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JPEG, TIFF, and RAW

As we’ve seen, digital cameras produce files in three kinds of formats. JPEG files are the most efficient in terms of use of space, and can be stored in various quality levels that depend on the amount of compression you elect to use. You can opt for tiny files that sacrifice detail or larger files that preserve most of the information in your original image.

Most cameras can also save in TIFF format, which, although compressed, discards none of the information in the final image file. However, both JPEG and TIFF files have been processed by the camera before they are created. The settings you have made in your camera in terms of white balance, color, sharpening, and so forth, are all applied to the image. You can make some adjustments to the image later in an image editor, but you are always working with an image that has already been processed, sometimes heavily.


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