What Kind of a File Does a Digital Camera Create?

If you are experimenting with a camera, you may be wondering what kind of file does a digital camera create. The best digital cameras, after all, create files that can be shared online, on computers, and with smartphones. Here is information regarding the types of files cameras create.


  • Digicams create different types of files that contain image data, depending on your camera and its settings.
  • The most detailed image files are called RAW format files. These boast ultra-high levels of detail but are extremely large.
  • JPEG files are also common. JPEGs are much smaller than RAW photos, though the detail does take a slight hit.

What is a Digital Camera File?

Before you can understand what kind of files a digicam creates, it can be helpful to understand what a digital camera file is and how they are stored. A digital camera is a packet of information similar to any file found on any digital or electronic device. As for storage, most digital cameras ship with a fair amount of built-in storage space and most can integrate with SD cards for increased storage. As an aside, the first thing you should do when wondering “what to do when a digital camera gets wet” is to remove any storage cards.

Insider Tip

Go to the settings of your camera to change what type of file photos will be saved as.

What Kind of Files do Digital Cameras Save Photos as?

Short answer? There are a few different primary file types that digital cameras use to store photos. Not all digital cameras are created equal, which is something consumers realize when asking what kind of batteries do digital cameras use. Here are a few of the common file types used by digital cameras.

RAW Files

This is the holy grail of digital images. RAW format files are completely uncompressed and feature the raw image as it was originally created by the camera’s lens and digital sensors. RAW files boast much more detail than any kind of compressed file and are often the go-to choice for creative professionals, such as those that work in Adobe Photoshop. Unfortunately, with all of this added detail comes added size. RAW files are extremely large and can take up a lot of space on your camera’s SD card and built-in storage.

JPEG and Other Compressed File Types

Most of the time, digital cams shoot in JPEG (joint photographic experts group) and similar compressed file types. They do this to conserve storage space. JPEGs may not be quite as detailed as raw files, but they are much smaller, meaning that average memory cards can hold hundreds and even thousands of JPG photos, whereas that same card could only hold a handful of raw file photos.


What is the best format to scan old photos?

The most common file formats for scanning old photos are JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and GIF.

What file type is used on the Internet?

When it comes to image file formats online, you are likely to see JPEGs, as they offer a decent image quality at a small size. Some sites will use RAW image files when it comes to grayscale images, however. You could also run into PNG files, which stands for portable network graphics.

How do I connect a digital camera to my computer?

Use Bluetooth, the cloud, or an analog cable to connect your camera to your computer. You may choose the RAW file format, for raw images, or jpegs.

STAT: The JPEG compression algorithm was invented by a team of researchers in 1992. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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