Photographers Everywhere Are Stunned After Raw Tests Positive for Compression

Photographers Everywhere Are Stunned After Raw Tests Positive for Compression

There is nothing sacred anymore. The one file format agreed upon and standardized across the industry for its minimally processed data directly from the camera sensor has apparently been the target of a recent investigation headed up by Film Lovers Association of North America. There is evidence that while the raw file format advertises and guarantees lossless capturing, about six years ago it started using compression from time to time. This became a habit, and before Raw knew it, it was staying up until sunrise with known compressors like JPG and GIF. PNG recently released a statement condemning the fellow format's recent actions saying "it is like I don't even know who Raw is anymore."

Raw spoke of constant feelings of inadequacy due to complaints about its large file size and dull looks. Supposedly it all began when Raw asked if it could be printed and all the other formats laughed. Even the nickname of "digital negative" made it hard to have a good outlook on things, complained Raw. While other formats had simple clear extensions like .JPG and .TIFF, Raw has always carried an identity crisis with it depending on the camera manufacturer. Canons use .CR2, Nikons are .NEF, and Hasselblad digitals use .3FR files.

There are some conspiracy theorists that think all the trouble started when Sony, Canon, and Nikon started encrypting some of the data contained in the file in an attempt to block third-party apps from accessing their metadata. This tampering with the inner workings of raw apparently left it feeling different and never quite itself. The lines were further blurred when Nikon began allowing its users to choose between a raw with no compression, lossless compression (oxymoron?), or lossy compression. In the end, the fall of raw may be all of our faults.

Could the Illuminati be involved?

So the obvious question is how do we know if our raw has been using and what treatments are available? Beyond the obvious signs like small file size or poor image quality, it can be difficult to identify a clean raw from a compression-crazed raw. Photography software leader Adobe has stepped in and promised to release a compress-ilizer by early next week. If the tool does detect compression it has a re-raw-inator function that should restore in any missing information and quality. Some fear these restored raw files might be a cause for concern, but this group is mostly isolated to people who have read or seen "Pet Cemetery" recently.

Do you trust your raws? Do any of the excuses or struggles make it OK to start using compression? That will be up to each individual user and the courts of public opinion. I for one will always stand by raw. Or .DNG, or .ARW, or should we do .RW2? Oh never mind, can we get a real standard with one name that won't be tempted by the evils of stardom?

Log in or register to post comments


marknie's picture

It's mis leading to tell people that A Raw file comes directly from the sensor. That is not true.

Warren An's picture

Happy April Fools Day!

Richard Keeling's picture


Anonymous's picture


Warren An's picture

Happy April Fools Day!

Harrison Barden's picture

"Could the Illuminati be involved" lol

David Mawson's picture

>> lossless compression (oxymoron?)

It's depressing that even in a (depressingly unfunny) joke article someone can write this.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

That kind of has a ring to it. The review headline tomorrow: "sad excuse for a writer publishes a depressingly unfunny joke article and disappoints hundreds..."
Sorry you didn't like but thanks for checking out!

David Mawson's picture

Unfunny is one thing - lots of people are naturally unfunny and there's no particular reason to believe that they chose to be. But encouraging the widely held belief that compression can't be lossless is irresponsible.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

David "jumbo shrimp" is an oxymoron. It doesn't mean they don't exist. The word points out the juxtaposition of the two terms.

David Mawson's picture

Michael - There is no juxtaposition between "lossless" and "compression". Jumbo shrimp and military intelligence are oxymorons; lossless compression is not. There is compression that is lossless and there is compression that has loss, just as there are cars that are convertibles and cars that are not convertibles. This is in fact the point...

Mike Dixon's picture

Um, yeah, ever heard of a Zip file? A PNG File? These are compressed, but lossless.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

"jumbo shrimp" exist. "lossless compression" exists. I was simple pointing out the juxtaposition (or arguably lack thereof) of the words.

David Mawson's picture

If you don't whether you are pointing a juxtaposition or the lack of the same, open a dictionary before writing the sentence.

Once again, what you wrote would reinforce the commonly held idea that compression can't be lossless. Making people less well-informed is a bad thing.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

In an April Fool's joke article I put "(oxymoron?)" next to lossless compression which still makes sense to me. Thanks for the extra comments.

BTW - It looks like I'm not the first one to state this so have at them!

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I posted a fake camera release on my Instagram that was spot on witty AND thought provoking, I wish you'd seen it. There's always next year.
Thanks for reading either way :)

Marko Haka's picture

While it's written in a funny way, I was mostly confused what the message was. I mean most RAW formats have been compressed for years. I can see how JPG would make for bad company with it's lossy compression but GIF and PNG are lossless just as most raws are.

And I dont understand Nikon insisting on offering uncompressed raw as it only hurts the user.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Lol I promise there was no message. Just tongue and cheek fun. Thanks for reading!

Rob Mynard's picture

The D750 doesn't offer Uncompressed Raw

GI PAMPERIEN's picture

Very cute this "story" is bullshit. Just present the unadulterated facts, please. An article like this is very important info. Keep it straight.

J.M. Taggart's picture

Buffalo City Hall looking pretty amazing right there

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Thanks for noticing! :)

Felix Wu's picture

I thought it's funny

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Thank you Felix!

Ben Saunders's picture

No mention of "fake" compression?? Ha!

William Masters's picture

So, when it tested positive, it peed in a cup for a sample? haha!

Adeel Jawed's picture

WOW!!! I believe people are so focused on things and busy being "right" all the time, they can't appreciate light hearted humour! Good job Michael, I honestly enjoyed it!

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Thanks for saying so Adeel!