Do You Shoot in RAW? [POLL]

Do You Shoot in RAW? [POLL]

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I still remember the debate that erupted the first time I asked this question back in March of 2007. It was the first time we ever had over 100 comments on a post and the debate was fascinating to watch. At the time I didn’t run an official poll (although from memory it was fairly even) – so I thought it might be interesting to do one now – my guess is that we’ll probably see a larger proportion of readers shooting in RAW.

Do You Shoot in RAW?

View Results

I’m looking forward to see the results and I’d love to hear you share your reason WHY you do or don’t shoot in RAW.

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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

  • Callista September 9, 2010 06:43 am

    To be perfectly honest, I haven't really found the real difference with RAW and a high MP JPEG. I do any photo editing in photoshop, so anything like black and white and toning is easily changed there. What would the difference be there?

  • patrick May 23, 2010 07:29 am

    I always shoot in RAW as I feel you never know when you will take "that" picture, which however mundane it might look at the time, looks great when you look at it later. No RAW..no chance to make it perfect.

  • J.A.Lambert February 14, 2010 04:52 pm

    I always shoot in RAW because it gives me a "negative" if I want to do different kinds of editing. I can always go back to the RAW image and make further changes. When I'm completely satisfied, I delete the RAW image to save space. I always save in TIFF because it is lossless. I save all images to a one tb external hard drive which should see me through to the year 2030. By that time, I'll be dead so I'll hand it down to my son and he can hand it down to his son, etc. etc. But why don't I just shoot in TIF or PNG. I don't know, haven't figured it out yet. Both those formats are lossless and if I really want copies of an image I can make them easily. My original image would serve as the "negative".

  • Gilliam February 14, 2010 07:38 am

    I shoot in both formats, because I took a photography class and my instructor encouraged me to. Unfortunatley I haven't had the pleasure of post processing a RAW image because I don't know what I am doing.

  • Saleem Shahid December 23, 2009 07:11 pm

    memory is no problem .I always keep 5, 4gb memorycards plus a netbook 350 gb hard drive in my bag. and I all ways shoot raw+jpg.

  • Art Netzer December 21, 2009 08:02 am

    I only shoot RAW (1JEPG 1 RAW) when I see something really exceptiomal.

  • Larry Nicosia November 22, 2009 09:54 pm

    Jack, I do agree with you that we can get good results with JPEGs. But that wasn't my point. It goes beyond knowing how to use a camera, knowing the light and composition. The camera is a machine that is just not capable of reproducing a scene, by itself, as well as our eyes can reproduce. There really is no debate when it comes to the facts. JPGs are ok, but if our camera is capable of capturing in RAW, then we can produce a better quality image by using RAW with some post production.

  • Eric November 20, 2009 12:55 pm

    HTML didn't work.

    RAW:
    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_TIVBpbs2o0g/StZBc0_uZYI/AAAAAAAAK5Y/K6Wz19LA-nQ/s800/IMG_2166.jpg

    JPEG:
    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_TIVBpbs2o0g/Sp20SVDFgwI/AAAAAAAAKxs/p1joF-lCYQI/s800/IMG_7147.jpg

  • Eric November 20, 2009 12:54 pm

    RAW:

    JPEG:

    It's all what you do with the equipment you have.

  • Jack November 20, 2009 12:45 pm

    I'm sorry Larry but I have to disagree with your statement..."but if you want a quality photo you need to shoot and process RAW." There are many photographers shooting excellent quality large images in jpeg; photographers who know how to use a camera, know when the light will be right and know how to compose a well executed image. I shoot landscapes and I will persevere at a location waiting for the right moment to capture the image. Mother nature provides us with some stunning vistas and that's what I want to capture - mother nature at her best, not alter it in photoshop to what I think it should be.
    This debate over Jpeg and RAW can, and will, go on forever but you know what? ... it doesn't matter... I get excellent results, and large saleable prints, from my camera on Jpeg and others get excellent results with RAW and photoshop. Just please don't make silly statements that Jpegs are only good for snapshots.

  • Francisco B. Maciel November 20, 2009 11:09 am

    Looking for the frontiers of time I can see clearly, all the moments on, and nothing is the same! The changing is going on and on. NOTHING IS THE SAME! The "running on" is accelerated by human intelligence. Some people can see the changes and goes changing too. Everybody knows: the time is the master of the reazon and nowadays it's clearly real. Look around us and we can see the changes; look around the engines and we can see the changes... All is changing and nothing's the same in short time!

  • Larry Nicosia November 20, 2009 12:06 am

    Shooting in JPG is ok for snapshots. But again, a JPG conversion in camera throws away about 30% of the image! That's about 1/3 of your picture going out the window. RAW retains every speck of the image that the camera is capable of recording. But even the best camera can't record the tonal range that our eyes can see. That's why ALL digital images need tonal enhancement. THAT'S where the power of Photo Shop comes in. Use it to bring out the detail in the shadows instead of having just pools of dark and to the highlights as well.
    JPG'S save space, but if you want a quality photo you need to shoot and process RAW.

  • Larry Nicosia November 19, 2009 11:45 pm

    Shooting in JPG is ok for snapshots. But again, a JPG conversion in camera throws away about 30% of the image! That's about 1/3 of your picture going out the window. RAW retains every speck of the image that the camera is capable of recording. But even the best camera can't record the tonal range that our eyes can see. That's why ALL digital images need tonal enhancement. THAT'S where the power of Photo Shop comes in. Use it to bring out the detail in the shadows instead of having just pools of dark and to the highlights as well.
    JPG's are used to save space. But if a quality photo is what you want then shoot and process RAW.

  • Ted November 19, 2009 01:38 pm

    I prefer to see more real photos rather than heavily pp photos. So I never shoot RAW

  • Larry Nicosia November 15, 2009 12:53 am

    I always shoot in RAW. JPG's throw away about 30% of the image.

  • Chet November 14, 2009 03:25 am

    Photoshop is getting a raw (I crack me up!) deal from some comments.

    Taking a digital picture is the same as getting a negative exposed.

    Converting it to a jpeg is like developing the negative and making a print.

    Whether a photographer chooses to develop/print himself (RAW) or have a 3rd party do it (in camera JPEG) IMO does not make one more of or less of a photographer. Either way, it MUST be done. All digital cameras capture in Raw initially.

    However, some of the reasons to move to digital is because of the ability to have more options, to have more control, easier, and for a lower cost.

    If the hassles that come along with options and point-of-control make it no longer easier and/or lower cost, it may not be worth it for some photographers. I totally understand that.

    My wife chooses a camera phone (iphone) over one of my slrs or PnS because she can deliver pictures in seconds. Snap. Email/Upload. Done.

