Tech Terms of the Week: Raw Image Format

A raw file is a collection of unprocessed data. This means the file has not been altered, compressed, or manipulated in any way by the computer and contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner.

Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image. RAW formats include:

raw file formats, including IIQ (Phase One), 3FR (Hasselblad), DCR, K25, KDC (Kodak), CR2 (Canon), ERF (Epson), MEF (Mamiya), MOS (Leaf), NEF (Nikon), ORF (Olympus), PEF (Pentax), RW2 (Panasonic) and SR2 (Sony), are based on the TIFF file format.

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