RWL - Leica RAW Image

What is a RWL file

RWL is the RAW image file format for photos taken using digital cameras manufactured by Leica. It is the native image format for such digital photos. The format is proprietary for images taken with Leica cameras only. As any RAW image file, these images store different camera data such as lens & sensor information, aperture, ISO information, and more. RWL files are not ready for publishing and can often times not even be viewed by computers and other devices without previous conversion. Thus, they have to be stored in a different format before they can be properly shared among common users. Due to the extensive metadata present in the RWL file, however, they are especially suited for being altered, edited or touched up using photo manipulation programs.

When an RWL file is being edited using, for example, Adobe Photoshop, the original file is not affected. An additional file is stored together with the RAW image file that contains first changes applied to saturation, contrast, lighting, and so on. The final edited image is then saved in a more commonly used and better-supported image format like JPEG, PNG, TIFF or even PDF. These images, however, have lost all ability to directly manipulate the previously mentioned camera information. In order to do so, the original RWL can be used and edited again.

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

  • ACD Systems ACDSee (Windows)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Windows, Mac, iOS & Android)
  • Adobe Lightroom (Windows & Mac)
  • CyberLink PhotoDirector (Windows)
  • MacPhun ColorStrokes (Mac)
  • Microsoft Windows Photos (Windows)
  • Phase One Capture One (Windows & Mac)
Extension RWL
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