Article ID : 00024656 / Last Modified : 12/14/2017

What Is a RAW Image File?

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A RAW image file is the digital equivalent of a film negative. It's an untreated image file. You would use the Image Data Converter or another compatible software to process or develop RAW files. The benefit of this format is that you can adjust the following attributes:

  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Sharpness
  • White balance

Note: You can make additional adjustments depending on the image editing software.

You can save the image to another format, like TIFF or JPEG, after you make the desired adjustments.

IMPORTANT: If you use Adobe® CS3, Elements, Photoshop®, Lightroom®, Aperture® 2, iPhoto®, or some other RAW editing software, make sure to install the most recent plug-in or update to make sure it is compatibile with new RAW image profiles.


  • The file extension of a RAW file varies depending on the camera. For example, a file in this format may have .SRF, .SR2, or .ARW at the end of the file name.
  • Check your camera manual to see if it supports RAW or how to use it. Manuals are posted on your model support page.
  • For details about processing RAW data, refer to the following articles: