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Certain digital cameras are able to shoot both RAW and JPEG images at the same time. This means that there are two identical images saved to the card, one saved as a JPEG and one saved as a RAW file. Both will have the same base file name. Photo Mechanic is able to display these files in two ways:

  1. Both files are displayed as a single ‘combined’ thumbnail.
  2. Both files are displayed as two separate thumbnails

Prefs rawjpeg2.jpg

This can be selected in Preferences in the Contact Sheet tab where there is an option to Combine RAW+JPEG into a single thumbnail. The same setting can be made in the View menu. If unchecked, there will be two thumbs with identical file names, just different file extensions.

Prefs launchingraw.jpg

Also, in Preferences/Launching, there is a radio button to choose which of the pair is edited in an external editor when only one ‘combined’ thumb is displayed.

RAW+JPEG treats both images the same for the following actions:

  • Tagging
  • Soft rotation
  • Color Class
  • IPTC Captioning: by default, the caption from the JPEG is used as a source, but when saved, the caption is written to both files if possible
  • Renaming
  • Photoshelter (with specific options [you can choose to send both, just the JPEG, or just the RAW file])
  • Copy (with specific options [you can choose to copy both, just the JPEG, or just the RAW file])
  • FTP (with specific options [you can choose to send both, just the JPEG, or just the RAW file]).

In the following actions, the JPEG is used as a proxy for the RAW file:

  • Send photos as email
  • Printing
  • HTML export
  • Preview generation
  • Slide Show generation
  • Cropping
  • Text export
  • XML export
  • Variables expansion
  • Find
  • Find and Replace: but when fields are replaced and the IPTC record is updated, the RAW file is updated if possible.

Using the JPEG as a proxy file means that Photo Mechanic does not have to parse the RAW file itself, which is outside the scope of the software. It uses the JPEG data for all the above transformations and exports. Using a JPEG Proxy is like using a full resolution version of the RAW file, without having to actually process it.

RAW Rendering

Mac OS X 10.4 and later includes a RAW file processing facility. Photo Mechanic can take advantage of this and now includes an option to use RAW rendering to create Output such as Web Galleries, Save As, Emails etc.

PM raw.jpg

This will often give better color than using the embedded previews but at the expense of longer processing times. The Preferences Dialog above has options to use available JPEG files for Contact Sheets and Previews to speed up the display of images.

Using embedded JPEG previews in this way may result in differing colors between the Previews and the final output depending on the RAW processing settings.