RAW file formats were introduced to the photography industry more than five years ago. However, not much information about their functionality, capabilities, or advantages in different situations has been made available. Some digital camera users are not aware of their existence and, if they were, they would not know what to do with them. RAW file formats functions are viewed as a concern of the professional photographer and not of the average user (Fraser, 2005). RAW file formats are unprocessed digital image data ? the type available from many current digital cameras. There is no standard RAW format. Each camera captures RAW data in a proprietary fashion. Thus, special camera-specific software is needed to access the RAW files. The widely used TIFF and JPEG file formats are processed within the camera right after shooting each image. TIFF files are uncompressed and therefore large. JPEG files are spatially compressed and smaller than TIFF files for images with the equivalent number of pixels. RAW file formats contain all the original data, uncompressed, with no adjustments to image sharpness, white balance, contrast, and saturation, but they are incomplete as images because they need to be processed using either proprietary software provided by the digital camera manufacturer or other software such as Adobe? Photoshop? CS. This study addresses the following research question: What is the real value, if any, of RAW file formats in magazine publishing? The author?s intention was to learn about RAW file formats and what is currently being claimed about their advantages and disadvantages. Photographing using RAW formats is like photographing with negative film, only in digital form. Using RAW formats is much like preserving the analog format workflow, where after all of the images are captured on film, the film is sent out for developing before we can see the image. Using RAW files is similar to this process, but it is done by the photographer using a computer and not a film-processing machine. To do this the photographer or processor needs software that can interpret the RAW format image. Research Method This research was exploratory in nature. Information was gathered from experts who have experimented with RAW file formats, who have had direct involvement with digital photography technology, and who have sought to discover its capabilities and its practicality in the real world. This thesis also discusses topics such as the various types of digital cameras suitable for publishing work. This study involved collecting data from interview sessions. Interviews were conducted with eight experts in the field of photography and publishing at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). (Interview questions are listed in Appendix I). Data analysis was based on information gathered during these interviews. From the collected information, a list was created of the potential advantages of Camera RAW workflows in magazine publishing applications. The conclusion addresses possible advantages, as well as the practicality of using Camera RAW data in magazine publishing applications. A set of guidelines for future Camera RAW workflow users is also provided. Conclusion Based on the findings from the interviews, it is concluded that RAW file format usage is currently impractical in the magazine publishing environment. The RAW workflow would not be practical for photojournalism, where speed is more important than the quality of the image. Time, cost, and demands from clients contribute to these changes. Because there is no standard RAW format and because the photographer must spend extra time to process the images, the RAW workflow does not address the needs of magazine publishing. It might be practical to use in the future, after the RAW format has been standardized, and the RAW workflow has been perfected. Endnotes for Abstract Fraser, B. (2005). Real World Camera Raw with Adobe? Photoshop? CS. California: Peachpit Press.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Image processing--Digital techniques; Periodicals--Publishing; Image files; Digital cameras; Photography--Digital techniques

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Print Media (CIAS)


Cost, Frank

Advisor/Committee Member

Ainul Azyan, Zuliyanti


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: TR267 .A46 2005


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