    For me it's. Setup (or not). Snap. Workflow (copy, backup, import/process, make picks, process). Output.

    So why go through the trouble? I have spent time trying to get a handle of the environment. I've spent a long time trying to learn how to capture light and manipulate how it will be captured. I've spent a lot of money on sharp lenses, fast lenses, lights. I use a camera with manual controls so I have more control. Why make it all end the second I hit the shutter?

    To me, processing is like being in a dark room. I can adjust exposure, tone, crop... whatever.

    It took me some time to learn how to do. At first it was slow, now I'm a lot faster since I learned how to use the tools and developed (har har) some intuition on how and how much to use them.

    It does bug me when people just want to "fix" everything in Photoshop, especially when it can be done in camera or by insight, skills, talent... whatever. However I've also come to realize that there are going to be people who are better Photoshop artists than they are Photographers and vice versa.

    The landscape (I can't stop!) for photographers is changing. A lot more is expected from photographers and the pictures that people have come to expect to see are evidence of that. I guess "more work" can be seen as either good or bad depending on who you are.

    BTW, I met a lady who takes pictures as a canvas for her art. She takes pictures with everything set to zero and zeros out her raw files. Then in photoshop she makes these absolutely awesome pictures. Photographs? Debatable I guess, but as pictures they're awesome. To me it's a wonderfully different way of looking at my camera as a tool.

  • Josh November 13, 2009 09:44 pm

    Jack,

    You are not alone my friend. I commented on this post about 3 months ago, very early on trying to stand out in the crowd. To me photography has always been the art and skill of getting the photo right when it comes out of the camera. To me if that takes sacrificing hundreds of pictures for the one right one, if it means saying no i must have done something wrong or been in the wrong place at the wrong time then so be it. To me photography is mastering the camera, and mastering the skills and intuitions needed to capture the best picture in the lens.

    Being relatively new to photography, I am not a product of pre-photoshop photography, and i can't even say i was started on a film camera. So it is not an old dog that won't learn new tricks, in my case, it's just.... Logic. The subject of raw vs. jpeg doesn't separate bad vs good photographers. It doesn't mean you don't have a good sense for what the right capture is, BUT to me, photoshop instills bad habits.

    For example, I have a friend who i will go shooting with every now and then and we often bounce and trade ideas between each other. There are two differences though, number one he uses Nikon, ha! no thanks, and number two he uses Photoshop. What makes him only a decent photographer in my mind, is not that 6 weeks after shooting he prints or uploads to flickr a stunning picture, it's that he is lazy when the shutter closes. He says to me that "oh i can fidgit this because i can fix it later" or "don't worry too much, it doesn't have to be perfect because it can be fixed." How can he call himself a great photographer if these are the lines he uses? To me he's not a great photographer. He's just a great artist.

    And i hate to say it people, but 90 out of every 100 people who have replied to this post have supported this photoshop stereotype.

    Jack: Keep shooting jpeg!

    Josh.

    "Photography is the art of capturing life in a still frame, not manipulating a still frame to capture life"
    -Unknown

    "Photography is not painting, when the shutter closes the image has been taken, and time has been stopped. And there is no erasing or changing once time has stopped"
    -Professor of Photography

    "Some people say I can make the subject more beautiful after my editing is done. Some people criticize me for trying to fix beauty in nature. To me however, it's how the subject views themself, I am just the means to achieve perfection."
    -'The Paradoxes of Plastic Surgery'

  • Jack November 13, 2009 07:56 pm

    To J A Lambert,
    Many thanks for you detailed reply.
    I went off a little 'half cocked' over this raw vs jpeg issue and the use of photoshop etc. What you have said is correct in the fact that there were some transparencies where my exposure wasn't quite right or could have been croppped better. All of that was a learning curve to make me stop, think, plan the exposure and composition to get it right. I hear 'photographers' say, so many times, about a poor image "oh it'll be ok when I fix it on the computer". It burns me that they are not thinking as they shoot and relying on a computer programme to fix an image they should have taken correctly in camera. I think actually being a proper photographer is becoming a lost art in the digital era and I suppose I am just one of those stubborn old dogs that learn't through trial and error and enjoy shooting the way I do, and although I sometimes agree with the use of photoshop there are people that over use it or rely on it too much,
    The subject of raw or jpeg will go on and on and on but in the mean time I will continue to shoot the way I, and a few other do, and others will shoot using their prefered way. In the grand scheme of things I guess if we all produce stunning images then it really doesn't matter.
    Happy shooting,
    Jack

  • J.A.Lambert November 13, 2009 05:44 pm

    This is in answer to Jack's comments about digital photography. What you say is true up to a point, but in my view, software programs such as Photoshop allow you a full measure of creativity. You can leave your image as you expose the film in the camera, improve it slightly or make something completely new. Haven't you ever looked at one of ;your slides and wished you could have made just a small change - perhaps a little less exposure, maybe a crop here and there?. Post-production software allows you to save a picture that otherwise you would have to throw away. In the mid 19th century, a photographer would have to coat a glass plate with chemicals, and screening it from the light, load it into his bulky camera and put up with an exposure of sometimes several minutes. In the 920s (?) the idea of coating a strip of celluloid with a more stable chemical became popular. Right up to the advent of digital photography this was the standard of photography. You simply had to get it right the first time, as there was precious little you could do in the darkroom. If you used colour slide film, there was absolutely nothing you could do about it. Now, photography has acquired a new standard - digital. The distinction between photography and fine art has become even more blurred. The photographer, formerly limited to a precise moment of time, now has the freedom to create something exciting and new. The older idea of photography remains, it has simply added a vast new repertoire.

  • Martin November 13, 2009 02:50 pm

    I envy your skills Jack and wish I were as capable. Meanwhile I will continue to use Capture NX2 to get to what I thought I was shooting originally :)

  • Francisco B. Maciel November 13, 2009 01:46 pm

    Exactly, Eric! If you can understand your final output like your best prime work, it's the goal!

  • Francisco B. Maciel November 13, 2009 01:33 pm

    You're not to be crucified here, no, no, no! You do your gears, and your head, works very well for yours goals! It's prime! Different people need different looks to works well!

  • Eric November 13, 2009 12:56 pm

    Some like to drive auto, others manual.

