I have been taking a lot of photos in 8K resolution lately that I need for a project and so far all the pictures I have taken occupy about 50GB space on my PC.

The format of these photos is RAW so it's not actually a tremendous amount of photos, but using Windows Explorer to find specific pictures with the horrendous thumbnail system eating up all the I/O speed and locking my PC basically is just aggrevating and frustrating when I have a deadline for this project.

  • 3
    What do you mean by 8k photos? 8k usually refers to a video standard and the corresponding stills would be very large (7680×4320 pixels). Among full frame digital cameras there are very few that can that resolution (the Canon 5Ds(r) and the Sony a7r2 are the only ones I can think of). What camera are you using and what codec have you installed on your computer to render the previews?
    – Hugo
    Oct 12, 2015 at 20:44
  • Also, I'm wondering if its the system - how much ram, and what sort of storage do you have? Oct 13, 2015 at 5:17
  • @JDługosz I can't see that the file size has been stated anywhere. Where do you get the 60 megapixels from? Also without knowing the aspect ration we can't really tell anything useful about the long edge except that it has to be at least the square root of the megapixel count (given rectangular sensor).
    – Hugo
    Oct 13, 2015 at 15:12
  • Sorry, I misread the "50" as being per-photo, and my 20 and 25 megapixel raw files are 20 to 25 megabytes.
    – JDługosz
    Oct 13, 2015 at 15:17

4 Answers 4


Faststone image viewer is fantastic and free. I use it to quickly view all of my Canon 5D raw and other images, including 8K or greater resolution. It is also one of the fastest image/thumbnail viewers available for Windows.


thumbnail viewer

It is a very fast image viewer with adjustable settings to trade off speed versus image quality. It also has 2 different thumbnail viewer modes. I like that you can even adjust the thumbnail size and characteristics to your preference. You can set your default image editor (e.g. Photoshop) and whenever you view and image you can simply press the 'e' key to open the current image in Photoshop. Handling 8K images and raw images is no problem. It supports dual monitor setup for special preview or slideshow. You can even tailor the raw image viewer conversion to maximize quality vs speed. The viewer has intuitive tools for zooming, panning and even some basic quick image editing. I also love that the viewer is very customizable to your own preferences and hotkeys.

image viewer

While viewing and image:

  • Move your mouse to the top of the screen to see quick thumbnails of all images in the same folder.
  • Move your mouse to the right of the screen to see complete image properties and details including EXIF data and you can even edit the image's embedded comment.
  • Move your mouse to the left of the screen to see all of the quick image edit features like (resize, crop, rotate, clone/heal, redeye removal, color adjust, noise reduction, effects, etc)

It supports the following image formats:

  • jpg,jpe,jpeg
  • bmp
  • gif
  • tif/tiff
  • png
  • pcx
  • wmf
  • tga
  • psd
  • crw (Canon)
  • cr2 (Canon)
  • nef (Nikon)
  • orf (olympus)
  • raf (fuji)
  • dng
  • mrw (minolta)
  • pef (pentax)
  • srf (sony)
  • arw (sony)
  • rw2 (panasonic)

I would suggest using ImageMagick to generate an index page for each directory with a command line, (probably better put into a batch file or script), such as:

montage -label '%t\n%[width]x%[height]' \
          -size 512x512 "../img_photos/*.*[120x90]" -auto-orient \
          -geometry +5+5 -tile 5x  -frame 5  -shadow  photo_index.html

Then you would get results such as this web page which looks like, example from the site: Image Map Example

ImageMagick is:

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform
  • Supports over 200 file formats, (depending on your platform & installed libraries), including:
    • ARW - Sony Raw
    • CR2 - Cannon Raw
    • CRW - Cannon Raw
    • DCR - Kodak Raw
    • MRW - Sony (Minolta) Raw
    • NEF - Nikon Raw
    • ORF - Olympus Raw
    • RAF - Fuji CCD-RAW
    • RW2 - Panasonic Lumix Raw Image
    • SR2 - Sony Raw 2
    • SRF - Sony Raw
    • X3F - Sigma
  • Numerous other batch processing operations.

It does take a few minutes and you may need to tweak the command &/or the resulting html map but it only needs to be done once per directory and effectively gives you a "Contact Sheet" of that directory.


The resolution isn't the issue. The large files sizes aren't really the issue either. The issue is whether the viewer you are using is converting the raw data before displaying a preview image or using an embedded thumbnail image to display a preview.

Try IrfanView. It is free, fast, and doesn't eat up very many system resources. (To open and display raw files you will need to install the main program and the plugin. Click on the "plugin" link on the main page and follow the instructions for your particular camera's raw format under the Plugins updated after the version 4.0.)


Try Thumbs Plus. I never use Windows explorer for viewing thumbnails and have used this program for many years.

It scans the files and saves thumbnails in its own database, so browsing is instantaneous after it does the initial scan.

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