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It's all about the format - unleashing the power of RAW aerial photography

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Current one-shot, handheld Digital Still Cameras (DSCs) generally offer different file formats to save the captured frames: Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), RAW and/or Tag(ged) Image File Format (TIFF). Although the JPEG file format is the most commonly used file format worldwide, it is incapable of storing all original data, something that also occurs, to a certain extent, for large TIFF files. Therefore, most professional photographers prefer shooting RAW files, often described as the digital photography's equivalent of a film negative. As a RAW file contains the absolute maximum amount of information and original data generated by the sensor, it is the only scientifically justifiable file format. In addition, its tremendous flexibility in both processing and post-processing also makes it beneficial from a workflow and image quality point of view. On the other hand, large file sizes, the required software and proprietary file formats remain hurdles that are often too difficult to overcome for many photographers. Aerial photographers who shoot with handheld DSCs should be familiar with both RAW and other file formats, as their implications cannot be neglected. By outlining the complete process from photon capture to the generation of pixel values, additionally illustrated by real-world examples, the advantages and particularities of RAW aerial photography should become clear.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Archaeology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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