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About camera raw

A camera raw file contains unprocessed picture data from a digital camera’s image sensor. Many digital cameras can save images as camera raw format files. The advantage of camera raw files are that they give the photographer control over interpreting the image data, rather than letting the camera make the adjustments and conversions. Because the camera doesn’t do any of the image processing, you can set the white balance, tonal range, contrast, color saturation, and sharpening in Photoshop. Think of camera raw files as your photo negative. You can go back and reprocess the file anytime you like to achieve the results you want.

To create camera raw files, you need to set your digital camera to save files in its own raw file format, which may be a proprietary format. When you download a camera raw file from the camera, it will have a file extension such as .nef (from Nikon) or .crw (from Canon). In Bridge or Photoshop, you can process camera raw files from an extensive list of supported digital cameras from Canon, Kodak, Leica, Nikon, and other manufacturers—and can even process multiple images simultaneously. Then you can export the proprietary camera raw files to the Digital Negative (DNG) file format, Adobe’s nonproprietary format for standardizing camera raw files, or to such other formats as JPEG, TIFF, and PSD.


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