olympus' newer E-PL1 model and Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G10 and G2 models in this range.

Others are getting into the market too, and Apple supports them as well: Samsung's NX10 and Sony's NEX-5 and NEX-3. Each of these ranges has its own incompatible lens mount compared with the Micro Four Thirds models.

Also supported in the update is Sony's recently released lower-end Alpha A390 SLR, a more traditional design.

Apple now supports raw images from a host of new smaller cameras.
Apple now supports raw images from a host of new smaller cameras. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Raw photos, taken directly from camera image sensors without in-camera processing, offer greater flexibility and quality than JPEGs. But they require labor on the customer's part to convert into more convenient formats for posting online, sharing with friends, and easy viewing on a variety of computers. And software companies must work to stay on top of the unending parade of proprietary raw formats that arrive with new camera models.

One nice aspect of shooting raw: newer software can often wring more quality out of older files, for example offering better color or lower noise than were available at the time a person took the picture.

Check Apple's site for the full list of Apple-supported raw formats.

Correction, 3:05 p.m. PDT: This story originally misstated the date of the software's release. It was released August 2.