Raw Image Files and Processing

In general most Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras offer several options to record the image files. In general these formats are TIFF, JPG or RAW files.


The RAW image format files are unprocessed files retaining the original data from the camera sensor. The RAW file images are normally processed after the event into a JPG or TIFF format. Many cameras use different formats for their RAW file images. They are sometimes referred to as the digital negatives, as they are comparable to a negative in the world of film, the RAW file is the original data from the sensor, in an analogy that the film negative is the original of the scene captured on film.


The Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is an uncompressed, common format used for images. The format is a useful archive storage format due to its lossless characteristics. Files can be saved and resaved without loosing data. TIFF files are generally very large files compared to other formats but offer a high quality for permanent storage.


The JPG file format is a compressed format, with a trade off between the file size and the amount of compression applied to the file which can be adjusted by the user. The problem with the JPG format is that once the file is compressed some of the data is lost from the file forever and can never be recovered. This is one of the most common formats used by digital cameras for storage of images. However remember that once a JPG file is saved with any compression, some of the original data is lost and this happens every time a JPG file is saved. JPG files are very economical in terms of storage space.

Getting The Best Quality From Your Images

In order get the premium quality from your images, we regard it as preferable to take all images in RAW format, save a copy of the RAW images as archives and then process the RAW images on computer.

There are several reasons for this approach as follows:

You always have the original image to work on later if required, bearing in mind that raw processing software improves all the time and you may have the opportunity to go back to old raw images at some future point in time and reprocess them to acheive better quality.

The RAW image files will facilitate better processing to fix any issues with the files such as white balance issues, sharpening, contrast adjustments, improving dynamic range of the image etc.
A poorly exposed JPG image can be very difficult to rectify after it is taken. However, a RAW file with problems is far easier to rectify and improve with the RAW processing software.