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Old Dec 27, 2004, 9:47 PM   #1
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~After post processing I normally save to TIFF. I normally make a JPEG out of theTIFF, but I still keep the TIFF. Is it best to keep the TIFF or the originial RAW as my digital "negative"?~

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Old Dec 28, 2004, 9:19 AM   #2
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There is valid mixed opinions on this.
The RAW is really the most unprocessed version of the image. So it should be kept. Plus, it's possible that a better RAW converter will come along and you'll want to reconvert the images. If that sounds strange, one already exists. The RAW converter built into breezebrowser does a better job than the one in PhotoShop CS (the PS one is the one that the camera maker wrote, but the breezebrowser one is their own converter. I've done tests, it does a better, but slower, job.)

But you might run into the problem in the future that the RAW converter doesn't work on your machine any more. What if, in 3 windows version from now, it doesn't run on that system... and the camera maker doesn't produce a new version that does? They don't document their format well (or at all) so you could be out of luck... all those pictures an no way to view them. TIFF is a standard format. You can find a document saying exactly how to decode them. So as long as that documentation is out there you should be able to find a viewer.

Personally, I save the RAW and don't make a TIFF out of it. I probably should (and save both).... but I don't.

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Old Dec 28, 2004, 10:04 AM   #3
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As eric s. mentioned, there are different viewpoints on this.

Personally, I'd suggestkeeping both the RAW file and a file in a different format.

Just to confuse things even more, Adobe announced a new DNG (Digital Negative) standard for storing RAW images. You can read more about it here:


Of course, even this is controversial.

David Coffin (the author of dcraw.c) sent me some comments about DNG a while back. He said to feel free to quote him. For those of you that are not familiar with dcraw.c, you can read more about it at http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/

Many commercial products that provide RAW conversion are based at least in some part on David's work.

David Coffin Wrote:
I think Adobe's DNG idea is well-intentioned, but suffers from two serious flaws:

First, why would camera makers want to change their raw formats? Compatibility leads to commoditization,and that leads to competition based on price alone. Great for consumers, terrible for producers.

Second, this format cannot anticipate innovations that haven't happened yet. When new sensors appear, the standard must be updated, along with the software that implements it.

There is only one way to guarantee that a digital archive will be readable in fifty years. For any non-text files, it must include decoding software as human-readable source code. If the decoder is written in a language other than C, it would be prudent to include an interpreter for that language, written in C.

Dcraw already fills this role. When the first DNG camera is available, dcraw.c will support it as one more raw format among many.
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