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dcraw's (and LibRaw's)

dcraw's (and LibRaw's) internal structures are 'one size fits all': image[][4] can fit all 'life types' of RAWs (1-color bayer, 3-color foveon, 4-color Sinar 4-shot). Sure, ~99% of RAW images are simply bayer-pattern RGB, but we should not ignore remaining 1%.

If you want to save memory, you can use 'half-size' processing on unpack() stage. In this case each 4 pixels of raw data are packed into one image[][4] item. You should take in account the exact bayer pattern layout to restore original pixel position.

-- Alex Tutubalin @LibRaw LLC