Raw Images

Raw images are digital negatives generated by image sensors. The source of image sensors might be digital cameras, image scanner or film making device.

The digital image files cannot be printed or edited directly, as these are unprocessed and hence are called “raw” images. The digital raw photos have to undergo the process of development to be viewable, that can be done with softwares like ACDSee Pro, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom,Picasa, etc.

RAW Images produced by popular camera manufactures are:

CR2, CRW Canon
NEF Nikon
ARW, SR2 Sony
ORF Olympus
MRW Minolta
3FR Hasselblad
RAW Leica, Panasonic
X3F Sigma
PEF Pentax
DNG Pentax, Samsung, Leica &Casio
RAF Fuji
KDC, K25, DCR Kodak

Contents of raw Image

The raw images need certain points as per the ISO standard. The ISO 12234-2 image format standard ensures that the raw images produced are viewable. The structure of raw images typically shows the following pattern:

  • Short file header which contain information regarding the file identifier, offset and byte ordering of the file
  • Camera sensor metadata required in interpreting the image sensor data
  • Image meta data which has settings, camera/lens model, date of shoot/scan, authoring information and other. Some image files have standard metadata section in Exif format
  • Image thumbnail
  • If the raw images are of motion picture film scan, it contains time code, keycode or file number in sequence
  • Sensor image data

Benefits of Using raw Files

Raw files produced in cameras save the settings but do not process these images. This allows professional photographers to decide how they want to process the raw file. Some advantages of raw images are:

  • Better image quality
  • Undesired processing steps like sharpening and noise reduction are skipped
  • Use high quality lossless compression
  • Several softwares are available to manipulate the parameters like lightness, white balance, hue, etc. thereby giving a finer control

Helpful Links

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  • Nikon Photo Recovery software helps you restore all the lost and deleted images from Nikon and other popular DSLRs.