  • Jack November 13, 2009 11:42 am

    Well I am going to be crucified here but I only shoot in Jpeg ...why? ...because any photographer worth his salt will get the image right in camera rather than have to adjust it, especially WB, in photoshop. I started my photography shooting transparencies and you had to get it right in camera because what you took was what you got;. Film was not cheap in the '60's so wastage was not an option. I've carried this practice over to my digital photography. To me the art of photography is in the planning and preparation of the shot rather than just take the shot and correct it later in a computer programme. As your skills develop the planning and preparation become second nature and can be done very quickly on site. I 'see', not just look, at my subjects and can quickly evaluate colour temperatures, compostion etc. I also know what my camera is capable of capturing and have set up my in camera menus accordingly. I don't use any photoshop programme at all.
    I shoot Jpeg because I am a photographer not a computer image designer. I would rather be out taking photos rather than spending time at a computer correcting mistakes I shouldn't have made in the first place.

  • Saleem Shahid November 13, 2009 05:34 am

    I have always set my camra in raw and jpg so I can see the picture rihgt away. I have upgraded my camra from D80 to D300s and use ps cs2 .and cannot open raw in cs2.

  • Rosemary O November 13, 2009 03:13 am

    Shooting in RAW allows me to leave the camera settings on "standard" and then tweak afterwards using the Canon Software. Subtle differences which can make a huge difference. So easy.

  • J.A.Lambert October 4, 2009 07:50 am

    I have started shooting in RAW exclusively, but since I do a lot of candid street photography, I find that using that mode severely cuts down the burst mode time. With street photography, sometimes I have to shoot nine or ten pictures from the hip to get the right moment and this is possible only with jpeg or similar.
    P.S. I find the results from candid photography incredible. I get expressions and gestures I had never noticed at the time.

  • Qais October 2, 2009 10:55 am

    I started shooting in RAW cuz I do a lot of post production but then switched to JPEG since I don't have the time for processing etc. Plus most of the photo centers in the city do not have the capability to print from RAW.

  • Stacey Debono October 2, 2009 10:35 am

    RAW...ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!

    Im not entirely sure some people know exactly what the benefits of RAW is...? I agree with the person that compared RAW to negatives....who would through those away!? Not me, not ever!! And it doesn't matter if you get it PERFECT the straight out of the camera! It really doesn't....

    Anyway, Im with Francisco and the others...RAW, no doubt! :))

  • emkay_01 October 2, 2009 08:08 am

    Last year, I hacked my Canon S5 to enable CRW (Canon RAW) files. I'm not as serious, or prolific a photo amateur as I used to be, so 2-3 2GB cards have enough capacity (400+ raw images) to satisfy my occasional photo sessions. Both CRW and jpg images are saved, so I have lots of flexibility.

  • Francisco B. Maciel September 25, 2009 08:30 am

    No comparison ever! Nowadays, cheap memory and large storage, I think there's no reason to look for others ways when working digital routine. RAW, no doubt!

  • Joe Mar September 25, 2009 02:06 am

    I shoot in RAW when I'm using my Canon DSLR, it's because I've been planning to process the image in many ways. The only time that I can't shoot in RAW is when I'm using my point and shoot camera (SONY DSC W130). Regarding the storage, I got already two external hard disks.

  • Adit September 6, 2009 11:00 pm

    Since I'm a casual photographer who mostly shoot candids for my schoolmates, I mainly shoot in the JPEG format. But I do shoot in RAW sometimes, like when I go out on a photo-hunting activity. I don't really understand how to process RAW images, anyways (and I hope DPS would help by publishing articles on how to process RAW images in the future :D).

  • Chris September 3, 2009 08:28 am

    I answered "Yes, but only sometimes," even though I don't think that is accurate. I shoot RAW much more than sometimes, as shown by my 365 project (Photo Tip of the Day).

    I would say I shoot RAW 80-90% of the time.

    I usually shoot JPEG under just two situations -- when I need a high frame rate (since my camera will capture only 6 RAW photos in a row, whereas JPEGs are at 20) and when I am shooting hundreds and I am afraid I can't fit enough RAW images on my 6GBs of memory cards.

    Thanks,
    Chris

  • johnp August 28, 2009 11:22 am

    No David, comparing digital to film, JPG is like a print (a processed Raw negative). There was no negative with a polaroid.

  • David E August 28, 2009 07:43 am

    Memory for cameras is cheap. Storage for computers is cheaper. If most people agree that raw is like a negative, then why wouldn't you? And with that way of thinking, is jpg like Polaroid?

  • Decko August 28, 2009 04:46 am

    I used RAW for a wedding recently having read an article on your site. I later had to convert them to JPG because the files were too big to share. My photo software (HP) couldn't handle RAW either.

  • Juan Antonio Navarro August 26, 2009 10:11 am

    With my Nikon P80 I can´t shoot in Raw.

  • Michael Paris August 26, 2009 03:32 am

    Anyone who can shoot in raw should, even if you don't wish to do anything with the photo at this time you can come back later and change things. But if you don't have it in raw there is a lot less to change.

  • SDHronek August 25, 2009 07:01 am

    I always shoot in RAW+JPEG. I'll save the RAWs of any shots worth editing and only save the JPEGs of the rest to cut down on hard drive space needs. I did some experimenting by processing the same shots in both RAW and JPEG to see which I liked better and the RAW edits always yielded better end results.

  • Ron August 25, 2009 03:36 am

    Why would someone run their V8 powered car on only four cylinders? Shooting in RAW is like having a negative to work with to produce the final print the way you want it...the way you remember the scene you have shot. If you allow the camera firmware & software to process the image for you into the final JPEG, it's like (in the "old days") sending your film away for processing. The final print MAY or it MAY NOT look like you want it to, or it may not look like the scene you've shot. Additionally, PROCESSING RAW images allows you so much more control than trying to correct an already-converted JPEG image. You have more control on color balance, levels, contrast and sharpness to name just a few...

    Actually I shoot RAW+ which gives me a RAW and JPEG image. I set the JPEG quality and size in my camera settings to give me an image sized small, so when I'm shooting family shots (something I'm not going to normally post on the interntet) I can immedately email to someone else without processing. I take so many RAW shots that sometimes it is months before I may process & post to my web site.

  • Lance August 25, 2009 02:14 am

    I shoot RAW on occasion, but I am only learning the capabilities. I have software (DPP) that came with the camera (Canon G-10), but I see a lot of comments recommending Lighthouse for post production. I feel like there is something that I am missing because I do not notice a significant difference in my photos when using the DPP software that came with the G-10.

    Is there a certain program that once could recommend that would allow me to notice the benefits of RAW more than I do now?

  • astoro August 25, 2009 01:41 am

    I never shoot in RAW simply because my point and shoot doesn't support it. With my next camera, I will shoot in RAW for sure.

