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Everything you need to know to convert the ORF to a PDF

by Casey Schmidt  |  January 29, 2020

3 min. read

The ORF is a fantastic file to display perfect representations of a photographer’s vision. However, it’s just not realistic to use extensively across different projects. For this reason, it needs to be converted. Here’s how to convert the ORF to a PDF.

What is an ORF file?

The ORF image file is a camera file that has been downloaded to a computer for digital use. ORF stands for Olympus Raw image File. It is a raw file, meaning it is untouched and unaltered, an exact replica of the original photograph that was taken. It is very large in size and resolution, making it fairly difficult to share. It’s also tough to edit without third-party programs.

What is a PDF document?

The PDF document file is a file type that manages different printed documents efficiently. PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a file that allows users to search and view links within it. PDFs are capable of containing different media types such as audio and video. It’s a professional file format that allows users to send files without fear of the recipient accidentally editing them. It is considered a very secure file format.

PDF letters standing next to a wall.
The PDF document file is a secure file type.

How to convert the ORF to PDF

The ORF, like most camera-based files, doesn’t come with software programs that are equipped to convert it into different file types. Instead, you’ll need to find a third-party tool to make the conversion. There are two methods to consider. The first is by using a browser-based converter. This is ideal for users who have speedy internet access and limited hard drive space. It’s also great for anyone who only wants to convert a few files. I recommend Convertio for this process, as it’s extremely fast and easy-to-use.

If, however, browser-based conversions won’t work for you, there’s also a system-based conversion option. This type of conversion is for users who want to convert many files all at once. It’s also perfect for people who have limited internet access and abundant hard drive space. A system-based converter installs onto your system and then doesn’t require any further internet access to use. For this method, I recommend the program PearlMountain for its ideal interface for beginners.

An olympus camera on a wooden desk.
It’s important to know how to make a file conversion.

Why convert?

As you may know, the ORF is only the initial part of the digitization process. It is like a bridge that connects photographers and their camera files to the digital realm. After crossing the bridge, there’s more work to be done. The ORF is so large in size and resolution that it is difficult to share. This is a negative, as most images in photographer’s collections are meant to be distributed, typically en-masse. Because of this, they need the file sizes to be manageable for their recipients. By converting the ORF to a smaller file type, they’re able to send them much easier. The ORF is also not very accessible or editable. This can be a pain to both the owner of the image files and any recipients. When converted to a different format, users are able to make edits much easier on their images. It should be pointed out that ORF files operate on Olympus Viewer, though this software program has limited capabilities in this regard.

A transforming ball of spikes.
Some changes turn out better than expected.

Now, as to why a conversion to PDF makes sense, the PDF is a highly secure file type that is perfect for sharing – especially in a professional setting. By converting the ORF to a PDF, you’re making the file smaller, more accessible and better-suited to share in a professional environment. For example, if sharing some of your collected photographs with a potential client, it would look better on you to have the file type one that suits the client best.

It’s great to use the ORF when we want to see a digital format of a beautiful image. However, the practicality just doesn’t hold up. In the end, make sure you’re aware of how and why to convert the ORF into a PDF.