Why Use Camera Raw?

The camera raw format keeps all the information captured by the camera, so editing in camera raw gives maximum flexibility and accuracy. For example, changing brightness or sharpness applies to the original pixels.

When a camera raw file is processed then saved in the original format from the camera-raw editor, the original file is not changed. Instead, the editing information is saved with the original file, so the editing changes are applied when the raw file is again loaded. This makes it possible to easily go back to the original and start again. Since most camera raw file formats are not set up to save this additional "meta-data," instead it is saved in an auxiliary file, sometimes called a "side-car" in *.xmp format. You can also save from the raw editor into *.dng format. This is a camera raw format developed by adobe and used by a few camera manufacturers. It saves the meta-data in the same file so the side-car is not needed. The recent Adobe program for photography, Lightroom-2, can do all its processing in the *.dng format.

After a camera raw file has the basic processing done in the raw editor, you may open it for processing in P.E. After that processing, it is best to save in *.PSD format, which keeps the editing information, at least until a final save for the final product, possibly in high quality jpeg format. The original camera raw file and sidecar are also still saved, but do not include the P.E editing.