  • Paul Finnigan August 25, 2009 12:35 am

    I shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG as I prefer to process the RAW files myself. I do this because not too happy with the colour processing in my camera (Nikon). I find the RAW files are much better. I shoot RAW+JPEG when I carry about a portable printer (Canon) for instant prints.

    I have several CF cards (including 2x 16Gb which I use most of the time) so space is not too much of a problem. Space on my desktop is sorted by backing up to DVD.

    The flexibility of RAW is worth the problems. I use Linux, Ufraw and the GIMP for final edits. I am just looking at LightZone to improve the workflow and am convinced that it will help a little, as soon as I can afford it.

  • Flores August 25, 2009 12:09 am

    I never shoot in RAW because I do not have a DSLR camera but only point and shoot digital camera.

  • Edsar August 24, 2009 11:34 pm

    I'm a newbie and I have canon 400D and i shoot RAW + JPEG, first JPEG is my ready reference and review concerning quality color sharpness etc. and RAW is my dear file for any post processing that I may require in the long run like changing the mood, color tone or converting to black and white and picture cropping which deliver same image file quality, but still I believe that taking the right picture in the first place is very important habit for every photographer

  • Matt Smith August 24, 2009 09:24 pm

    I shoot in RAW +JPEG on my D50. Like Terrence I treat the RAW image as my negative and create TIfs etc from that. I've recently started using the +JPEG setting mainly so that friends and family can see the photos without the delay required to process the RAWs.
    RAWs also alow me to cover a duff shot, or if its a low light shot I sometimes shoot at a higher shutter speed to get the shot and use post processing to correct the exposure

  • tim August 24, 2009 01:45 pm

    i usually shoot in jpg for family and quick shots and switch to RAW for photoshoots or studio work.
    this backfired on me in the weekend when i did a studio shoot in jpeg! forgot to check it
    damn - i'm leaving it in raw by default from now on - and ill switch to jpg if i want to and then switch back.

  • Terrence August 24, 2009 08:27 am

    Some excellent answers from everyone, I shoot raw and always have, It is my negative, It has all the information about the image I have taken, I make sure I get it as close to correct as I can in camera and then I have the best possible information file that I can get, from here I can make a TIFF or JPG and PSD whatever I want, But I will always have an original file with the maxium amount of information that I can return to time and time again. The main thing is to shoot the way you like and have fun doing it.

  • Charles August 24, 2009 06:25 am

    I've been doing advanced amateur SLR photography for the past 35 years; started on film and a several years back coverted to digital. I do mostly macro, landscaping and portrait. Very little action photography.

    For this type of photography I can not see any compeling reason for anyone with RAW capability to shoot digital JPEG rather than RAW - by doing so you are wasting a substantial amount of digital information captured by your sensor using a clearly inferior digital processing software (in camera processing) to make the RAW -> JPEG conversion for you - it just does not make any sense. As mentioned by an prior poster, there is nothing misterious or difficult in processing RAW files as opposed to JPEGs - the ONLY extra step is conversion of RAW image to either TIFF or JPEG for printing or additional processing where needed. The conversion is handled automatically by software such as PS or Lightroom.

    With a RAW file you can easily correct the color balance of your photo, adjust the exposure (as opposed to brightness) and recover shadow detail or clipped color channels because you are working with the original data recorded by the sensor. With a RAW file you can use a powerful (yet easy to use) software such as Lightroom to quickly develop the RAW file and produce a high quality JPEG or TIFF for sharing or printing that will be of higher quality than any produced from a camera. This is because with desktop processing of the RAW file, you have COMPLETE control of ALL the parameters and can make finer adjustments not possible with in-camera processing.

    I can see an argument for using JPEG in the rare instances when maximum burst speeds are needed to capture action. Beyond that, I would encourage all those with DSLR's to turn on RAW capture (and invest in quality processing software) and dare to explore how easy and better your photography can become wiith such a simple format change.

    Keep clickin'

  • Kate August 24, 2009 06:03 am

    Thanks, Virginia, that helps a lot!

  • iarehuman August 24, 2009 04:14 am

    I always shoot raw, the added flexibility helps (especially with street photography) and the low cost of storage makes it a no brainer really.

  • Virginia August 23, 2009 05:24 pm

    I've just begun to shoot in RAW. I was always under the impression that it required a great deal of technical expertise to use and process. Recently I went to a photography workshop where the speaker made the comment that JPEG is like slide film and RAW is like negative film and much more forgiving. He also mentioned a fellow photographer who commented that he's not a good enough photographer to shoot the very picky JPEG. The speaker also said that the impression has been given that one starts with JPEG and graduates to RAW when really it should be the other way around. The lightbulb went on. When I shot film, I had always shot negative film. Suddenly the difficulties I'd had understanding why certain unexpected results happened when I first got a DSLR camera made total sense. Thanks to this speaker's offhand comments (the workshop was on another topic) it finally made sense for me to use RAW and I knew that I'd be pretty well "bilingual" since I have learned to make the adjustment to JPEG. So I've gone from just shooting a few RAW images here and there to experiment, to having just returned from my first photo shoot using RAW exclusively. I can't wait to have a play.

  • Mayra August 23, 2009 04:37 pm

    I always shoot RAW and I really love my Nikon's capability of storing a photo in RAW and basic JPG format. it makes photo-sharing very convenient. I usually have four files per photo: the original RAW, the original JPEG, the PSD file with the changes on the RAW and the final JPEG, TIFF, or PNG file. Like the other commenters have said, it's tricky, but storage is cheap. Just get a bunch of DVD's.

  • Kate August 23, 2009 04:27 pm

    My camera takes RAW images, but I don't know much about them... have read the book, but still am puzzled. I'd love to read more, see more, so i can learn!

    If you get too technical, my eyes twirl and I don't get it, so please be patiently simple for us beginners!

  • Duff August 23, 2009 01:23 pm

    I always shoot in RAW with my DSLR and new mid-range...but, must admit (sheepishly) that my point and shoot is always with me and gets a fair amount of jpeg workout.

  • Jenna August 23, 2009 04:34 am

    When I had questions about which I should use, I shot a couple test photos with RAW + JPEG. After looking at the comparison, I never shot JPEG again. Yea, they do get compressed into JPEG or TIFF later... but I don't continue to post process after that point.

  • Jay August 22, 2009 01:09 pm

    I just have to wonder, you people that don't shoot in RAW, saying how much easier it is to work with Jpeg (some of you even using ACR), what applications are you using that's making working with RAW so difficult for you?

    With Lightroom, Aperture, iPhoto, Picasa, and I'm sure many others including ACR, working with RAW is no more difficult than working with Jpeg.

