Welcome to OpenRAW

Digital Image Preservation Through Open Documentation

In 2005, Juergen Specht and the members of his mailing list D1scussion, began to raise questions and concerns of the direction and difficulties associated with proprietary RAW files introduced by camera makers.

As the seriousness of the issue was quickly realized, they founded an initiative called OpenRAW, with the goal of encouraging image preservation and give creative choice of how images are processed to the creators of the images.

After the opening of the OpenRAW website and catching the media's attention on the serious issues of proprietary digital camera RAW files, the OpenRAW initiative immediately sparked outcries from photographers all over the world and sent shockwaves to camera manufacturers. You can find the, still up-to-date, article written by Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape (RIP) and Juergen Specht here: https://www.openraw.org/info/index.html

OpenRAW continued to build its case with camera manufacturers and in 2006 they conducted the largest survey (even to this day) on photographers and their RAW usage. You can find the results of "The 2006 RAW Survey - A Report on the Experiences, Requirements, Beliefs, and Preferences of Photographers and Imaging Professionals regarding RAW Imaging Technology" here or here: https://www.openraw.org/files/2006rawsurveyreport.pdf (PDF version).

Over 19,000 photographers took part in a very detailed and lengthy survey and the results, to say the least, were ground shaking.

The survey results were discussed in detail with camera manufacturers, software companies and photo industry professionals, which directly led to camera manufacturers enabling interoperability of their specific RAW formats with software companies for the convenience of end users. This was a huge win for all photographers worldwide and for OpenRAW.

While the final goal of "Open Documentation" has not yet been reached, the OpenRAW initiative and the survey results have triggered the ongoing development of an "Open" RAW standard which is in the final stages of becoming a reality.

OpenRAW had a lot of impact on the world of photography and it continues to aim at improving the situation for photographers and their photographs for years to come.

Useful Facts and Resources:

  1. The archived original OpenRAW web site as started in 2005.
  2. The original "The RAW Problem" article by Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape (RIP) and Juergen Specht got published in 15 languages worldwide.
  3. The RAW Survey 2006 results (PDF file) based on participation from more than 19,000 photographers published by Calvin Jones and Juergen Specht.
  4. We would like to thank especially these two leaders and heroes of the "Open Documentation":
    • Dave Coffin's dcraw.c, a software library enabling to distract the image out of practically every proprietary RAW file.
    • Phil Harvey's ExifTool, a software tool to enable to read, write and edit meta information from most proprietary RAW files.

About the founder and owner

As well as leading the OpenRAW initiative, Juergen Specht is an active consultant for the international photo and Internet industry, pioneered digital photography with his mailing list D1scussion and challenged the status quo with his service Shakodo - The road to profitable photography.

Imprint / Impressum

Juergen Specht
Blumenstr. 45, D-10243 Berlin, Germany

Tel.: +49-151-52583028, Email: january{at}openraw{dot}org

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D1scussion (1999-2013) was the first digital community for digital photography and helped countless photographers to make the switch to digital.

Shakodo (2010-2013) was a unique Q&A Service, where photographers could freely discuss pricing for photography.