RAW files contain uncompressed and unprocessed image data, allowing photographers to capture practically every detail they see in their viewfinder. The RAW file format stores the largest amount of detail out of any raster file type, which photographers can then edit, compress, and convert into other formats. Learn more about the benefits, drawbacks, and best ways to work with a RAW image.
What is a RAW file?
A RAW file is the uncompressed and unprocessed image data captured by a digital camera or scanner’s sensors. Shooting in RAW captures a high level of image detail, with large file sizes and lossless quality. The direct image data means you start with a high-quality image that can be edited, converted, and compressed in a non-destructive manner.
RAW files are a type of raster file format, but not actually images themselves. This means you need to import them into relevant software before you can edit or export them as a different raster image file, like a JPEG. Many photographers who shoot in RAW manipulate the original data in software like Photoshop before compressing the RAW file into a different format for print or online.
Advantages and disadvantages of RAW files.
Before deciding to use RAW files, make sure to consider both the upsides and the downsides.