    I shoot RAW 100% of the time now, because I have a horrible short term memory, and I used to forget to switch back to RAW sometimes, after taking some quick family snapshots. I had the same motivations for switching back and forth as others, to save space where I could.

    That's all well and good until you blow a shoot (or two, in my case) because you shot with the wrong WB, and no amount of tweaking can fix the resulting Jpegs.

    RAW is far too easy to work with now, and has been at least for the past 3 years, that it no longer makes sense to ever shoot anything else. Want to conserve that space? Once your pictures are finished to you liking, export as full size Jpegs, and then move the RAWs off to your backup drive(s) (you are keeping regular backups, right?). Done. Even better, if you have an automated backup (such as Time Machine on Macs, or a Vault in Aperture, etc), the RAWs are already on your backup drive, and once you've exported the Jpegs, you can safely delete the RAWs without having to move them to the backup drive. Lightroom gives you the option while importing your pictures, to save a copy of them to another drive (like your backup drive), also saving you that step after converting to Jpeg.

    RAW+Jpeg? Waste of space. And unnecessary. You've got to bring the photos onto your computer before you can share them with anyone as it is. And every one of the apps I listed have ways to email or share your photos to sites like Flickr, SmugMug, or Picasa, without wasting space holding onto Jpeg copies of the RAW files.

    Once you've worked with a few RAW images, you'll learn what basic "tweaks" you are applying to just about every picture, in order to make it look like it did on the camera preview (which is almost always processed in camera with something to boost color and sharpness, which gets applied to Jpegs from the camera, but not the RAW files. A common complaint of RAW is people think the Jpegs just look better out of camera, they don't realize the camera is applying tweaks to the RAW image, and then creating the Jpeg from the tweaked RAW). Most applications have an easy way to set up actions or presets to perform those tweaks quickly to your pictures. Lightroom, at least, can even apply them during import, which would in most cases eliminate the need to do any processing at all, if you're happy with the way they come out of the camera.

    I just don't understand why anyone shooting with a DSLR, would opt to shoot in anything but RAW, given the flexibility you have with it. Flexibility that you sacrifice when shooting Jpeg.

  • Geoff August 22, 2009 11:06 am

    RAW by default. It takes very little time to download 200+ photos and post production in Aperture is quick, efficient and easy. I keep the better and best photos in RAW and sometimes convert the average shots to JPEG for future storage or for email, facebook or mass distribution. The whole process is a matter of minutes at best and I've still got stacks of storage space available.

  • R. Campbell August 22, 2009 10:46 am

    This may help "Evening"
    I use "Windows Explorer" to manipulate all my files, including downloading from cameras and memory sticks. Plug the camera in and it becomes a new drive. This works fine with most camera's including my Cannon 400D, provided I am only downloading JPEG. However it is a different story if RAW are also included, and as you say, they will be downloaded as JPEG, and reference is made to this effect in the manual to the effect that the included programme must be used, or use a "card reader".
    I do not like to install heaps of programmes on my computer for every item I connect to it, so bought a card reader instead, to download a wedding shoot. This works perfectly, you don't need yet another programme and my JPEG and RAW files are downloaded perfectly. The JPEG are available for immediate use, and my RAW are available for post processing those shots requiring such. To simplify matters further, simply select "view by type", all your JPEG's will be separated from your RAW, making it a simple operation to move all your RAW files to their own folder. (On a USB hard drive).

  • Arthur August 22, 2009 07:26 am

    I'm reading about issues regarding raw capture vs. capture speed. Since RAW files are larger you would need larger storage cards which solve's the problem concerning the amount of images per card, which has been mentioned numerous times. I'm also reading "storage is cheap" I haven"t read any comments so far that have addressed CARD SPEED, "fast storage is not cheap". If your shooting RAW files you need to use a fast card. A STD. 60X or 80X card is not going to cut it as far as data storage speed for RAW capture, fine for jpg. Anyone who is WAITING for their camera to process RAW IMAGES should try a faster card. I recommend a minimum of 266X for a CF card capture a 133X for SD shooters and a class 6 SDHC card for the fastest performance possible. It's almost like a computer, you could have a "monster hard drive "but if your CPU processing speed is slow your still not going to be happy with your computer. Card speed is a factor for RAW image processing.

  • Daniel August 22, 2009 04:01 am

    i don`t shoot raw at all... though i know is better quality... and all, i am too lazy to edit and transform them. i am still learning about my LX3 .. and for now i`m satisfied without RAW.

  • Paulo August 22, 2009 03:15 am

    After I "discovered" the benefits and versatility of the RAW file almost 2 years ago, my set of cameras never saw the JPG file again...

  • Matt August 22, 2009 03:02 am

    I only shoot RAW even in my Lumix point and shoot, and even though it takes something like 6 seconds to write the image to the card.

  • Greg August 22, 2009 01:16 am

    I shoot RAW for weddings, portraits, and landscapes. For things like sports I shoot JPEG.

    My cameras make really nice JPEG files. The reason I shoot Raw is to give my self extra room to "fix" exposures that I screw up. I can get some decent results pumping single RAW files through Photomatix when I'm forced to shoot in harsh light, like outdoor weddings.

  • wchamilton August 22, 2009 12:37 am

    I've only had my Rebel XSI for a few weeks and originally only shot JPEG, but as has been said once you start shooting RAW it's hard to make the change back. I've saved several shots that were shot in RAW that would probably have been trashed had I not.

  • Robin August 22, 2009 12:31 am

    I switched to shooting RAW when I upgraded to the EOS 30D this year. I do choose the RAW + medium jpg option for quick posting to websites/galleries.

    I do find it hard to take the time to post process the RAWs so I have to work on the time management department :-)

  • Croila August 22, 2009 12:21 am

    I shoot RAW primarily because I've not been taking pictures for long enough to be much good at it, and I discovered a little while ago that you can adjust exposures mistakes - of which I make loads! - pretty easily. So for me it's a safety net. I just need to get more experience and practise getting it right in-camera .. :-)

  • Milt Anglin August 21, 2009 11:49 pm

    I always shoot in RAW. If I need a JPG to email or for a quick print I use "Instant JPG from Raw". It works great for extracting a quick JPG. It is free at: http://www.rawworkflow.com/instant-jpeg-from-raw-utility/

  • Stefani August 21, 2009 11:41 pm

    I never shoot in RAW. I use Elements for post production and it doesn't convert the files. I know there are free trials out there for software that will do the conversion but I just want to master the fundamentals before I jump into anything new.

