If you’re passionate about taking photos, it’s impossible not to have heard of RAW photography by now. You’ve must surely read various opinions and saw recommendations to start shooting in RAW with your digital camera. But what exactly is this format and how does it benefit your photography?
What is a RAW File?
A RAW file represents a collection of image data recorded by your camera’s sensor when you shoot a photo. In contrast to a JPEG format for example, the RAW format is uncompressed, which means no information is compressed and lost. Basically, you get the raw data from the sensors, without any quality loss or transformations.
Why Shoot in RAW?
Let’s take a look at the main advantages of RAW image formats over compressed image formats like JPEG or TIFF:
- A RAW file is comparable to the image from an exposed but undeveloped piece of film, this is why RAW images are often called digital negatives. It holds exactly what the imaging chip recorded. This means that the photographer is able to extract the maximum possible image quality, whether now or in the future.
- RAW files have not had white balance set. They are tagged with whatever the camera’s setting was, but the actual image data has not been changed. This allows one to set any color temperature and white balance one wishes with no image degradation. Once the file has been converted from the linear space and has had a gamma curve applied (such as in a JPG) white balance can no longer be properly done.
- The RAW file is tagged with contrast and saturation information as set in the camera by the user, but the actual image data has not been changed. The user is free to set these based on a per-image evaluation rather than use one or two generalized settings for all images taken.
Usually, no two camera manufacturers encode their RAW files in the same way. Each manufacturer provides specialized software for RAW conversion and processing, but these specialized programs might not be the most suitable solution when it comes usability and processing power.
Fast RAW Conversion
As a professional photographer you shoot in RAW hundreds of pictures at a single event, but few shots are good enough to justify the time investment required by post processing on the desktop computer with specialized software.
Nevertheless, the remaining images are still important and need to be converted to a common image format like JPEG or TIFF. Of course, you can do that with the camera’s supplied software. But what if you have multiple cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony or what if the software is not the most user-friendly?
This is where BatchPhoto comes in with its extensive support for RAW images. BatchPhoto is a Mac OS X and Windows program capable of reading RAW image formats from most digital cameras (including Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, Kodak, Pentax), and providing specific RAW development settings like Demosaicing, White Balance and Highlights. This photo editor can prove to be a great option for post processing RAW images.
BatchPhoto can convert RAW images to almost any image format (170 formats supported) in just a single session. But you can do much more than just convert images; you can resize, rename, watermark or date stamp your images at the same time, just to name a few of the available features.
Learn more about supported digital cameras and RAW formats here.