RAW decoding/processing library

Photographers using digital cameras know that shooting using the RAW format, where "raw" data from the camera matrix are saved to file, provides the highest flexibility for further processing. At the same time,
photographers and pre-press specialists still can't enjoy the full potential of the RAW format, since most popular converters significantly and irreparably impair the quality of the initial material.

Developers willing to get rid of this sad discrepancy run into a vast diversity of formats and either have to waste time and effort on studying them, or confine themselves to a limited set of formats,
or use ready solutions for extracting RAW data for furher manipulations and rendering into an image.

Most software products for RAW file processing extract the input data using code that is based on the source of the dcraw utility by Dave Coffin.

For all its evident advantages, however, dcraw is a command-line utility rather than a software library. As a result, one should either make his or her library from it (and many developers, including Adobe, have followed this way) or use the dcraw command line (which is far from convenient, too).

In addition, dcraw tampers the data at the extraction stage and does not extract some of important parameters from the RAW file, thus impairing the quality of the result.

On the basis of the above reasoning, the authors have decided to create the LibRaw library, which is presented on this site.

LibRaw is intended to be used in any software that involves RAW file processing for a variety of purposes: RAW converters, data analyzers, panorama
stitchers, noise suppressors, etc.

LibRaw is free and distributed in source code under the terms of GNU GPL v2 (or later). Licensing under other terms is also possible for free; please contact the authors.

About This Site

Besides developers using LibRaw (and possibly our future software), we'll be glad to see the other readers and contributors to this Web site:

  • authors willing to publish their papers on image processing, color management, specific features of digital photographing, and other similar issues
  • photography enthusiasts willing to understand how all these things work
  • computer programmers (programmers interested in photography, photographers interested in programming...) willing to announce their products.