  • avi August 21, 2009 11:22 pm

    always.... it's a need not an option(just my opinion)

  • Evening August 21, 2009 10:00 pm

    I tried to take RAW pictures but they would only download as JPEGs . I suspect I would need to install software to download RAW images but then would have to do something with it - I am not a very adept fiddler of photos - I think I need about 10 times more guidance than the next person. I will get around to it - I've seen RAW photos and they can be amazing - but I've seen too many photos overphotoshoped/processed - too much colour boosting. While I can see the appeal of HDR I feel it's cheating.

  • Ollie August 21, 2009 09:08 pm

    I've only had my DSLR (Canon 500D) for 2 months & I'm still learning aperture/shiutter speed/ISO interactions. I'd like to use RAW when I feel I have a more intuitive feel for shooting, rather than having to consider each shot before I commit to it. I'm still wasting a LOT of pics due to under/over exposure.

  • morgy August 21, 2009 08:32 pm

    I usually prefer RAW but lately I've been using JPG format only because of the convenience it offers. Less time to process and faster uploading/sharing.

    RAW is the way to go of course, but when it comes to more casual photo-shooting, jpg is perfect as well.

  • gturner August 21, 2009 06:14 pm

    I shoot RAW now since being on this site. It only makes sense to do so if you have the time, energy and ownership of decent post processing software.
    The difference is massive and I can only recommend it. For newbies, get out shooting in auto setting, learn the manual controls and see your images improve!

  • Todd Beltz August 21, 2009 05:36 pm

    I used to shoot in nothing but jpeg for the longest time..up until earlier this year...when I learned a very valuable lesson. I did a shoot for a client and a few days later when I delivered the images to them, they asked where are the RAW files. When I said I didn't shoot in RAW they told me that they couldn't use the images as they required the high res RAW files..and not just jpegs. The pictures were to be made available at the highest resolution possible and when I couldn't deliver, my professionalism as a photographer came into question from the client. They had assumed, after working with numerous other photographers, that I would know to shoot in RAW but since I didn't, the images couldn't be used. I learned a very valuable lesson from this as I lost a client. Now I shoot in nothing but RAW and would never dream of going back to the smaller jpegs.

  • sthaporn August 21, 2009 04:45 pm

    As now Photoshop's RAW tools work well with JPEG as well as RAW files, I rarely need to save my pictures in RAW.

  • Ross August 21, 2009 03:31 pm

    I always shoot RAW+JPEG, simply for the post processing and for the ease of moving pictures on quickly without processing, yes it takes alot of space on a card but I carry 4+ cards and a laptop so I can upload, you maybe shooting not to process but you never know what you may come across either, there are to many plus point to shooting RAW than not

  • saqibmoghal August 21, 2009 02:40 pm

    yes i always shoot in raw,becase its easy for me to edit.

  • Dawna August 21, 2009 02:24 pm

    I shoot only in RAW at this time, because I need the practice (I might shoot my niece's wedding next year if they don't elope). I really like the control I have on the editing aspect - things you just cannot do with jpeg. It has made me more conscious about getting the shot I want with my camera, so I do not have as much editing or "fixing." RAW does take up more space, but usually I am not too far away from my computer to upload pictures.
    And I do have plans to get more memory by next year for that wedding shoot.

  • Rob Peck August 21, 2009 01:50 pm

    I can always save down, but the biggest advantage is to be able to correct white balance and exposure with RAW software.

  • v8torq August 21, 2009 01:47 pm

    I only shoot RAW when I'm shooting something important (for whatever reason). Otherwise, JPG gives me what I need ... if I get it right! RAW helps me save a good shot gone bad.

  • Rick August 21, 2009 12:55 pm

    I mostly shoot in JPEG if my WB isnt set to auto, and I am not shooting in low light conditions. If I have to set the White Balance to auto, or deal with low light or flash then I use RAW. RAW is a pain to process. RAW helps you recover photos, I try to get it right the first time. I use to shoot 100% RAW, now perhaps only if its a pay gig.

  • johnp August 21, 2009 12:52 pm

    A lot of people are saying shoot raw all the time in case you have a once-in-a-lifetime photo which would be better kept in that format. Personally I think you are more likely to get that shot spending your time out in the field shooting JPEGS rather than tied to a computer developing raw files. I can understand though professionals with an organised work flow need the extra flexibilty of raw. I only use raw+ if I think the odd shot warrants it.

  • Bob August 21, 2009 12:50 pm

    I really shoot Raw more than sometimes, but not exclusively. I know this is a lousy comment but for some reason the truth is always lousier than fiction!!!

  • Aby August 21, 2009 12:30 pm

    Even though I have been shooting digital for a long time I never bothered taking RAW. But when I found out the advantages I was so disappointed that I didn't realize the benifits earlier. I bought couple of 8GB cards and now I shoot only in RAW.

  • Photokaki August 21, 2009 12:25 pm

    Photography is my hobby. And though I learnt lots from kenrockwell.com about my camera D40 I still think RAW (or in my case NEF) is the better choice for me. And no I do not use Photoshop Camera RAW to convert - it is too much trouble and it is still 3rd party converter. I use Capture NX 2.2 - Nikonians should really try using this software as it is 1) native RAW converter( fully decode everything in NEF); 2) let's me use Pic Control as those found in D90/D2x cameras even on NEFs captured by D40; 3) batch conversion to JPG even with adjustment settings done (so you do not need to make adjustments to each individual NEF if they share similar adjustments); 4) work directly on NEF for global adjustments, lens distortions, colour fringements, etc; 5) much much cheaper than Photoshop but with enough power tools for image enhancements

    That is why I shoot NEFs so I get to fully utilize Capture NX2.2. BTW, it works on JPGs too but u lose PicControl and In-Camera adjustments like WhiteBalance, etc. I change to JPG only when I need to shoot sports or shoot something fast non-stop, or I am running out of memory cards.

  • docloy August 21, 2009 11:57 am

    Im just an amature photograpaher, but using in Raw and JPeg, needs a lot practice for me, Raw shots give me the edge in my post production printing.

  • Glenn August 21, 2009 11:36 am

    For me I shoot RAW sometimes only if I'm having a situation which needed a blow up pictures. Let say for example billboards. RAW file makes my storage bulk with out having use of it. Memory cards are cheap but the question is, Is it useful? (what I mean are the shoots in RAW) if I think its very useful then I prefer RAW but if its not then JPEG. Unless your trying to explore the power of your DSLR. (Nikon D70s, D80 and D90 are cameras that I used)

  • Alex August 21, 2009 11:01 am

    Raw. I currently use iPhoto to manage my images, so Raw integration is absolutely seamless, there's no conversion process prior to import. I make adjustments if/when I edit the image.

