If you use Windows Vista on your computer, you may be more than ready for the upgrade. Microsoft has been hyping Windows 7 as a better solution for a long time. What follows are some of the latest developments for photographers, along with a brief look at what casual photographers can expect out of Windows 7 for helping organize and edit images.
Nikon has released a statement regarding Windows 7 compatibility, stating:
The D5000 D-SLR and COOLPIX S230 boast the highest level of compatibility available with Windows 7, once again emphasizing Nikon Inc.’s dedication to providing its customers with capable photographic tools and a simple-to-use interface.
“We are excited to continue bringing new innovations and features to our customers, specifically those compatible with the Windows 7 platform,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing and planning, Nikon Inc. “It is exciting to see the new innovations, not only with our line of photographic products, but with seamless compatibility with one of the world’s foremost operating systems.”
Canon is also on top of its game with Windows 7 compatibility, with several cameras and printers fully compatible and ready to make the most out of the new OS. Drivers for Canon products can be found here. A full list of compatible cameras and printers can be found in this PDF, which specifies the level of compatibility.
If you are a casual photographer who enjoyed using Windows Photo Gallery on Vista, you are out of luck when upgrading to Windows 7. Microsoft has opted to remove Windows Photo Gallery from all versions of Windows 7, simply stating that “To view and organize your digital pictures, you will need another photo program from Microsoft or another company.” The same is true for video as well – both Windows Movie Maker and Windows Import Video are conspicuously absent from Windows 7.
It looks like the only image browsing option included with Windows 7 is Windows Photo Viewer, which appears to be a rather stripped-down version of Windows Photo Gallery. Microsoft’s Windows 7 resource pages direct you to tutorials for using Windows Paint to edit photos. Yikes!
Initially, this sounds really bad, right? Well, Microsoft has made Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and several other programs available to download for free as part of a rebranded package called Windows Live Essentials. It’s unfortunate that these key products for casual photographers and family video takers aren’t included with the Windows 7 OS. Hopefully, those who need simple programs like these will find them along the way. I question Microsoft’s judgment for not including them in the first place though. And, I have yet to see a valid excuse for not doing so.
Advanced Editing Software
Ok, so what about serious editing software? You can find out which software editing programs are cleared as compatible here. Expect that list to grow (and hopefully Microsoft will keep it current and, therefore, useful).
Furthermore, Adobe has a technical assistance page for those upgrading to Windows 7. The short version is that Photoshop CS3 and CS4 has been tested with Windows 7; however, it is possible that you may encounter problems with your video card’s GPU, which may affect performance. This is due to driver issues, and you’ll need to contact your video card manufacturer to get updated drivers. Here’s Adobe’s page on upgrading to Windows 7. Also, there’s some pretty cool stuff people are doing with Lightroom and Windows 7.
That’s all I’ve got for now on Windows 7 photography software and camera solutions. If you know of another issue or resource that should be noted, feel free to send in a tip on it and we’ll make others aware.
A reader has confirmed that Photo Mechanic works fine with Windows 7, except for an ingest problem. He also notes that Windows 7 can run Virtual PC with and XP mode, which is a free download from Microsoft and reports that XP Service Pack 3 works great with this setup, and allows you to run an application only in XP mode without starting up the OS in Virtual PC separately. Thanks for the tips Ed.