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RAW Magic In Digikam: Understanding RAW Photo Settings

Apr 27, 2011, 20:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Carla Schroder)

[ Thanks to Carla Schroder for this link. ]

"Lower-end digital cameras support only JPG. Higher-priced cameras support JPG, RAW, and sometimes TIFF. This is an artificial distinction as lower-priced cameras can shoot RAW just like their more expensive siblings. When some brainiac figures out cool hacks, as with CHDK, the Canon Hack Development Kit for Canon point-and-shoot cameras, all kinds of advanced features are unlocked.

"JPG is a lossy 8-bit file format. At 8 bits you have 256 brightness levels. The camera, which is really a little computer, manipulates the sensor data to create the photo: white balance, contrast, brightness, and color hue and saturation. Then it applies whatever compression level you have set. A higher compression ratio results in smaller file sizes, and that smaller size comes at a cost of throwing away information.

"RAW files are minimally-processed sensor data. There isn't a single RAW file format, because all the camera vendors like to use their own special secret RAW formats. The big "secrets" are headers and image metadata such as date, exposure, and ISO settings. Most RAW files are based on the TIFF file format."

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