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Old 06-06-2007, 16:19   #1 (permalink)
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What are RAW files, exactly

this may sound amature but i here everyone talking about RAW files and i have no idea what they are... are they better then jpegs?
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Old 06-06-2007, 16:39   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

They capture the full uncompressed image data (well...), so are better than jpegs in the respect that you get all the tonal range and colour info your camera can handle.
This can leave them looking flat without editing, but once you fiddle, they come out much better in terms of dynamics.
The only bummer is they take up about twice as much space as jpegs....
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Old 06-06-2007, 17:07   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

The other issue is that they cannot be viewed as thumbnails unless you have a RAW viewer, and the workflow is a bit more invloved. Another way of viewing them is to use a RAW converter (that you will need to process them anyway). It acts as a stepping stone between the file in the folder and your editing software, although many editing packages include a RAW converter.

Most people will stick with RAW once they have tried them as they do give a lot more control over your images. There is a link to a free version of RawShooter in our downloads section.

Some cameras will allow you to save RAW + jpegs so you get both in the folder and can view the jpegs that are next to the RAW files, altough it takes up more room on the memory card.
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Old 06-06-2007, 17:20   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
The other issue is that they cannot be viewed as thumbnails unless you have a RAW viewer, and the workflow is a bit more invloved. Another way of viewing them is to use a RAW converter (that you will need to process them anyway). It acts as a stepping stone between the file in the folder and your editing software, although many editing packages include a RAW converter.

Most people will stick with RAW once they have tried them as they do give a lot more control over your images. There is a link to a free version of RawShooter in our downloads section.

Some cameras will allow you to save RAW + jpegs so you get both in the folder and can view the jpegs that are next to the RAW files, altough it takes up more room on the memory card.
Actually Graham, I downloaded a little thing that lets my RAW files appear as thumbs just like jpegs in exlporer, I'll try and find where I got it from!
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Old 06-06-2007, 17:24   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

Hi liljj323,
Don't worry about your question, any question is a good one. A good place to start is with your camera. Look under your quality settings and see if your camera has RAW. If it does then you have some info in your camera book and your software that came along for the ride. It is fun,,,
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Old 06-06-2007, 17:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

I used the Microsoft one. There was a discussion about the effectiveness of these viewers v proper converters a while back, and there was a pretty even split. I think it is more about how you work rather than if one way is better or worse.

Having said that, you still need the converter to be able to process the RAWs. The more I'm using Lightroom, the less need I see for the RAW viewer. In fact although I had one on my old computer, I've not bothered to put one onto my new one. I guess that says it all.
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Old 06-06-2007, 18:16   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

There's a wide choice of RAW converters, the relative merits of which can provoke endless debates.

Most cameras come with RAW conversion software - e.g. Canon DPP, Nikon Capture - but the third-party converters can often do a lot more. There's....

Adobe Lightroom
Adobe ACR with Photoshop
Silkypix (no relation!)
DxO
Bibble
UFRaw
Raw Therapee
Capture One (various flavours)

... plus some editing software (e.g. Paint Shop Pro XI) can also convert some RAW files, but often not very well.

For what it matters, my preference is Bibble Pro because (a) with a few plugins it provides a complete solution for most images (including noise filters, sharpening, perspective and distortion correction, selective colour shifts, b/w conversion, etc) without the need for second-stage processing, and (b) it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

You can get a free trial of most converters, so it's worth playing with a few to see what suits you best.

BTW most RAW files are actually compressed, but the compression is lossless.
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Old 06-06-2007, 19:29   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What are RAW files, exactly

the key thing about raw is that it is data from the image sensor with minimal processing,. this gives you more options if you want to fiddle around with the image in post processing

see also Raw image format - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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