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How to Compress RAW Photo Files and Save Space With Rawsie (Losslessly)

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Learn how to use Rawsie to compress your images without sacrificing quality in this quick tutorial.

Advanced Image Compression

Rawsie is an application that compresses your RAW photo files—without sacrificing image quality. Rawsie claims to be able to save you up to 80% of drive space. Because the photo files are smaller they load and save quicker, too, saving you rendering time in reviewing and post-production. The app is very user friendly and can work in tandem with your favourite programs, like Lightroom, or any others that support the .DNG file format.

It sounds like magic, and for those of us who aren’t software engineers, it kind of is. That being said Rawsie could really benefit photographers who find themselves constantly filling up external hard-drives. Rawsie calculates that if you are averaging 60,000 raw photos a year, those photos would take 15 drives at four terrabytes (4TB) each. With compression, Rawsie claims you could use just three. 

Rawsie is currently available for macOS, though there’s good news for PC users: a waiting list is available on the site. The pricing model has a variety of packages to choose from; free, subscription, and a one-time fee. The no-cost option allows you to compress 30 photos a day, with no commitment or entering credit card information. The pay-to-play options offer unlimited use, free updates and the promise of new cameras added regularly.

Not all cameras work with Rawsie. We've listed the current models at the bottom of the article, but check with Rawsie for up-to-date details about support for your camera.

How to Compress New Raw Photos With Rawsie

One of the best things about this app is how it easily fits into your workflow, even allowing you to compress straight from camera. The software is very straightforward and offers a nice user experience that easily integrates with your existing tools, but with all the perks of dealing with a much smaller file size.

Let’s do a walk-through of the process. Head over to Rawsie and download the version you’d like to try.

Offloading Your Images

There are a few interesting ways to use this program. Rawsie works with photos in the Lightroom catalogue system, and you can use Rawsie to compress images in your existing archive, if any changes to the files are written to XMP sidecar files (an industry standard). In this tutorial we're going to use the Optimize individual raw files mode to compress new images, as a step in the download process to get new photos from your camera.

Rawsie app import dialogueRawsie app import dialogueRawsie app import dialogue

Note that Rawsie requires the Adobe DNG Converter, a free program. Open Rawsie and it will check automatically for a recent version, then click Install to have Rawsie download what it needs.


Connect your camera to your computer, or insert the memory card into the reader.

Open the app and you’ll be presented with two options, one for Lightroom and one for individual files. Click to select Optimize individual raw files. To locate your images you can click Browse and navigate to them, or simply drop them from the finder onto the app.

Next, select your output options. Your output options allow you to choose where the compressed filed end up on your computer.

  1. If you use culling software, like Photo Mechanic, check Add full-size previews, and Rawsie will build previews of your images. This significantly speeds up image loading for your review process.
  2. Under Save compressed to, choose the folder for where you want to keep your pictures. To save the compressed files back to the same folder as your originals, choose Original Location Subfolders. Rawsie will create a subfolder for the compressed file in the same folder as the originals.
  3. Move originals allows you to move your original photos to another location. If you put this setting to Original Subfolders, Rawsie will move the original files into a subfolder in the same location after processing them. This option doesn't save any space immediately, but gives you a measure of security: you can wait, and delete the full-size raw files at some comfortable delay or when you need to free up space on the disk.

Then hit start and you are good to go! You can resume your normal file ingest process with Photo Mechanic, Lightroom, or whatever program you prefer. Rawsie really is that easy to use!

Camera Compatibility

As mentioned above, Rawsie has a growing catalogue of compatible cameras. As of publication, here are the camera models that are currently available:

SONY: a9 II, a6100, a7R IV, a6400, a7 III, a7R III, a9, a6500, a99 II, a6300, a7R II, a7S II, RX1R II, a7 II

CANON: EOS R6, EOS R5, EOS RP, EOS R, 6D Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 1D X Mark II, 5DS R, 5DS, 7D Mark II, 1D X, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II

NIKON: Z7 II, Z6, Z7, D850, D5, D4, D750, D810, D800, D800E, D700


DJI: Mavic Pro 2

Thanks for following along! We hope you enjoy your experience with Rawsie.

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