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I'm currently using Affinity Photo on a trial basis for my Windows 10 desktop, and it looks like a fascinating photo developer. But I've run into a problem using it, and I wonder if there's something I can change on my computer to account for it. 

Whenever I open a photo folder on my desktop, I can see some images while many others only display the icon of the program that's chosen to open them. Using Bridge in Photoshop I don't have a problem, as Bridge shows every photo, and of course it doesn't matter if it's RAW or developed. But Affinity doesn't have a Bridge program, so when it shows photos in a folder, it can only show what I see by accessing the folder directly. The result is that I most often don't know what photo I'm opening, and have to guess.

Have I got my computer somehow set up wrong, or is there something I can do in Affinity that will give me the same functionality as Bridge? Thanks for all help.

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What type of image files aren't showing thumbnails? If it’s just raw files such as Canon CR2, Nikon NEF, etc. from a recent camera then that should change soon.

Affinity software uses Windows File Explorer, so what you see when you open or save a file is the same as Windows File Explorer. Where the issue lies is that each camera model needs it’s own codec to display raw thumbnails.

Up until around mid 2016, camera codecs were added to Windows 10 automatically by Microsoft via the Windows Update channel, which meant Windows File Explorer (and the Windows Photos app) would display most raw files and file metadata natively without the user needing to do anything.

However, Microsoft stopped updating the codecs around mid 2016 (I think Windows 10 1607 was the last version that contained the latest camera codecs). Therefore, Windows File Explorer on Windows 10 machines will natively display raw file thumbnails for cameras announced up to 2016 Quarter 2 (I.E. Nikon D5, Canon 80D), but it won't display for cameras announced 2016 Quarter 3 onwards (I.E. Nikon D3400, Canon 5D Mark IV).

Some camera manufacturers such as Nikon provide a codec that users can download and install from their website, which allows them to see thumbnails in Windows File Explorer, but other companies such as Canon don’t—which meant users would have to install third-party codecs in order to see them.

This should be changing from the Windows 10 1903 update (which will probably start rolling out to the general public in around 2-3 weeks), as camera raw codecs for Windows File Explorer and the Windows Photos app are going to be updated via a Microsoft extension in the Microsoft Store. At this point, I’m not sure whether the ‘Raw Image Extension’ (currently in beta) is going to be automatically installed on people’s machines like HEIF, Webp, VP9 extensions are, or whether users will need to actively go to the Microsoft Store and click the install button, but I would hope the former. I don’t think Canon .CR3 raw files (Canon M50 onwards) will be supported initially and will likely come in an update to the extension later on.

Looking further ahead, Serif have mentioned that they’re possibly looking to add a Digital Asset Manager to their software range—which could potentially have Bridge-like features—but that’s not something I know much about.

You can also find a list of cameras currently supported by the SerifLabs raw engine here:
Affinity Photo 1.6 (current retail version)
Affinity Photo 1.7 (current beta version)

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