74% of dPS Readers Shoot in RAW (at least on Occassion): POLL RESULTS

74% of dPS Readers Shoot in RAW (at least on Occassion): POLL RESULTS


Recently here at dPS we polled our readers on whether they shoot in RAW. Turns out that just under three quarters of you do – at least sometimes.


Interestingly last time we surveyed our readers on this topic (3 years back – in 2009) the results were a little different.


While we didn’t ask about shooting JPEG and RAW simultaneously back in 2009 I find it interesting that an increased proportion of people seem to be unaware of what shooting in RAW is. Looks like we might have to do some refresher tutorials but in the mean time – if that’s you – here’s a quick tutorial from our archives.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Philip October 1, 2012 01:59 am

    I think the article is great because it inspired so many comments (and points of view) that are truely valid. For me, as a NON-pro, the way I shoot depends on what the purpose is. For example, at a family reunion where everyone want 4x6 (maybe 5x7) memories for their personal albums, I believe JPEG/Auto are fine settings. I guess the photo experts (snobs?) might say I was shooting 'snapshots' and not photos--so be it ! HOWEVER if I am on a 'photo-shoot' (out for wall-hanging enlargements, photo contests or shots to maximize post-shooting flexibility) I prefer RAW or RAW-JPEG.

    ....So, for me, my answers to the questionaire would depend on the reason for the camera shot.

  • Michael C August 24, 2012 06:45 pm

    I'm with Michael Hughes on this one. The ability to control color temperature/white balance much easier and with much more latitude after the shot is enough for me to shoot RAW almost all the time. The wider exposure compensation and finer contrast control is also an advantage for shooting RAW. The only time I consider shooting JPEG is when I need higher burst performance than my camera is capable of shooting RAW. And that is not very often.

  • tonyjr August 18, 2012 03:06 am

    I shoot raw + jpeg .
    Jpeg is for the 1 hour photo's - get it now . [ at a party / wedding / graduation / etc ]
    Raw is because I need all the help I can I can get .
    While you can do a lot in of editing in preview [ mac ] , I can crop out - say a couple of grand parents at a wedding and get better results with raw . Most of the time , no one says that is so and so at a party / wedding / graduation / etc . You only find out after when shots are viewed some one wants the couple .

  • Roberto August 18, 2012 02:26 am

    I shoot RAW, batch process with DxO, tweak the best, keep them, then toss the RAW files.

  • Michael Hughes August 18, 2012 01:39 am

    having the ability to change the colour temperature in post processing as if it were in the camera is a good enough reason on its own to shoot RAW. My colour balance is all in Auto now, i don't worry about it becuase Lightroom gives me exactly the same results as it knows my camera, lens and calibration information from the RAW file.

    I would not want to give up resoluton or suffer compression degradation in favour of file size, and thats the only reason I can think of for using JPEGs

  • Neilbm August 17, 2012 06:02 pm

    I always shoot RAW. If you need large prints, lots of detail, and want to take full control of your photos - RAW is a given. To put it simply - RAW has 4 times the detail as jpeg. BUT you also need to know how to post process to get all that detail out of the photo. If you dont have time to edit and "enhance" you photos, or simply want your photos to be displayed on a monitor or tv or tablet choose jpeg. If you want to take your photography seriously - shoot RAW and learn how to use Lightroom, photoshop or a similar program. Lastly, RAW will not make a bad photo good, but it can make an OK photo better.

  • Kurt August 17, 2012 11:02 am

    Marco provides a great point - it depends on what you intend to do with your photos. People I talk to who take pictures are generally in the arena of, I just want to shoot a picture - period. And those people tend to use point and shoot cameras. These cameras have really proliferated in the last few years which is probably why the survey shows a decrease in those who shoot RAW. The same people I talk with are also interested in improving their skills with just a point and shoot camera, and so it is possible that they might gravitate to sites like DPS for tips on composition and the like. Very few of the people I see using these cameras would ever consider using Photoshop or any other editor since they are generally somewhat overwhelmed by the camera technology they are holding in their hands. So many of these people just want to shoot the picture and then take the card over to the printer and have photos printed. Once they have those, then they consider just how to improve upon their technique. By the way, as Marco points out, those backups are important. I've had a couple of disappointments over the last couple of years with hard drive failures.....

