RAW - Raw Image Data File

What is a RAW file

Files with the RAW extension are literally raw image data files. They are created by all kinds of digital cameras from different manufacturers such as Leica, Casio or Panasonic. The file contains image data that is raw and uncompressed. It can more easily be edited when it comes to adjustments like exposure, white balance, and the like. The RAW format is used to store the image data unaltered and exactly as it was captured at the moment the photo was taken, containing all information of the camera's CCD. Some image generation programs may also be able to create RAW files, but this is very uncommon.

RAW image files are generally better in quality than compressed image formats such as JPG and PNG files as they produce images directly from the data that was captured by the camera's sensor. Compressed formats loose data in the compression process. Uncompressed RAW files are not affected by this. This, however, comes on the cost of relatively large file sizes for RAW images.

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

  • ACD Systems ACDSee Photo Studio (Windows)
  • ACD Systems Canvas (Windows)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Windows & Mac)
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements (Windows & Mac)
  • Apple Previews (Mac)
  • Corel PaintShop Pro (Windows)
  • digiKam (Linux)
  • GIMP (Windows, Mac & Linux)
  • File Viewer Plus (Windows)
  • MacPhun ColorStrokes (Mac)
  • Microsoft Photos (Windows)
  • RawTherapee (Windows & Linux)
  • UFRaw (Linux)
  • WidsMob PhotoVault (Mac)
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