RAW image format

After reading this article about the RAW image format—Raw Advantage (click this title on the lefthand menu)—I decided to try shooting some photos in RAW instead of JPEG. After playing around with it, I feel like I have a new camera. When you bring up a RAW file in Photoshop, you get a RAW import dialog that lets you make level/color adjustments:

RAW file import

The adjustments here seem much more flexible than the standard levels dialog. One drawback is a much larger file size—RAW files on my camera take up around 5MB per photo instead of the 1-2MB JPEGs. Another is that the built-in thumbnail viewer in XP doesn't understand RAW files, so if I make the switch I'll have to go with a 3rd party thumbnail viewer. This article at Microsoft, Managing Your Digital Camera's RAW Files, recommends IMatch so I'm trying it out now. I don't necessarily need all of the image-catalog stuff that goes along with it. Any other good (hopefully free) RAW thumbnail-viewing programs out there? And, of course, going through this import with each photo will add more time to the whole process, but it seems like it'll be worth it.


I think that Photoshop's built in browser can handle RAW files?

It's a bit slow on the PC though...
the next big thing from Adobe:

Digital Negative Format.

It's like PDF for RAW files.

I expect that most of the new cameras over the next year or so will support it without out of the box.

Thanks for the info! I dug out the disc that came with my camera, and Canon has a program called "File Viewer Utility" that can veiw RAW file thumbnails--and seems more flexible than the Photoshop file browser. Even better, they have an updated program called "EOS Viewer Utility" that's much faster--


(You have to have the older program installed to install this updated version.)

DNG sounds like a good plan, it just seems to me that something like that should be handled by an independent standards body instead of a company with a stake in product lock-in. But I don't know anything about how the standard was developed.
Irfanview is a freeware image viewer that handles RAW files quite well.
On the PC, I bet Adobe's excellent Photoshop Album can import RAW files and catalog them nicely.

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