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The Digital Photography Workflow Handbook by Uwe Steinmueller, Juergen Gulbins

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Important Aspects of RAW Processing

Non-destructive Editing

All of the RAW converters listed here edit non-destructively. This means that they do not alter the original image file, but instead store changes made to the image in a separate file or in a database for all managed images (or both).[73] This not only preserves the original data, but also makes it simple to produce a new version of an image for processing. This is an important aspect of working with RAW image files, and the principle has now been adopted by some image processing programs for other file formats. Most of the RAW converters mentioned here can also process JPEG and TIFF files non-destructively.

The additional settings files are very small – typically between 5 and 15 kB per ...

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