What is a raw file?

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A raw file is a digital image captured by a camera that has not been processed or altered in any way. The raw file contains all of the original information captured by the camera’s sensor, giving the photographer more flexibility in post-processing and editing. Raw files require specialized software to open and edit and often take up more storage space than other image file types.

Many professional photographers prefer to shoot in raw format because it allows them to fine-tune details and colors in post-production, producing the highest quality final image possible. However, for casual photographers or those looking for a quicker editing process, shooting in a standard JPEG format may be more practical. Ultimately

Examples of raw file formats: CR2, ARW, RAW, DNG, ORF, SR2, MRW, CRW, MDC, R3D, SRF.

When to use

A raw file is the best way to capture digital images if you want to archive them or edit them later. Unlike a JPEG file, which is already compressed and ready to be used, a raw file contains all of the data that was captured by the camera’s sensor, giving you complete control over how the image looks. This is especially important if you’re shooting in low light or trying to capture subtle details. However, raw files are much larger than JPEGs, so they take up more space on your memory card and can be more difficult to work with. As a result, it’s important to only use raw files when you need the extra flexibility that they offer.

When to avoid

Raw files are great for getting the most out of your photos, but there are some situations where you might want to avoid them. First, if you’re planning on printing your photos, you’ll probably want to use a raster file such as a JPEG file instead. This is because JPEGs are already in a format that most printers can understand, whereas raw files will need to be converted first. Additionally, if you’re planning on sharing your photos online, jpegs will generally load faster than raw files. Finally, if you’re just starting with photography and don’t have a lot of experience working with raw files, it’s probably best to stick with JPEGs until you get the hang of things. In general, raw files are best for situations where you have the time and patience to process them, but for quick and easy photo sharing, raster files are the way to go.


When you resize a raw image, you are essentially throwing away data that could be used to improve the quality of the image. This is why it is recommended that you only resize raw images if absolutely necessary, as doing so will likely result in a lower-quality final product. So if you need to resize a raw image, be prepared to sacrifice some quality.


Raw files from different cameras are not always compatible with each other. Sometimes, you’ll find that a raw file from one camera works great with a certain software program, but when you try to use a raw file from another camera, the software program doesn’t work as well. This is because each camera manufacturer has its own proprietary raw file format. So, if you’re using a Canon camera, it’s best to use Canon raw files with Canon editing software. The same goes for Nikon, Sony, etc. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some software programs, like Adobe Camera Raw, can read and edit most raw file formats. So, if you’re not sure which raw file format to use, try Adobe Camera Raw first. It just might work with the files from your camera.

File size

Raw image files are typically much larger than raster file formats because they contain all of the data captured by the camera’s sensor. This data includes not only the RGB color information for each pixel, but also details such as exposure, white balance, and sharpness. As a result, raw image files give you greater flexibility when editing your photos. However, this increased versatility comes at a cost: raw image files are often several times larger than raster files, making them more difficult to store and share.

Editing raw files

There’s a reason why professional photographers always shoot in RAW format: it gives them the most control over their final image. RAW files contain all of the data captured by the camera sensor, without any processing or compression applied. This means that you can edit your RAW files to correct problems like exposure, white balance, and noise without affecting the quality of the image. Of course, editing RAW files take a bit more time and effort than simply using a JPEG image, but the results are worth it. If you’re serious about photography, learning to edit RAW files is essential.

Converting and Exporting

When exporting raw images, there are a few things to keep in mind to get the best results. First, make sure that the file format is set to a raster file like JPEG or TIFF. Raw image files are extremely large, so exporting them in a format that takes up less space will be helpful. Secondly, consider using lossless compression to maintain image quality while still reducing file size. By following these tips, you can ensure that your raw images are exported correctly and look great no matter where they end up.

One popular method is to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Lightroom is a raw converter that also lets you do basic editing, such as cropping, exposure adjustments, and white balance. It’s a great choice for beginners who want an all-in-one solution.

If you’re more advanced, you may prefer to use a separate raw converter and image editor, such as Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop. This workflow gives you more control over each step of the process, but it’s also more time-consuming.

Whatever method you choose, converting your raw files is an important part of the post-processing process. By taking the time to convert your files properly, you’ll end up with better-quality photos that are ready to share with the world.


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Leon Olagh

Leon Olagh is an experienced photo retoucher and editor. He shares insights and expertise in the field of photography through his blog posts. His work reflects a meticulous approach to the art of creating and refining visual content.

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