Opening a RAW from Photos app differs from direct opening

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2018-03-08 10:41:35

When I open a RAW file from Photos app the file is transformed into TIFF format and after saving and closing is this file transformed back to the RAW format. When I open a RAW file directly, no conversion into TIFF is made. Why is there different behaviour and what about differences in quality? Is the output of these two different flows equal?
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2018-03-08 11:44:34

If you're using the Pixelmator Pro photo browser, you can Shift-click the OK button to open RAW images in the original format stored in Photos. If you're opening the image from Photos using the Edit With feature, then I'm afraid Photos doesn't share RAW files when using that workflow, so my advice would be to use File > New from Photos.

When saving to Photos (or exporting the image in general), you'll be using a format other than RAW. The thing with the RAW format is it's actually read-only and it doesn't work in quite the same way that formats like JPEG and TIFF do. RAW files were created so that you could 'develop' photos after taking them using additional color data, but that data is only needed when adjusting the colors of the image. Once you've done that (i.e. once you've developed the image using the additional RAW data available), you can export it to TIFF or JPEG and you'll have a good-looking, high-quality image. So the optimal workflow is — open and edit RAW > save to Photos/export to TIFF/JPEG/PNG/another format.
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2018-03-08 12:42:45

Thank you, I understand to your explanation. So you don't know if there are some differences (in terms of quality of the output) between opening a RAW file from Photos or directly in Pixelmator Pro? Because there is a conversion to the TIFF format and it can be a lossless conversion... I know that your advice is to use the second workflow and open the RAW files directly but I'm curious about comparison.
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2018-03-08 12:52:19

No problem! Basically, if you open a TIFF version of a RAW image, then you could potentially end up with a lower quality image after editing. It all really depends on the kind of edits you make, though. If you try to recover clipped shadows or highlights, you could do that with the RAW file but not the TIFF file. If you make subtle changes to, say, the saturation of the image, the difference between the two file types probably wouldn't be very noticeable.