RAW and Output File Formats

Raw / Output / Batch / EIP / IIQ / JPEG

Find out which file format suits your needs. Phase One enables users to output files into a number of different formats including TIFF, DNG, PNG, PSD and four types of JPEG.

Choose a file format

  1. Go to the Output Tool Tab.

  2. In the Process Recipe tool, select one of the options from the Format drop down menu.

  3. It is also possible to select either 8 or 16 bit with some of the file formats. (It will automatically be disabled for incompatible image file formats).

Find out more on processing here.

File format options

File format output options

  • JPEG is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is a compressed format that in definition is a lossy-format, which means you lose some of the original information in the image file but benefit by having a much smaller file than TIFF or RAW. 
  • The JPEG QuickProof™ format option creates images for evaluation purposes. Capture One creates the image file from the proxy file and the settings file without additional calculations or filters. JPEG QuickProof should not be considered as a completed file; it is ideal for ultra quick evaluation purposes only.
  • JPEG XR (eXtended Range) delivers high-resolution files. It is a larger file size than a standard JPEG and supports lossless and lossy compression. It supports improved color accuracy with 16 bits per channel for a 48 bit image.
  • JPEG 2000 is, in essence, an improved file format standard that was developed with the aim to superseding the original JPEG in the year 2000. It delivers better compression of images by up to 20% according to the Joint Photographic Experts Group. (Source: www.jpeg.org)
  • TIFF stands for Tagged Image File Format. It is a popular lossless format that provides high color depth. A TIFF is larger than a JPEG but are ideal to preserve maximum quality. A TIFF also enables the option of 16 bit output per channel.
  • The DNG (Digital Negative) format in Capture One, in essence, creates a new RAW file. There are no options for size or compression with this format. Alterations made in Capture One to the metadata and original (As Shot) White Balance will be saved – this does not affect image quality. All other changes made to an image will be discarded when creating the DNG file.
  • PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics and employs lossless data compression. PNG is commonly associated with Internet usage. It does not support color spaces such as CMYK. A PSD (Photoshop Document) is fully compatible with imaging editing procedures in Photoshop.
  • A PSD file output using Capture One is, in essence, a flattened image file and has no adjustments layers that have been applied in the Local Adjustments tool tab.

Tip: Please check file format compatibility with other software solutions. It is worth noting that many image editing programs will need a plug-in to support different formats such as JPEG XR and JPEG 2000.


Phase One digital back users can choose between storing their tethered captures in two different types of compressed RAW files. (The format for the captures can be set using the Camera tool in the Capture tab).

IIQ RAW stands for Intelligent Image Quality RAW. It is an intelligent way of turning the full 16 bit image data captured by the camera into a compact RAW file format.

The IIQ Large RAW format is unique because it is completely lossless. IIQ RAW Large can be processed into a 16 bit TIFF, even though it is only half the size of a traditional RAW file.

The IIQ Small RAW format is based on the full 16 bit data that is captured by the digital back’s CCD. However, unlike IIQ RAW Large, it is not 100% lossless. Most users will not notice any quality difference between the two file formats especially if the IIQ RAW Small format capture is well exposed and set on a low ISO rating.

Learn more

Capture One and RAW

RAW data is generated when light is received by the photodiodes on a sensor. Depending on the intensity of the light a stronger or weaker signal is generated. This data is read off and stored as unprocessed data on the memory card.

A RAW file contains more than one set of data. A DSLR file contains calibrated RAW data plus the file header. A digital back file contains the actual raw data, calibration data for the digital back files and the file header information.

The file header is kept separate from the image data in digital back raw files. The file header contains what is described as metadata; data about data. Metadata is information recorded by the camera at the time of capture and consists of the following:

  • Image Thumbnail (usually a TIFF, but sometimes a JPEG)
  • Time/Date
  • ISO
  • Exposure information
  • White Balance (that the image was shot at)
  • Contrast curve
  • Recorded pixel size
  • Camera data (shutter speed/aperture/focal length etc)

More than 100 pieces of data are stored together.

The White Balance determines how the file will look when Capture One creates the preview. The ISO, exposure data and camera model information are used to calculate the noise reduction used by Capture One.

Capture One de-mosaic the RAW-file information from the Beyer filter mounted onto the sensor to produce image files with three colors per pixel. This process uses an extremely sophisticated and patented algorithm.

The in-camera ISO and White Balance settings are applied to the image together with the formula developed for Capture One when the preview is created and displayed in the Viewer. One of the really big advantages with RAW files is the ability to change the white balance after the image has been captured – this is often not possible with lossy formats like JPEG.

Once the preview file has been produced, nearly all the variables can be changed such as Contrast Curves, Sharpening and White Balance. All changes are applied to the image when the preview is created by Capture One and displayed in the Viewer.

The adjustments made to the image in Capture One are applied to the preview and added to a settings file. No changes are made to the RAW data at any time.

Once the process button is pressed, RAW data is processed using the settings file. At this point the true pixel-based image is formed and output to specific dimensions.


Many DSLR and smaller digital cameras can create a JPEG at very high quality. These files can generally be further adjusted and improved in Capture One. Capture One supports viewing and editing of JPEG (RGB) and TIFF (RGB) files. It might not be possible to edit files in Capture One if you have JPEGs or TIFFs rendered in CMYK or Gray Scale.

JPEG and TIFF are files that have already been processed to a certain level, either by a camera’s internal software or in conversion software such as Capture One. When Capture One locates a file, the White Balance (WB) setting is determined by the camera that captured the image or by the conversion software that originally created the file. The White Balance setting can be adjusted. But note, a JPEG and TIFF file usually has a significantly smaller dynamic range compared to RAW capture. This might result in burned out or darkened areas when the auto White Balance is applied or if the White Balance Picker tool is used to set White Balance.