Why the hell can't I open .raw files in rawtherapee?

I thought the software would allow you to view and edit .raw files, I mean it’s called rawtherapee, yet all I can open are .jpg files. I have many .raw as well as .png files on my desktop, yet all the program sees are the .jpgs. Why is there no easy way to just quickly import an image? I thought that would be a pretty basic feature for a program

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I know nothing about rawtherapee.

The .raw extension is used for many different purposes. Oddly, it is not usually used for “raw” camera files (as far as I know). Instead, it is sometimes used for image files that contain no header, so the file contains just pixel data. Something else needs to specify the metadata that would normally go in a header, such as image width and height, number of channels, bits per channel per pixel, and so on.


It’s a pity that you apparently have only .raw and .jpg files on your machine.

My RawTherapee opens many other kinds of raw files, for example .RW2 from my Panasonic G1 or G9 but as you say not .raw from my LX1. It even opens Foveon .X3F files but not perfectly.

The general solution is to convert odd raw formats with the camera’s proprietary converter and to export them as 16-bit ProPhoto TIFFs to your editor of choice


I have never heard of a .raw file. What is the source of these files? Are they image files from a camera? If so what camera and model?

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Nevertheless, .raw files exist.


Do you know the raw file type for the Panasonic Lumix “DMC-LX1”?


The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 uses the “.RAW” file extension for its raw image files. This is one of the instances where Panasonic used the “.RAW” extension directly, which is less common compared to their later models that typically use “.RW2”.


Thanks. Is the “.RAW” an early raw file extension - perhaps no longer popular?


Yes, that’s correct. The “.RAW” file extension was used by some early digital cameras, including models from Panasonic like the Lumix DMC-LX1. This usage was before more standardized and unique RAW file extensions became common. Over time, manufacturers developed their own proprietary RAW formats with distinct file extensions to better support the specific features and capabilities of their camera models. For example, Panasonic later shifted to using “.RW2” for their RAW files.

The move to unique file extensions such as “.NEF” for Nikon, “.CR2” for Canon, and “.ARW” for Sony helps in optimizing compatibility with photo editing software and enhances file management systems specific to each brand’s processing needs. The “.RAW” extension is relatively rare today and is not commonly used by newer camera models.

thanks for the explanation @xpatUSA. I wonder if @yeahman could supply an image file for use to test out? The subject wouldn’t be important.

Years (decades) ago there was a format with the extension “raw”, but it wasn’t a digital camera raw file. Maybe that’s what they are?

Have you confirmed the appropriate filename extensions are enabled (or even added) in Preferences | File Browser | Parsed Extensions? Even if a file format is supported, it won’t be displayed in the browser unless it’s enabled in this list.


I’m pretty sure I’ve seen raw audio with no metadata. I think one of the Raspberry Pi camera utilities saves raw image data with no metadata and names the file .raw

As others have pointed out, unless a “.RAW” file has a metadata header in a known/recognizable/detectable format (such as some Panasonic cameras), RawTherapee doesn’t have enough information to do anything with it - it doesn’t know the bit depth, endianness, black point or white point, appropriate color transformation, color filter array pattern, or even the image width/height.

PNG parsing is disabled by default, it has been for so long that whatever the reason why is lost to history.

I think there’s no point in discussing this until @yeahman tells us what camera the files come from (and if it’s one of the supported cameras, according to the documentation), and whether .raw is enabled as described in: Why the hell can't I open .raw files in rawtherapee? - #8 by lphilpot.

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Not sure what that means … My DMC-LX1 is a digital camera and it produces .raw files also .tiff also .jpg.

Got my LX1 battery charging as we speak. All I have to do next is remember how set the output to .raw …

Well, if rawtherapee claims lumix lx1 support, and the lx1 produces those files in camera , it should support them I guess.

Looking at a dpreview review of the lx1, it indeed produces files with the .raw extension.

But is it in the supporter list ? Can’t easily check from a phone

Bildschirmfoto vom 2024-04-27 16-09-46

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@yeahman: Please post one of your .raw files, and tell us whatever you can about the file: did it come from a digital camera? If so, what make/model camera? Or did it come from some other software?

I’m not @yeahman but:-

Here: http://kronometric.org/phot/temp/P1000380.RAW

Opened in my RT 5.8 …

… and it just now opened a PNG after I checked the png box in prefs.

@xpatUSA: Yes. I suspect (but I don’t know) that @yeahman’s .raw files are not “raw” files from a camera. Until we can examine a file, we can only guess.

Thanks to everyone for correcting my partial mistake: I have learned that the .raw extension is used for some camera raw files.


Was my first assumption too to be honest. “Raw is not uncompressed bmp without a header when talking about cameras”

Indeed it is:

The was an image format which used that extension but it wasn’t a digital camera raw file. It was in the middle '80s maybe?