Are You Familiar with RAW Format?

The word RAW means unprocessed. To understand the RAW format, first we should know the actual imaging process of digital cameras in general. After pressing the shutter, the light irradiates on the camera COMS through lens, then the COMS will convert it to the digital signals which can form the image data. And these digital signals are the main materials of RAW files.

Advantages of RAW format:

·RAW files, the information which are almost untreated and get directly from the CCD and CMOS, allow the photographers to maximize developing their artistic talent in the post processing.

·RAW files don’t have white balance settings, but the real data is not changed. That is to say the photographer could adjust the color temperature and white balance freely, and there is no image quality loss.

·Color linearization and filter rank transformation can be processed more quickly on a microprocessor equipped computer. This allows to apply some complex algorithms which are not allowed to adopt in cameras.

·Although the RAW files are marked with the information of saturation and contrast, etc., actually the original image data has not been changed. The users can freely do personalize adjustments with a picture instead of basing on one or two preset modes.

·Maybe the biggest advantage of RAW files is that they can be converted to 16 bit images. It means that one RAW file has 65536 levels which can be adjusted, that is a great advantage when compared with JPEG files. This is a very important point when you are editing a picture, especially when you need to adjust the shadow area and high light area.

Compared with JPEG files:

JPEG files have the advantages of small volume and good compatibility, most of programs can recognize such kind of files. That is because JPEG format is not only a industry standard format, but also a Web standard file format. But on the other hand, there will be some data lost when the JPEG files are created, that is the reason why the volume of a JPEG file is so small.

If a digital camera uses JPEG as the photo storage format, then it will save lots of precious space. But you must see its disadvantage: all the processes which can be adjusted by the camera such as color temperature, color balance, image sharpness, etc. are marked in the file after been treated by the camera; you have to do the post processing through Photoshop, but the adjusted image will has a loss of quality.

However, if you save the image files in RAW format, then the camera will create a header file including the information of sharpness, contrast, saturation, color temperature, white balance, etc. But these settings won’t change the images, they are just marked on the RAW files. Then the RAW files will be saved in memory card together with the relative settings and other technology information. Some cameras may compress these files, but some may not. As long as the compression is lossless, then it will not bring any influence to the image quality.

Photo loss is always inevitable for photographers. Although people can turn to a photo recovery software for help when such conditions happen, compared with the common formats images recovery like JPEG, JPG, TIFF, TIF, PNG, BMP, etc., RAW photos are always difficult to restore. Because many photo recovery softwares don’t provide the option of RAW photo recovery. If you have such demands, you can refer to RAW Photos Recovery to learn how to solve this problem.

Kim Guo is an editor of She is very professional on data recovery. And she has offered a lot of tips, guides, tutorials about data recovery in her website.

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