  • Marco August 17, 2012 04:47 am

    It really matters what you are going to do with your images. If you are never going to print any larger than 5x7s or your images will only be on the web, it really does not matter much. However, if you want 24x36 inch wall hangings, you probably need the control that RAW format gives you. You also need a larger image such as a high megapixel DSLR to do those large wall hangings justice. I shoot in RAW+JPG for wildlife and landscapes. Most of the time the JPG is just fine for a starting point to build from, but once in a while the whites are blown out or the blacks are blocked up and these are the times I go back to the RAW and build out the image from scratch. It is time consuming and bothersome, but if the capture is rare it is worth the trouble. As to size comments, what is the deal???? You can buy a 2TB external USB 3.0 drive today for under a hundred dollars US. And 15GB 600X CF cards are out there for about forty dollars US. I keep my images on one drive and back up the whole computer to another drive with daily incremental backups since drives are so cheap today!!! Plus I keep copies of my very best shots (about 200) on an 8 GB flash drive and also on my laptop. Storage is cheap so just do it!!!

  • Kiescha August 17, 2012 04:16 am

    I will be shooting my first wedding this weekend. I have a DSLR camera, but not sure which setting will give me great wedding photos. I was wondering if I should upgrade to a 35mm + camera. Any suggestions or tips?

  • Hapatography August 17, 2012 04:04 am

    I sometimes take images in RaW, then have to convert them to DnG, then spend time processing them as their size slows things down, then reduce them from 32 bits to 8 bits and save them as 5 megapixel or even smaller JPeG's.
    Hell, why bother :-?

  • John Lambert August 17, 2012 03:58 am

    I never shoot in RAW because of the tremendous amount of space it consumes compared to JPEG. Anyway, with Photoshop I find I have full control over my images, including white balance. In any case, why not choose the best white balance before shooting? Finally, I shoot video exclusively, so RAW vs JPEG is not an issue.My camera (Canon 5D Mk 2) can make most adjustments internally, so I don't have to worry about much post-processing.

  • eosDave August 17, 2012 03:54 am

    I hit return too early. I think H C-B was referring to the 'moments' that he captured when he took his photos such as the man stepping off into the water.

  • eosDave August 17, 2012 03:47 am

    @val escobar: Henri Cartier-Bresson did not have JPEG compression throwing away dynamic range and resolution in the process of capturing his images. And even he had to print his images which then involved and now involves decisions that take place after the shutter release is depressed.

  • Val Escobar August 17, 2012 03:38 am

    The picture is good or not from the moment it was caught in the camera. - Henri Cartier-Bresson

  • Val Escobar August 17, 2012 03:30 am

    I totally agree with Ricardo Galvão. There is a lot of snobbery in photography. Unless your an commercial photog. or like to take artsy or Godlike photos vs "natural", imho RAW is not need. Esp with the high resolution DSLRs and many PnS out there. Not to mention 25mb file size vs 11k. There are pros that do not shoot raw. Ken Rockwell has his opinion on RAW. (what doesn't he have one on ;p).
    I personally love my images. When I shoot manuel, I general can capture what I want. I do change my cameras settings according to my subject.
    The lossy of a jpeg is minimal. You'd have to manipulate a jpeg 100s of times to see a significant diff. I love to do my manipulation on location. If I dont have the time I'll shoot program and occasionally Auto.
    Heck todays Auto modes are very right on. If I want to tweak or save a photo, then ill use Lightroom or even, gasp, iPhoto. And I'm happy camper.
    Guess you could say I'm a reverse snob, I also make veg. smoothies.

  • David August 17, 2012 01:41 am

    Always shoot RAW+JPEG and use the jpeg for quick posts and editing. Then use RAW to work on just the best.

  • Leon August 17, 2012 01:27 am

    I am totally addicted to shooting in RAW. I Bought a book, studied it and understand the dynamics. Many photos I would have lost in JPEG. O that exra in the highlights, just awesome.

  • Mike August 17, 2012 01:16 am

    I just started to shoot raw two months ago when I purchased my new Canon 7d and luckily I have a Mac that does all the conversions from raw to jpeg automatically when I E-mail photos. Also, I found that post processing now is very easy (I use Aperture) and I can be three stops either way and still recover a good shot.

  • eosDave August 17, 2012 12:40 am

    I shoot RAW virtually all of the time because it gives me the latitude to bring out the detail and colors in the wildlife and landscape photos I like to take. I use JPEGs for quick throwaway documentation photos that have little or no artistic content. Back when I shot JPEGs all of the time with my old point and shoot I write-protected the images as soon as I downloaded them onto my computer. I always used copies of the originals when I wanted to edit the photos. The lossy JPEG compression scheme is a killer.

