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All digital SLRs and many of the higher- end prosumer digital cameras now allow you to shoot in raw file format. Unlike JPEGs, raw files are made up of uncompressed data just as it is captured by the camera's image sensor. Because of all the extra information that is stored in the file, a raw image is much larger in file size than a JPEG or TIFF. Notice in here, I have the details visible in the Bridge application and I'm currently viewing in my preview here a Camera Raw file. We can see over here on the right, it's says Document Type: Camera Raw Image and notice that its file size is 14.18 MB. If we take a look at the JPEGs underneath, we can see that their file sizes are a lot smaller, 3.5 MB here and about 3.5 MB here and so on, so forth.
All throughout the series, the JPEGs are a lot smaller than the Camera Raw file. We can also see that this says it was edited in Camera Raw. By shooting in raw format, you can capture a wider range of colors and acquire much more accurate image detail. Raw files can only be edited using the Camera Raw plug-in that comes with Photoshop Elements. This tool offers fine tuning options that can't be made directly in the Elements workspace. Different cameras provide different types of raw files with different file extensions. For example, a raw image captured by an Olympus camera has the .ORF extension while a raw image captured by a Nikon camera has the .NEF extension. This particular image was taken using a Canon camera and it has the .CR2 extension.
The Camera Raw plug-in can recognize most raw file formats. For a current list of supported cameras and file types refer to the Adobe website.
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