ARW - Sony Digital Camera Alpha Raw Image Format

What is a ARW file

ARW (Sony Alpha Raw) files refer to the Sony RAW image file or an ArtStudio project file. Images captured digitally using Sony cameras using the TIFF specifications create a raw, uncompressed ARW file. They contain all data captured by the camera’s CCD. Using editing software allows the user to alter the photo before exporting to compressed image types such as JPG, GIF, or PNG. Before compression and conversion, the files are large with high levels of detail (depending on the camera settings). Many ARW viewers are available if users wish to see the images in the TIFF/RAW image style, though sending and receiving ARW or any other RAW images is difficult.

Due to the differences allowed between ARW files (depending on the CCD of the specific camera in use), not all image-editing software related to Sony will work. Consult paperwork included with the camera to decide which program(s) to use. ARW files contain minimal processing from the camera sensors and because it can pick up elements not usable by image viewers, this file is not useful when trying to upload or send images using the internet, leading to the need to convert. Conversion may occur automatically when transferring images from the camera to a computer (especially when using the software related to the specific camera), but if not, online file conversion may be needed.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open ARW documents:

  • ARW Viewer
  • Adobe Suite
  • Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Microsoft Windows Photos