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Chapter 2. How Camera Raw Works > Image Editing and Image Degradation

Image Editing and Image Degradation

Just about anything you do to change the tone or color of pixels results in some kind of data loss. If this sounds scary, rest assured that it's a normal and necessary part of digital imaging. The trick is to make the best use of the available bits you've captured to produce the desired image appearance, while preserving as much of the original data as possible. Why keep as much of the original data as possible if you're going to wind up throwing it away later? Very simply, it's all about keeping your options open.

The fact is, you don't need a huge amount of data to represent an image. But if you want the image to be editable, you need a great deal more data than you do to simply display or print it. Figure 2-3 shows two copies of the same image. They appear very similar visually, but their histograms are very different. One contains a great deal more data than the other.


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