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What is it, exactly, that happens inside your camera just after you take a photograph?  Well it depends of course if you are shooting JPEG files or RAW files.  All digital SLR cameras (and some point and shoots) are capable of taking two image formats – JPEG which is the indsutry standard and universally readable image format, but also what we call a proprietary RAW file which contains a great deal more of image data and information for performing editing operations to the image later on.

The JPEG Scoop

If you shoot JPEG, the camera performs processing to the image before your end result is written to your memory card.  In addition to just reading the exposure of the scene and determining the proper settings, post-capture, the camera renders certain parameters of the image based on what shooting mode you might have been in, or options you have set in the camera.  The in-camera processing includes adjusting white balance, adjusting contrast, saturation and sharpness in the image and lastly, the JPEG file becomes compressed meaning: whatever information the camera decides is no longer necessary, it throws out.

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