What Is an ORF File?

Raw, unprocessed photos from an Olympus camera can be opened with advanced photo viewers, or converted to simpler formats like JPG

What to Know

  • An ORF file is a raw photo (unprocessed) taken by an Olympus camera.
  • Open one with Olympus' software, Photoshop, Able RAWer.
  • Convert from ORF to JPG, PNG, TIFF, etc., with those same programs, or online at Zamzar.

This article explains what an ORF file is and how to open or convert one.

What Is an ORF File?

A file with the ORF file extension is an Olympus raw image that stores unprocessed image data from Olympus digital cameras. They aren't intended to be viewed in this raw form, but instead edited and processed into a more common format like TIFF or JPEG.

Photographers use the ORF file to develop an image through processing software, adjusting things like the exposure, contrast, and white balance. However, if the camera shoots in the "RAW+JPEG" mode, it will make both an ORF file and JPEG version so that it can be easily viewed, printed, etc.

For comparison, an ORF file contains 12, 14, or more bits per pixel per channel of the image, whereas JPEG only has 8.

ORF Files

ORF is also the name of a spam filter for Microsoft Exchange Server, developed by Vamsoft. However, it has nothing to do with this file format and will not open or convert the ORF file.

How to Open an ORF File

Your best bet for opening ORF files is to use Olympus Workspace, a free program from Olympus that's available to owners of their cameras. It works on both Windows and Mac.

You have to enter the device's serial number on the download page before you can get Olympus Workspace. There's an image on that page that shows how to find that number on your camera.

Olympus Master works, too, but was shipped with cameras up until 2009, so it only works with ORF files that were made with those specific cameras (and it's no longer offered on their website). Olympus ib is a similar program that replaced Olympus Master; it works with not only older, but also newer Olympus digital cameras.

Another Olympus software that opens ORF pictures is Olympus Studio, but only for E-1 to E-5 cameras. You can request a copy by emailing Olympus.

ORF files can also be opened without Olympus software, like with Able RAWer, Adobe Photoshop, Corel AfterShot, and probably other popular photo and graphics tools. The default photo viewer in Windows should be able to open ORF files too, but it might require the Microsoft Camera Codec Pack.

Since there are multiple programs that can open ORF files, you might end up having more than one on your computer. If you find that the file opens with a program that you'd rather not use it with, you can easily change the default program that opens ORF files in Windows.

How to Convert an ORF File

Download Olympus Workspace for free if you need to convert the ORF file to JPEG or TIFF.

You can also use the website Zamzar to save the photo to JPG, PNG, TGA, TIFF, BMP, Adobe Illustrator file (AI), and other formats.

You can use Adobe DNG Converter on a Windows or Mac computer to convert ORF to DNG.

Still Can't Open the File?

The first thing you should do if your file isn't opening with the programs mentioned above is to double-check the file extension. Some file formats use a file extension that's very similar to "ORF" but that doesn't mean that they have anything in common or that they can work with the same software programs.

For example, OFR files could easily be confused with ORF pictures, but they're actually audio files that only work with a few audio-related programs like Winamp (with the OptimFROG plugin).

Your file might instead be an ORA file, a WRF file, or even a RadiantOne VDS database schema file with the ORX file extension that opens with software from Radiant Logic.

An ORF report file might sound like it has something to do with the ORF image, but it doesn't. ORF reports end in the PPR file extension and are created by the Vamsoft ORF spam filter.

ERF files are similar; they're image files created by Epson cameras.

In all of these cases and likely many others, the file has nothing to do with ORF images used by Olympus cameras. Check that the file extension truly reads "ORF." Chances are that if you can't open it with one of the image viewers or converters mentioned above, you're not actually dealing with an Olympus raw photo.

  • What are raw image formats?

    Raw image files contain minimally processed data captured from the image sensor of a digital camera or film scanner. Other raw image formats include Canon's CIFF, Fuji's RAF, Nikon's NEF, and Sony's ARW.

  • Can GIMP open ORF files?

    You can't open raw image files in GIMP. To open an ORF file in GIMP, you must first convert to a compatible format like JPG.

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