If you shoot with a digital SLR, what do you prefer, shooting in raw or Jpeg? I will shoot in Jpeg if I am limited on memory card space, but otherwise, I pretty much always shoot in Raw. I am often asked why I do, and what are the pros/cons to raw vs. jpeg. Here are a few:
pros for RAW format:
1. RAW is a digital negative that holds all of your data that is captured by your camera. You are able to make edits to your photo in processing without losing any quality (lossless)
2. Raw file software (I use Adobe CS3) allows you to quickly and easily change the output of your image such as exposure, white balance, noise reduction, levels, saturation, contrast, sharpness, etc
3. RAW file software editors allow you to load saved adjustment
settings and you are even able to batch process a group
of photos instead of making changes to just one at a time
Cons for RAW format:
1. Raw files take up more space on your memory cards and hard drive than other formats
2. Raw file require post processing to convert them to an editable file for printing, online display, etc...
3. Raw file software takes a bit to learn and may seem intimidating to some
Pros for JPEG:
1. Jpeg files are easy and simple to view on most programs
2. Jpeg's take up less space on your memory card
3. Most DSLR's allow you to take your JPEG in S (small), M (medium), or L (large) format
Cons for JPEG:
1. JPEG's are a Lossy file format. What this means, is that everytime the file is edited or saved, it is compressed and loses data.
2. A JPEG file
3. JPEG files reflect a one-time interpretation of your subject
based on the settings of your camera (white balance, exposure
settings, etc.). Changing these settings and recreating your file, as you can with a RAW file, is not
possible. So basically, What you capture is what you get. Like my kids say, "You get what you get, and don't throw a fit!"
Here are two pictures that I took of myself to show you how much more you can do with a raw file. They are both taken with the same settings, but one in RAW and one in JPEG
If I had only taken this in JPEG, this picture would have automatically been deleted. But taken in RAW, it isn't such a bad picture....it just shows the difference between editing a JPEG and then editing a RAW. You have a much better chance of "saving" a bad picture in RAW.
and this one in RAW: