Cons

• RAW files take up more space on your camera's memory card.

• Require a degree of post processing via photo editing software in order to convert the image into an editable file such as a JPEG, TIFF or PSD (Photoshop Document).

• RAW file editing software does have a 'learning curve' in order to process and for the uninitiated this may be intimidating at first.

Many people choose to shoot in JPEG because it is a universal format that can be immediately downloaded from the camera and shared via email in less than a minute.

RAW files require an additional step — they need to be processed in a RAW converter program like Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop Elements or CS.

RAW files will not open

I'm sure that all of us have at some time been frustrated to find that we cannot open our RAW files in our RAW converter. A pop-up box appears with the classic.

'Could not complete your request because Photoshop does not recognise this type of file'.

RAW files not only vary between camera manufacturers but also from model to model of camera. For example a RAW file from an early Nikon D100 camera will have the same NEF extension (Nikon Electronic Format) as any other modern Nikon SLR, but the file information and the way it is interpreted is different. That is why Adobe, and all other makers of RAW conversion software, has to update its RAW converter to support a new SLR when it is launched, otherwise the RAW files from the latest model cannot be read.

All camera updates of this nature can be downloaded directly from Adobe's website with Camera RAW 5.2 being the latest current update at the time of writing. This update offers a broad range of support for the majority of SLRs (and some compacts). It can be downloaded at: www. adobe.com/products/photoshop/cameraraw.html

The DNG (Digital Negative) File

In an effort to standardise the RAW format, Adobe have created DNG as a universal RAW file. The effect of this is to convert your RAW file into a DNG file, which in turn saves all the camera's RAW data without being camera make/model specific. This allows software makers to concentrate on tweaking their software rather than writing new RAW compatibility modules every time a new camera is introduced. The idea is that you only need one converter for each new RAW format. When you then convert a RAW to DNG, any software that supports DNG can use it.

For further reading on DNG files visit the link below: http://reviews. photographyreview.com/blog/dng-format-for-the-future

My thanks to Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer, authors of The Photoshop Lightroom 2 Workbook, for the following information regarding this topic.

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