RAW Mode

Fri 23 June 2006

The less, the better

According to Wikipedia:

A raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of a digital camera or image scanner. Raw files are so named because they are not yet processed and ready to use by a bitmap graphics editor, printed, or displayed by a typical web browser. The image must be processed and converted to an RGB format such as TIFF? or JPEG? before it can be manipulated.

Actually, today many image browsers and editors are able to process the RAW image formats of leading camera vendors.

  • Microsoft’s `”RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP” <http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=d48e808e-b10d-4ce4-a141-5866fd4a3286>`__ allows you to view thumbnails and use the Picture Viewer application over RAW files.
  • Google’s `Picasa <http://picasa.google.com/>`__ now supports various RAW image formats, from indexing to editing.
  • Adobe’s `Lightroom <http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom/>`__ project will provide professional-quality cataloguing and editing for images in RAW format.
  • The latest versions of the software that comes bundled with digital cameras allows for basic editing of RAW images. Such is the case with my camera?.

As I see it, the digital RAW is the equivalent of the film negative, and there’s no way to go if you’re serious about your photography than to shoot and transfer your pictures in RAW format.

For a nice explanation of the whys and the trade-offs, read the Understanding Raw Files article by photographer Michael Reichmann.