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213 votes
Accepted

What does an unprocessed RAW file look like?

There is a tool called dcraw which reads various RAW file types and extracts pixel data from them — it's actually the original code at the very bottom of a lot of open source and even commercial RAW ...
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67 votes

Given an image how to identify whether it is RAW file or not

Once I've a JPEG photograph image file, how can I find out whether it is a RAW file or not? If you have a JPEG file, then it is not a RAW file. RAW isn't a single format, but rather a collective ...
  • 31.3k
54 votes

What's the point of capturing 14 bit images and editing on 8 bit monitors?

You could edit your photos with an old burned CRT black and white monitor and it still is the same matter: the additional bits count. Here is a simulation of a 14 bits histogram (A) and an 8-bit one (...
  • 21.5k
47 votes

Why do we use RGB instead of wavelengths to represent colours?

The goal of the imaging engineer has always been to capture with the camera a faithful image of the outside world and present that image in such a way that the observer sees true to life picture. This ...
  • 36.9k
42 votes

What's the point of capturing 14 bit images and editing on 8 bit monitors?

Higher bit depths give you more options for editing without losing data. Don't make the mistake of tying the representation of an image with how it is rendered. Editing yields the best quality ...
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36 votes

How to convert JPEG to RAW in Photoshop or similar?

In addition to the points Alex S made, you need to consider why they want RAW. There are several possible reasons: Bit depth as Alex S said. JPG suffers from compression artefacts which RAW doesn't. ...
  • 3,702
36 votes

Why do we use RGB instead of wavelengths to represent colours?

You said, this is the information that is captured at first by digital cameras. That is not correct. By themselves, sensors on most digital cameras respond to a broad band of frequencies of light, ...
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35 votes
Accepted

Changing JPEG to RAW to use on Lightroom?

In my opinion, none of the other answers addresses the obvious misconception in the question: There is no use in converting a JPG (comparatively low quality) to a RAW file (high quality), because you ...
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32 votes
Accepted

Why use JPEG instead of RAW?

Beyond the very obvious memory card requirement differences between RAW and JPEG images as noted in the question: JPEGs are compressed and typically have much smaller file sizes. For example a RAW ...
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29 votes
Accepted

How to convert JPEG to RAW in Photoshop or similar?

RAW is not (or minimally) processed image data from camera sensor. JPEG is processed image data. Typically, raw-files from modern cameras have 12-14-bit per pixel which means up to 16384 values (for ...
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27 votes

Do raw images of the same camera have the same size?

Many digital cameras use lossless compression with raw files. That means the size of raw files from the same camera is somewhat content dependent. The more detail and different colors a scene ...
  • 170k
27 votes

Do raw images of the same camera have the same size?

A picture being worth a thousand spreadsheet cells, here is an histogram of the size of the RAW files from my camera for 2018 (EOS 70D, 20Mpx). Sizes are in 1000's of K (not really MB). For the ...
  • 17.7k
25 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to change depth of field in RAW images?

No - the aperture is set by the physical blades in the lens when you take the photo; a RAW "image" contains the readings from the sensor when the photo was taken, so there's no way you can go back and ...
  • 20.1k
23 votes

Given an image how to identify whether it is RAW file or not

Unless somebody frivolously renamed a RAW file, it will never have a file name with the .jpg/.jpeg/.jfif extension. Typical extensions for RAW files will be .raw, .arw (Sony), .dng (Android phones etc....
23 votes

Is it normal for RAW files to have lens distortion? How best to deal with it?

Is this normal for RAW images? Yes, it is normal. Based on my experience with Canon cameras with different lenses, the RAW image remains uncorrected w.r.t. to the corresponding JPEG. This means that ...
22 votes
Accepted

How do I accurately and objectively capture the color of the setting sun?

But there is nothing objective about perception. If the goal is to attempt to reproduce the perception, the closest will be to set the white balance from a grey card which is not directly lit with the ...
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22 votes
Accepted

RAW files store 3 colors per pixel, or only one?

Raw files don't really store any colors per pixel. They only store a single brightness value per pixel. It is true that with a Bayer mask over each pixel the light is filtered with either a Red, ...
  • 170k
19 votes

Changing JPEG to RAW to use on Lightroom?

In the absence of real raw files, the JPG is your "raw". Most image editors, including Lightroom, can open or import JPGs. You may choose to save in another format while editing, but do not lose or ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Does converting image file formats affect quality?

Going from JPG (which is a lossy format) to any lossless one (like PNG) does not. Going from any format to a lossy one, yes, including JPG to JPG. It could be too little to notice, and using the same ...
  • 21.5k
17 votes

How do I accurately and objectively capture the color of the setting sun?

As you say, white balance is a subjective game. The only way to do this in anyway objectively would be to process your photos in conditions where all the factors affecting subjectivity, i.e. the ...
  • 1,107
17 votes

While shooting in RAW, do you have to post-process it to make the picture look good?

From what I understand of your question, you're asking whether a Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) RAW file should be edited to look "good". The short answer is "Yes, it should go through post-processing"...
15 votes

Why are raw files shot in monochrome shown in color on my computer?

When you shoot monochrome as RAW files, the monochrome setting is just meta-data in the RAW file. The raw data from the sensor is still the same. You will only see the monochrome effect when you view ...
  • 20.9k
15 votes
Accepted

Are RAWs in bracketed exposure (mostly) redundant?

The point of bracketing in the context you described is to come up with a higher dynamic range that the one you can get with a single picture because you want or need to do it. Even if RAW has more ...
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15 votes

What makes RAW files difficult for manipulation?

Nothing makes raw files difficult to manipulate for someone with the right expertise and tools. It's just that there aren't many folks around who have those tools and expertise. The tools needed to ...
  • 170k
15 votes
Accepted

Is it better to continue shooting in JPEGs instead of RAW if you are not planning to do post processing?

"Better job" is subjective. We certainly get lots of questions like Why does this camera generated JPEG look better than the software generated one? Why do RAW images look worse than JPEGs in editing ...
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15 votes
Accepted

How sharp are RAW photos before processing?

Are RAW images by nature slightly blurry prior to processing? If I open them up in Lightroom and zoom into the photo, my photos are not tack sharp but a bit blurry. Once I process, it comes out ...
  • 141k
14 votes
Accepted

Is it possible for a phone manufacturer to enable camera raw through a software upgrade?

While Google created an API in Android Lollipop that exposes RAW images from the camera, Android leaves it up the each phone manufacturer as to whether they will make the camera RAW available to the ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Why does the histogram of an image depends on the software that opened it?

It's all to do with the profile applied to the raw files and guesses other software makes as to what that profile ought to be... RAW is not an 'absolute' format in terms of the image displayed, it's ...
  • 21k
13 votes

How to make camera LCD show true RAW data in JPG preview and histogram?

You can't view a RAW image, because a RAW file is not an image, it is a set of monochrome luminance values. When the data is converted to RGB using demosaicing certain settings such as contrast, ...
  • 170k
13 votes
Accepted

Why do RAW images in Darktable have a lot of noise?

Michael is right. More precisely: The RAW image contains two images: the embedded JPEG preview, which has your camera's processing applied including noise reduction, and the RAW data. When you open ...
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