Camera raw file formats contain unprocessed data from a digital camera’s sensor. Most camera manufacturers save image data in a proprietary camera format. Lightroom reads the data from most cameras and processes it into a full-color photo. You use the controls in the Develop module to process and interpret the raw image data for your photo.
For a full list of supported cameras and lens profiles, see these resources:
The Digital Negative (DNG) is a publicly available archival format for raw files generated by digital cameras. DNG addresses the lack of an open standard for the raw files created by individual camera models, helping ensure that photographers will be able to access their files in the future. You can convert proprietary raw files to DNG from within Lightroom. For more information about the Digital Negative (DNG) file format, visit www.adobe.com/dng. You’ll find comprehensive information and a link to a user forum. Lightroom can import 32-bit DNG images.
Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF, TIF) is used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms. TIFF is a flexible bitmap image format supported by virtually all paint, image-editing, and page-layout applications. Also, virtually all desktop scanners can produce TIFF images. Lightroom supports large documents saved in TIFF format (up to 65,000 pixels per side). However, most other applications, including older versions of Photoshop (pre-Photoshop CS), do not support documents with file sizes greater than 2 GB. Lightroom can import 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit TIFF images.
The TIFF format provides greater compression and industry compatibility than Photoshop format (PSD), and is the recommended format for exchanging files between Lightroom and Photoshop. In Lightroom, you can export TIFF image files with a bit depth of 8 bits or 16 bits per channel.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format is commonly used to display photographs and other continuous-tone images in web photo galleries, slide shows, presentations, and other online services. JPEG retains all color information in an RGB image but compresses file size by selectively discarding data. A JPEG image is automatically decompressed when opened. In most cases, the Best Quality setting produces a result indistinguishable from the original.
Photoshop format (PSD) is the standard Photoshop file format. To import and work with a multi-layered PSD file in Lightroom, the file must be saved in Photoshop with the Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility preference turned on. You’ll find the option in the Photoshop file handling preferences. Lightroom imports and saves PSD files with a bit depth of 8 bits or 16 bits per channel. To work with 32-bit images in Lightroom, save your file as TIFF.
Developed as a patent-free alternative to GIF, Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format is used for lossless compression and for display of images on the web. Unlike GIF, PNG supports 24‑bit images and produces background transparency without jagged edges; however, some web browsers do not support PNG images. PNG format supports RGB, Indexed Color, Grayscale, and Bitmap mode images without alpha channels. PNG preserves transparency in grayscale and RGB images.
Lightroom does not support the following types of files:
- Adobe Illustrator
- Nikon scanner NEF
- Files with dimensions greater than 65,000 pixels per side or larger than 512 megapixels.
To import photos from a scanner, use your scanner’s software to scan to TIFF or DNG format, and then import those files into Lightroom.