Digital cameras generally can save images in either the JPEG format or in a manufacturer-specific RAW image format. JPEG is a standard format and results in very compressed images so that you can store large numbers of images on your camera’s memory card, but not at the very best quality. RAW images are named that as they are the immediate result of the camera’s sensors and not processed at all. Although this format is not suitable for sharing with other people and most computer applications will not be able to read it, nevertheless it has a number of advantages.
Similar to photographic negatives, RAW images can support a wider dynamic range and broader color gamut than is possible to display on a computer monitor. These images eventually will likely need to be developed and converted to a more standard format for working with online or sharing with others. However, prior to doing that, the greater detail of the format leaves a broader scope for manipulating the image.