Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


The Art of Raw Conversion



maintained by Uwe Steinmueller



We maintain a Raw FAQ to answer questions that are asked over and over again. Please send us Q/A pairs if you have some good tips.

General Questions

Q001:What is a raw file?

A: "The Raw Deal"

Q002:What does a raw converter do?

A: "Raw Converter Essentials"

Q003: What are good Raw Converters?


Free tools:

Q004: Where can I learn more about the digital raw workflow?


Q005: Why are my colors different in RAW converted files compared to camera JPEGs?

A:The full answer is beyond this FAQ but here your are: 3rd party RAW converters (eg. ACR) provide their own color processing which are independed and different form the in-camera color processing. For better understanding see Q001.

Q006: How much can I overexpose a raw file without any harm for the result?

A: Camera models vary in the tradeoff they make between highlight headroom and shadow noise. Some leave a significant amount of highlight headroom during a normal exposure. This allows significant negative exposure compensation to be applied during raw conversion, but also means normal exposures will contain more shadow noise. Other models leave less headroom during normal exposures. This allows for less negative exposure compensation, but results in lower shadow noise for normal exposures.

We advise to be careful with any overexposusre. But if you know your camera and histogram you can improve the noise in your image by using controlled overexposure.

Q007:How do I interpret a histogram?

A: Read "Watch your Histogram"

Tool specific Questions

Q501:"When I open a Nikon Raw (NEF) image from the file browser in Photoshop CS, a simple window opens that has a slider for adjusting the EV up or down, and a WB compensator, and that is it."

A: The Nikon NEF plugin got priority. Solution: Remove the Nikon NEF plugin for the folder "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CS\Plug-Ins\Adobe Photoshop Only\File Formats".


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