Exporting RAWS: Tiffs or PSD?


TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2005
Reaction score
Irvine, Orange County, CA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I was just curious what file folks tend to export their RAW files to? I know I see tiff mentioned a lot on the boards and was wondering if there was any advantage to them over PSD files and vice versa. I usually end up as a PSD file because after Nikon Capture I pull it into photoshop. But there must be some reason so many folks use tiffs so I was wondering what the pros/cons were for each since they are both a loss-less format.
I often use PSD as well, but I think that TIFF files are smaller than PSD files...which can get to an extremely large file size.
I think one of the main reasons people like saving as tiff is that its more universaly excepted by 'other' software. I believe it keeps its versitility when using colour spaces etc aswell. I always use to save tiffs just as high rez flattend images (cuz the earlier versions didn't support layers), but all the recent versions of ps support layers so its up to the individual really. I still prefer psd to back up an image i think i might return to at some point, however if i feel the image is as good as im going to get it, i'll flatten it and save as tiff to reduce file size.

Edit: including layers in a tiff may also give other software difficulties when opening, not as universal as a flattend one, but then some will automatically flatten them which you can't do with a psd.
TIFFs are huge, yet they've already been processed from RAW. So they dont offer the flexibility of RAW, nor the space-saving compression of a JPEG. I am an avid Photoshop user. As such I find TIFFs to be the "worst" of all worlds for me, but I have one specific use for them in my workflow:

I shoot in RAW, and then convert to PSD because I like Photoshop and the other Adobe applications. I use TIFF only to print, which means I only convert to TIFF after I collapsed the layers and sharpened. I use JPEG for internet purposes only.



This way I always have my RAW files, and know when I see PSD that I've done some work on it, and can do more. If I see a TIFF or a JPEG I know there's something final about it.

I also keep these different files in various sub-folders to help me manage it even further.
No, not really. It's really just a personal quirk. By saving a TIFF (with all layers collapsed) it is a simple way to remind myself that I considered that particular file "final" at some point. As long as I see PSD I know that it has its layers in tact, that it is a work in progress, and not for public consumption - so to speak.

Most reactions