Chapter in this post:
I've been a fan of RAW photography for a long time. Anyone who has ever noticed how much you can get out of photos in this format with Lightroom or other image processing with RAW import will understand me.
Recently I also have two photo apps on my iPhone, Halide and Manual, to snap photos in RAW format and save them in the camera roll. I do not want to go into any further detail here about the advantages of the apps. They can both be recommended as RAW photo apps. Anyone who would like a little more information can feel free to use the post "RAW photos with the iPhone camera" Continue reading.
But what made me want to make this post is the fact that I just couldn't get any RAW photos out of the Photos app on the Mac. I am using the iCloud Photo Library and have NOT turned on the "Optimize Mac Storage" option. This means that the originals are always locally on my Mac in the photo library.
Usually you can get the photos "out" by dragging and dropping them onto the desk. Then a JPG appears on the desktop and you can continue working in Lightroom or Photoshop with it, if you like.
In this case, however, a RAW file with the file extension .DNG should appear on the desktop, but this did not happen. Instead a file came up with the correct name, but with a ".JPG" at the end. If you call up the information about this photo in the Photos app, the filename is clearly "5.dng" and not "5.jpg". So what's wrong?
The Apple Support Document "RAW images in Photos and iCloud Photo Library"Is not very helpful, by the way. It only explains that the RAW photos are saved in the media library. How to get them out is not explained. But that's what this post is for! ;-)
But we learn something from the support article at Apple: If you have activated the "Optimize Mac memory" option in the Photos app, only small JPGs end up in the local photo library. How to get the RAW photos is even more questionable ... and of course not explained.
I also learn every day ... among other things, that you don't have to go the cumbersome way via the export menu, as I will describe below. Instead, hold down the ALT key and then drag and drop the selected photos onto the desk. This is how the originals end up there and not the converted JPG files.
I tried around for a long time and almost wrote to the developer of the "Manual" app. But shortly before sending the mail, I came across the solution. You mustn't use the drag-and-drop method, you have to save the image file in the Photos app on the Mac via the menu "File" -> "Export" and then "Save unedited original for 1 photo".
If you then look in the selected folder for the backup, the corresponding DNG files can be found there! Yippie!
The whole thing also works with the new "HEIC" image format in which Apple's own photo app on the iPhone has been saving its photos for some time. If you drag and drop these onto the desk, they are also converted into JPGs, which of course leads to a deterioration in the image quality.
So if you want to have the highest image quality before throwing the files into the image processing of your choice, you should use the export of the "unedited original". This is the only way to prevent the funny conversion into JPGs, which are always lossy due to the compression.
I hope this post has helped you to work with the RAW data. If you have any tips that would be a nice addition to the article, please comment below. I am happy to expand this guide.
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Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.