Important Changes to Camera Bits!

Supported File Formats

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    Photo Mechanic is designed to be able to preview the files produced by cameras from most major camera manufacturers.

    Generally, these are proprietary RAW formats (Canon CR2, Nikon NEF, etc.), or compressed formats like a JPEG. When viewing RAW files, Photo Mechanic displays the JPEG that is embedded in the RAW, as this allows for the fastest browsing experience.  It is also possible to use Adobe DNG Converter to render a preview from the RAW data, though this option is rarely needed and comes with a performance penalty.


    RAW files: When writing metadata to most RAW file types, Photo Mechanic may embed it in the file itself, or write it to an XMP sidecar file, though depending on the kind of RAW files, only one of these options may be possible. By default, metadata is only written to XMP sidecar files for formats other than DNG. Though embedding metadata in supported formats can be enabled in Preferences, we recommend utilizing XMP sidecar files whenever possible.

    Images & Videos: For supported image file types, the metadata will be embedded unless otherwise noted below. For all video formats, the metadata will be written to an XMP sidecar file.

RAW File Formats

Sidecar XMP
ARWSony RAW Format✔️✔️
CR2Canon RAW Format✔️✔️
CR3*Canon RAW Format✔️
DNGAdobe Digital Negative✔️
ERFEpson RAW Format✔️✔️
IIQPhase One RAW Format
MOSLeaf RAW Format
NEFNikon RAW Format✔️✔️
NRWNikon RAW Format✔️✔️
ORFOlympus RAW Format✔️✔️
PEFPentax RAW Format✔️✔️
RAFFuji RAW Format✔️
RAW/RW2Panasonic/Leica RAW✔️✔️
SR2Sony RAW Format✔️
SRFSony RAW Format✔️✔️
STISinar RAW Format✔️✔️
TIFCanon 1D/1Ds RAW TIFF Format✔️
X3FSigma RAW Format✔️

Photo File Formats


BMPWindows Bitmap
EPS-TIFFEncapsulated Postscript with TIFF preview
GIFGraphics Interchange Format✔️
HEICHigh-Efficiency Image Container✔️
HEIF, HIFHigh-Efficiency Image File Format✔️
JPEGJoint Photographic Experts Group✔️
PSDPhotoshop (saved in maximum compatibility mode)✔️
PNGPortable Network Graphics✔️
TIFFTagged Image File Format✔️

Video File Formats**

Sidecar XMP
AVIWindows AVI✔️
MOVQuickTime Movie
MPEGMPEG 2 Movie✔️


Unknown File Types

    Any type of file that does not appear in the lists above will be hidden from your Contact Sheets by default. If you would like your Contact Sheets to show all files in a folder, select the ‘View’ menu and then choose ‘Unknown Files as Proxies’. Unsupported file types will be shown with a placeholder image in the thumbnail area.


  • *Some Canon models will embed an HEIF in CR3 files when shooting in their HDR modes. Photo Mechanic cannot preview these CR3 files at this time. We recommend setting your camera to record an HEIF sidecar file along with the RAW if you would like to be able to use Photo Mechanic to browse these images.
  • **Windows users will need to install GStreamer in order to preview still images for video file formats. Video playback is only available on macOS.

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