By Lesa Snider

The previous Creaticity column covered basic image file formats such as JPEG, PNG, PDF, etc. However, once you pick up a camera, terms such as raw and file formats such as DNG, XMP, along with a plethora of proprietary formats, can creep into your life. In this column, you’ll learn what all that means. As a result, you can make sense of the files you encounter and make an informed choice about which format to capture in-camera.

Raw isn’t really a file format so you won’t see it as a file extension. Instead, it’s a way to describe the unprocessed sensor data that some cameras—and even some Android smart phones—can record (it’s not an acronym either, so there’s no need to write it in all caps). You may not realize it, but when you shoot in JPEG format, your camera processes the image by applying the settings buried deep within your camera’s menu such as noise reduction, sharpening, color and contrast boosting, color space, and some compression to save space on the memory card. While you can certainly edit a JPEG, the changes your camera made when converting the sensor data into the JPEG are baked into the file and cannot be undone. (The same thing happens with a TIFF and since it can produce dramatically larger file sizes than raw, it’s now rarely used as a capture format.)

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Read more here:: Understanding photography-related file formats