  • johnp August 21, 2009 10:49 am

    I'm afraid I agree with Bill. I wonder if the JPEG quality from these new generation cameras will actually reduce the need to develop Raw. I find I am hard pressed matching the incamera processing. Why fix something if it is not broken? Unless you actually enjoy sitting in front of a computer more than is necessary.

  • Dave August 21, 2009 10:47 am

    My Canon 50D allows me to shoot in RAW & JPEG at the same time, Sometimes I am in a situation where someone will want a copy right then and I can give the the JPEG withoout having to go through all the editing and converting.

  • Bill Powers August 21, 2009 10:37 am

    Hi there,

    JPEG. If I had an inferior camera I would shoot RAW, to doctor up the second-rate images. Fortunately, I have a Nikon D80 that deveops exceptional images within the camera--so there is rarely a need to use Lightroom 2, or Elements 7, both excellent programs that I can get by without using.

    I do the Straighten, and Crop activities in Picasa 3 for my JPEGs--and I don't need much else. I have seen many, many RAW images that were so skillfully edited they simply don't look right anymore--they are a new kind of picture--they're perfect--that I am not impressed with.

    One more thing: Maybe memory is cheap, but time certainly isn't.

    Bill Powers

  • KeithW August 21, 2009 10:36 am

    I have my camera set to shoot RAW and Jpg so I have an image I can work on if necessary and a readily available jpg as well.

  • John August 21, 2009 10:30 am

    Always shoot in RAW. Everything. Have not shot a jpeg image in over a year. RAW just flat out gives me more control.

  • Brian August 21, 2009 10:22 am

    Having just purchased a Canon PowerShot SX10 IS, with which I am very pleased, it only allows you to shoot in JPEG, but that is quite OK for my type of photos.

  • Alessio August 21, 2009 09:46 am

    Depends on what i'm going to do. If i have to shoot several pictures quickly i shoot in jpg, if i'm taking a portrait or any type of picture that doesnt require several shots to be taken i shoot in raw.
    Just because, at least with my camera, taking a shot in RAW is slower, it requires more time before i can take another.
    p.s.: sorry for the horrible english =P

  • Stewart Moreland August 21, 2009 09:40 am

    I only shoot RAW when doing more professional engagements. When I'm shooting for personal use (i.e. to share w/ family or friends via web medium) I usually use jpeg.

  • Walt August 21, 2009 09:34 am

    I actually shoot both a RAW and JPEG of every picture although I'm beginning to wonder why since Nikon Capture NX2 makes it so easy to save a JPEG. I love working with the NEF images since no matter what you do to it, the original is always there. Having a JPEG file makes it easier to share with someone quickly.

  • Gerardo August 21, 2009 09:11 am

    I always shoot in RAW. To deal with the issue of the file storage I got a 2TB external Hard Disk and have two SD cards for my camera: 8GB and 16 GB. The quality and the possibilities of improving the images with Lightroom worth the extra storage required.

  • Robert August 21, 2009 09:09 am

    I now shoot in RAW and immediately convert them to JPEG with my camera supplied software at the highest quality setting, which does not compress the huffman colour table. The in-camera JPEG mode does not have an option to save at this quality level. (search for JPEGsnoop to verify JPEG quality). The freeware Rawtherapee product also can convert to an uncompressed colour table quality level. This lets me save JPEG files which are larger then normal JPEGs but significantly smaller then TIFF files, and are a suitable compromise for me.

  • R. Campbell August 21, 2009 09:06 am

    I have a Cannon 400D which allows me to shoot in RAW and JPEG together. I have the best of both worlds, JPEG for everyday/casual/snaphot types and raw if I decide that one of those needs special attention or if I am doing some realy serious work. There is no forgetting to set it, it is always there, and as others have said - memory is cheap.

  • Lars Jacobsen August 21, 2009 08:42 am

    I'm in line with the previous poster. I have a Nikon D80, but I don't do any post-processing on my pictures, except occasional cropping. This I can do just fine on jpg images. But I wouldn't dismiss the possibility completely, that I might start doing it in the future. Right now I don't even have Photoshop or other advanced picture editors, so I don't really feel the need to use RAW format.

  • Morgana August 21, 2009 08:37 am

    I always shoot raw because I find the quality of image is better; the down side is that time it takes to process the images. It doesn't suit everyone but definitely works for me. :)

  • Scott August 21, 2009 07:58 am

    I, now, almost always shoot in RAW. My brother-in-law, who works in a camera store and shoots many photos, still won't shoot in RAW. But when we talk about it and the options I have for post processing, he continues to warm to it. Maybe he'll convert soon.

  • Doug Pardee August 21, 2009 07:48 am

    After a year of shooting Raw, I switched back to JPEG for most of my work about 3 years ago, and it's made my photography a lot more fun.

    That's just me. I never was a darkroom kind of person... I shot slides for 20-30 years. I work on computers all day at my job, so I want to spend my off-time with my camera and not with my computer. Computer=work, camera=fun. Hmm, which one do I want to be working with?

    My life does not revolve around producing "the perfect photo". Photography is one of my hobbies; it's just for fun. Obsessing over photographic perfection isn't fun for me. Again, that's just me.

  • Jim H. August 21, 2009 07:33 am

    I always shoot in raw mode. I can manipulate the phot later if desired and by saving a copy of the raw fle, I can go back any time and create a jpeg for sharing. Takes a lot of hard drive space, but what the h***.....that's why I have it and can get as much as needed. Does anybody use RAID?

  • Arthur August 21, 2009 07:02 am

    There's are many terrific reasons, on both sides of the arena as noted, to shoot RAW or jpg. It's the same old story it boils down to $$$$$ and Time. There is a multitude of digital darkroom software available today that maximizes RAW workflow.
    But, if you process allot of images I would suggest finding software that includes the ability to "batch process" your native RAW image conversion. Not all photo processing software has this ability, I personally find this feature saves more time than you would believe. If you shoot continuous batches of images, same location, subject and camera settings etc., you can apply your custom adjustments to the first photo and automatically process every photo in the batch, regardless of the amount, one click to apply settings to the whole batch. You don"t have to 'retrieve each image' to apply the same settings as your previous image like some systems. This ability leaves me more time to take pictures.
    After all is said an done a quality picture is what we are all after, and that's only as good as our weakest link, be it either our equipment or ourselves. My preference is an Aperture/NIK software suite digital darkroom utilizing U-Point technology for photographic images that look the most realistic, no artifacts on the finest detail. Visit their websites for more information.

  • Erin Wells August 21, 2009 06:54 am

    So im new to photography ... can you explain what shooting Raw means?

  • dave August 21, 2009 06:52 am

    i must admit i have a very vage idea what raw is but have not a clue on how or why i should use raw.

    is it possible to use a combo of raw and j peg at the same time , any advice would be welcome.

