I have a CMOS sensor mounted on a board that can capture photos in RAW and JPEG formats. The JPEG images are fine and work as expected the issue is when I try to work with the RAW images.

I am looking for help opening these files, such as different software I may have missed, conversion techniques to different formats, or anything really.

The code behind the camera was written just give a basic RAW file so I am surprised that so many programs have rejected it. Right now I am reading through the code to see exactly what it is doing with the RAW images but I haven't found anything unusual yet.

I have tired opening the images in GIMP, Darktable, RawTherapee, and all of the native software that comes with Linux, Windows and Mac. Between all these platforms I get similar errors of...

Failed to read white balance information

Unknown or unsupported file format

No colour profile

Also I think that I say something pop up for a second saying no exif data.

I can confirm that all of the software I am using works because I downloaded a RAW image and that opened just fine in every program.

Also I have already looked through these slightly similar questions here and here And followed though on the advice there, sort of rewriting huge amounts of code and new programs what can I do with non-standard RAW images?

I have added the .raw image as well as a jpeg of the same subject to a google drive folder, linked here

  • \$\begingroup\$ The manufacturer of the sensor you are using should have provided software or information to allow you to compose an image from the data stored in the "raw" files. Failing that, we would need make/model info about the sensor, etc. and, preferably, some examples of the "raw" files it produces. \$\endgroup\$
    – db9dreamer
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 10:38
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about programming rather than about the photography aspect itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm How does my question look like a programming question? I am trying to figure out what I can do with my raw image. I am not asking how to make a program that can open it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 1, 2017 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ As I understand it, you have a camera module designed for some embedded or similar application, right? You should contact the manufacturer of that module for information; I am jumping ahead to the expectation that they assume you will use some library they provide in order to access the data in custom software you write. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ From your other question, it does not seem like you are interested in photography. It sounds like you have some image-processing task you want to accomplish (and in fact want to learn as little about photography as possible in the process). That's fine; I just don't think it's on-topic here. See this discussion. If I'm wrong, more explanation will help. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


The code behind the camera was written just give a basic RAW file...

There's no such thing as a basic RAW file.

That is to say there is no standardized format into which raw data from a camera sensor can be encoded so that any raw editor can decode it. Any application that decodes raw files must have information regarding the characteristics of the specific sensor used to collect the data as well as be able to understand the proprietary format used as a container to store that data.

There is the unfortunate choice that Panasonic, Casio, Leica, and a few other camera makers made to use a raw file format with the extension .raw. This often leads to the misunderstanding that all "RAW" files are .raw files which is certainly not the case. The .raw file format is just one of many "RAW" image file formats.

In reality what people call a "RAW" file is really just raw analog data taken from a sensor and then encoded in a proprietary manner by whoever wrote the firmware running the electronics used to convert the analog information collected by the sensor into digital information and then process that data into a format that contains it. Even among raw file formats with the same file extension (e,g, .NEF, .CR2, etc.) a raw editing application must have specific sensor information. That is why raw files from newer camera models are not supported by existing applications until the app is updated with information about the new camera and its sensor.

Part of what each proprietary raw file format does is include metadata, called the EXIF Info (Exchangeable image file format), about the camera settings at the time the shot was taken and about the contents of the file (white balance as measured by the camera' processor, black point, white point, etc.). This metadata, along with converted preview images, are attached to the raw data from the sensor and included in the "RAW" file.

All of the raw processing applications you are trying to use depend upon the EXIF Information packaged with the raw data to know how to interpret the raw data in the file. Without that information the raw data in the file is meaningless to them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Micheal Clark Yeah, I knew that "basic RAW file" was not the correct way to say it. I am more interested in what you are saying about the EXIF data, it is possible that it is not being saved correctly, in that case I can probably fix it. For clarification though are you saying that without EXIF data my RAW image is worthless? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GarethShepherd It's not worthless. It just can't be accessed using the applications that are normally used to process "Raw" files that depend on embedded EXIF Info. Although I've never had the need to do any such thing, it would seem the solution is to append the data you have with EXIF Info that the apps you are trying to use can recognize. Have you checked with the manufacturer of the sensor you are using to see what they may have available? In what file format are your images recorded? (What is the file extension?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ One reason I tend to avoid using "RAW image" instead of "raw data" is that the raw data is not encoded in a standardized image file format. It's just a bunch of numbers until converted into a standard image file format such as TIFF, JPEG, PNG, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Micheal Clark I am trying to get some info from the manufactures now, I am hopping they get back to me soon. The file extension is .raw and my computer does recognize them as Camera Raw files \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please see the recent edit to the answer. A .raw file is just one of many formats used to record raw image data. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:52

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