  • Nathan August 15, 2012 01:33 pm

    I've only recently swapped over to shooting raw after buying my Olympus PEN, the first Camera I've had that is raw-capable, and now I don't think I'll turn back. While JPEGs arguably do give you a better 'out of the box' image due to the in-camera conversion, the range of non-destructive editing you can do to a raw file using Camera Raw or Lightroom (etc) was the winning factor for me! As long as I can I have a camera that can shoot raw, I will be shooting raw!

  • ccting August 14, 2012 09:57 am

    I use raw to test exposure & gamut. Then i switch to JPEG for final shots.

  • PK August 13, 2012 10:00 pm

    Yeah, just like simon, I don't have a choice, as my Sony Cybershot P&S does not have RAW capability, despite many of its siblings now shooting RAW. JPEG it is.

  • Simon August 13, 2012 12:58 pm

    No - my camera isn't capable of it. Not all of us are professionals, afterall - some of us are just amateurs with a decent point-and-shoot.

  • Ricardo Galvão August 13, 2012 11:56 am

    Yes Raw is the Digital Negative and like the old negative you can wrong yous exposure 3 stops and you can still save...
    like the negative....negatives has a large range for wrong exposure...not chrom films...

    My battle is not against a file is against the idea of that file is more PRO than jpeg...

    makes me laugh

  • Ricardo Galvão August 13, 2012 11:52 am

    If RAW is supossed to be the Digital Negative

    JPEG is like the Chrom Film...you need to know what you are doing

    Who is affraid of JPEG Has never been used a Chrom Film...


  • Ricardo Galvão August 13, 2012 11:49 am

    Raw and JPEG and Camera Brands are not Religion for me...

  • Ricardo Galvão August 13, 2012 11:48 am

    People believe in anything....myths
    and RAW is for amateurs...PROs take advantage of the indestructibility of the file...
    these PROs should never have used Chrome Film.... I suppose...

    If you have a camera with FF sensor or a quality like D7000 or 7D
    I ask: RAW what for?

  • Chris Kecuin August 13, 2012 09:25 am

    I take my own reference shots to derive illustration work from. I've never really had the need for RAW format images to work from, but I tried it recently since you mentioned it. I'm having loads of trouble with increased noise and grain in RAW format so I'm inclined to abandon it unless you can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

  • Harry August 13, 2012 09:07 am

    I just started shooting RAW and JPEG simultaneously, the main reason being that I was reminded that "JPEG files do suffer generational degradation when repeatedly edited and saved. These files are best kept in original form." And since I update/tag them several times and I now have a big enough memory card. I keep the RAW images as originals, so that I always will have the bes quality available and all the info/tags in the JPEG files.

  • Jai Catalano August 13, 2012 08:01 am

    I shoot in raw when I need to. If I need something fast and can't get to it I shoot in jpg. Raw changes photographer's lives because it gives them much more flexibility and a lot more room for error if mistakes happen.

    JPG has its moments and shines when it needs to but RAW wins 99 out of 100 times.

  • John August 13, 2012 07:02 am

    I shot in RAW from the day I brought my first DSLR home, but to be honest, I had no idea why RAW. I knew that it was talked about all the time in photography forums and in the blogosphere, but I really couldn't tell you much about why I shot in RAW - at least at first.

    Over the years I figured it out and I have begun to mold my own style of editing around what can be done with a RAW file on the PC.

    For those who are curious I think the simplest way to explain what RAW does for you is to simply say that by shooting in RAW you are leaving all the important levels of image processing up to you once you get the file onto your computer. You can adjust your exposure, white balance, and so much more which is an incredible amount of control that you end up giving up when you shoot in JPEG.

    Now, that's not to say that shooting in JPEG is bad, it's just that the image that you end up with has less room to be edited and therefore is better for those who don't want to spend a lot of time editing their photos and tweaking a half a dozen sliders in lightroom.

    I hope this is at least a nice little insight into what RAW is for those who are curious - at least until we get a full post on the subject! :)

  • cornell August 13, 2012 02:57 am

    La Tour Eiffel / different perspective http://realitateadecupata.blogspot.ro/2010/02/light-by-night.html

  • Alexander Catastroff August 13, 2012 02:55 am

    I shoot in raw sometimes. I just use jpeg for normal things.