Why are DNG, NEF or other raw photos look such different at first sight, no editing, as D-LOG, ProRes and other raw or near to raw video frames?
Photos look contrasted while videos look flat.
By "look" I mean the preview on a Mac OS.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's really raw photos and raw videos, not RAW (as in some kind of universal file format). \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 5, 2021 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC this answer treats the use of RAW in all caps. It's not a format on itself, but it can communicate something else than the word "raw" without caps. In writing my answer I tried to use the caps/no caps form accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2021 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SaaruLindestøkke It's still improper usage, because it implies a specific file format (there are .RAW files, but the raw files from cameras are not among then) when the files in question are not that specific file format. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 7, 2021 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ The actual content of your answer argues directly against referring to various raw image file formats used by different cameras as RAW files, because they are not .RAW files, they are .NEF, .CR2, etc. files. Thus they are raw .NEF files, raw .CR2 files, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 7, 2021 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


The word "RAW" means different things in your question.

DNG, NEF, CR2 and other RAW photo file formats contain raw data which needs to be interpreted by a RAW file viewer before you can see an image on a screen (e.g. with Preview on Mac OS). This interpretation can happen in infinite ways resulting in images that look (slightly) different. This answer goes through the interpretation steps.

The D-LOG video you refer to as "RAW", is already an interpretation of the actual raw data from the camera sensor. It's an interpretation which leaves you a lot of room to work with in terms of color correction, but it's still an interpretation. This article goes into more detail.


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