What is a RAW image and why it's better than JPG?

In this article, we are going to understand the concept of the Raw image file, its advantages and which editor is the best to deal with it.

RAW is the common name of an image format containing all the information received from a camera matrix.


RAW is not a file extension. Different manufacturers use different permissions for files of this format, for example, DNG, CRW, CR2, DCR, KDC, RAF, ARW, etc.
To clearly demonstrate this format, let's first look at how the camera works. After taking a photo, the camera receives the data directly from the matrix. But it's not a photo, it's raw data. Then the camera processes the received data and makes the photo clearer, more vivid, sharper and more colorful. The result of this processing becomes a finished photo, stored in JPG format.


All the advantages are somehow related to the preservation of the initial data of the camera matrix, which gives us:
1. more post-processing capabilities
2. wider dynamic range
3. more color depth.
Another advantage is working with noise, sharpness and artifacts. In fact, these tools work with the smallest details of the image. These are the first things distorted when compressing to JPG format. In RAW format, this data retains its original form.
A negative point of RAW file is the larger size and higher requirements for computers and cameras.


The RAW file is created in such a way that we cannot save information on it. You can only open it, apply the necessary changes, and then save the result in JPG or TIFF format.
Changes to RAW files are stored in the processing program or in an external XMP file.
To work with RAW, we use RAW converters. Below is a list of the most popular converters:
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
Adobe Camera RAW
PhaseOne Capture One Pro

Lightroom Classic CC and Camera RAW are created by Adobe and use a single engine. The difference is that Camera RAW is a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom is an independent software with cataloguing, processing and publishing functions.
These two software occupy about 85% of the converter market, with 10% to 12% being Capture One Pro.
If you're just starting to use RAW, we recommend using Adobe Lightroom. It is a simple and convenient converter that a beginner can easily understand. It is very easy to find a lot of useful lessons online.
In addition to the universal software mentioned above, there are specialized converters produced by camera manufacturers. The main advantage of these software is that they perfectly display the colors as indicated by the manufacturer. But in general, they are less convenient.


The RAW format contains more information. This is a tool for a professional photographer and an experienced amateur who processes his photos.
If you are taking a vacation with your family, you can use the JPG safely.