  • Crystal August 21, 2009 06:47 am

    Always. Always always.
    I am a professional, and it has saved my bleep before enough times on underexposed shots I wanted to keep and would have had to throw out if they were Jpeg. Even of my family. I am always looking in my camera for creative shots no matter the subject.
    But the control, especially when using light room and CS4, is too much to turn the back on. Creatively, its the way to go. I cant wait to see whats next.
    Why wouldn't you want more control? More pixels? More everything? I do!

    I can see though, if you don't use the professional aspect, why one wouldn't use it. It takes a lot of time to learn also, white balance is tricky, and todays world wants fast and done for you. I get it totally.

    Personally, I make art prints and posters often, Raw is the way of the pro. For family things, I use raw too...I just love it!
    My husband uses Raw+jpeg and plays with them, although he isnt a photographer, he has his own camera and hobbies with it. He loves Raw!

  • Geoff August 21, 2009 06:44 am

    I am only new to photography (about 3 weeks) I did choose RAW last wekend for a surf comp but once I got home I got totally confused with how to share my pics and took me about an hour to work out how to change the format. Being new I am also learning how to use my camera and its settings without having to bother with learning my way around the editing of pics in RAW - maybe in the future tho

  • Kate August 21, 2009 06:41 am

    I mostly shoot in raw, except for quick snaps for the web which I won't be editing. The reason I shoot in raw is to have the full range of information, that hasn't been tampered with by the jpeg software, available. My camera (Canon EOS 350D) is prone to colour shifts when using the jpeg format, and some of the things I shoot require absolute colour accuracy.

  • Patricia Reiser August 21, 2009 06:23 am

    For just family stuff I capture in jpg. but if it is for a client or something I know I may want more control over the end result I will shoot in RAW.

  • Francisco B. Maciel August 21, 2009 06:11 am

    One time RAW, all time RAW. The difference makes quality!

  • Phil M. August 21, 2009 06:02 am

    I shoot RAW unless I'm a second shooter for someone else, using their cards, and they require JPG. That has only happened twice in the past 2-3years. It give the best possibilities for post processing, and more leeway if I make a mistake on a rushed shot. I don't think it should be used as an excuse for photogs getting sloppy or lazy with their settings. Getting it right in the camera makes post processing so much better.

  • Andy August 21, 2009 05:44 am

    jpg is for amateurs, raw is for professionals.

  • Julia Buckley August 21, 2009 05:40 am

    I love the result of shooting in RAW but I lack the time to process them and I have carpel tunnel now so I have to find another creative outlet that doesn't require my right hand.

  • Lizabeta August 21, 2009 05:32 am

    Oh, yes, sorry,... and, I really really wish RAW had a way to view thumbnails.

  • Lizabeta August 21, 2009 05:30 am

    I shoot in RAW when I know I'm going to work the image in Photoshop or think I might need to, or, if the pictures are important to me.
    I shoot in large jpg when I know I'm going to take a lot of photos that won't need to be edited and I don't want to have to change the CF Card.
    Mostly in RAW, but I wish bigger CF cards were available at a lower price. (Or the Eye Fi made a CF Card.)

  • Michel Keijzers August 21, 2009 05:15 am

    I missed the option ... Almost always in Raw ... I shoot always in RAW, except when I need the speed to make multiple pictures (burst shooting).

  • Philippe August 21, 2009 04:49 am

    For many years I only shot ,jpg photos. I could not see much difference between photos shot in .jpg and those in RAW. Canon's RAW converter was ( and is) not very good and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) was only a little better.

    However, I've done a complete reversal. Why? First, I read "Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS3" by Fraser and Schewe. It makes the strongest case for shooting RAW I've read. RAW files contain FAR more data than .jpg files. It's left to the photographer to make processing choices, not the camera maker's engineers. Second, I use Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Camera Raw 4 (ACR). I always thought shooting Raw was time cosuming as it only complicated the workflow. In ACR 4 I find the default settings to be so good there is little left to adjust. Furthermore, I can batch process many Raw files with the same settings. When opened in Photoshop there is not much left to do. Third, if I change my mind the original Raw file is still in tact so it's easy to start over. A .jpg file begins life already processed and with each additional modification it only gets worse. Fourth, ACR 4 was very good, but ACR 5 is simply incredible. I make huge enlargements and my photos still look great. If you are still using .jpg you really should read Fraser and Schewe's book. There is more data in the first highlight stop of a Raw file than in an entire .jpg file.

  • Uxio August 21, 2009 04:19 am

    I only shoot raw for important indoor pictures or night photography. If I don't plan to try to get the best out of the darkness I won't tshoot raw.

    For me, shooting raw means a big stop on my keeping-my-pictures-and-albums-up-to-date-and-in-good-condition task.

    I don't like to reprocess every photo. I thing my camera does pretty good in real time with jpg. More than enough for my everyday shots.

  • Kari August 21, 2009 04:17 am

    Always RAW, all the time. I haven't shot in jpg since mid-2007, and I don't miss it at all. I love the control I have!!

  • Kudos August 21, 2009 04:13 am

    There should be the category "No, because the camera does not support the format."

  • Deborah August 21, 2009 04:03 am

    As a studio photographer I always shoot raw files. People are never static especially children so it is important to have options. Likewise when I shoot everyday photos I shoot with raw files. IT is worth the space and time. It has been myexperience that when I least expect it is when I am presented with the most amazing shots. Having come int o photography from the artist side; I know the value of being able to work with the dynamic values in the shadows and highlights.

  • Michael August 21, 2009 03:51 am

    As a fashion photographer, I think its essential to shoot in RAW! It just makes my edting, easier, quicker and slicker!! As a fresh new photographer I started only with JPEG, but with more experience I've realised that RAW is definately the way to go!!

    M

  • bj-lee August 21, 2009 03:49 am

    I shoot in RAW. Love it. Own an old Sigma SD-9.
    Very powerful images and when I run them through GIMP or PHOTO-SHOP, I can really, really, really play hard with the data.
    I run Images through ICE or Synth and they are breathtaking! http://livelabs.com/photosynth/
    (ICE) http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/
    I can't say the same for Jpeg files. So much is lost or compressed or guessed at.
    No, RAW is a cool tool.
    My only comment to the negative is that all RAW file formats are not the same...too bad.

  • Carolyn August 21, 2009 03:41 am

    I have shot in RAW exclusively since about a month after getting my first DSLR . . ..there is so much more information there and it gives waaaaaaaaay more flexibility for correcting WB etc. I happen to love post processing and seeing where you can take a photo that lots of times is actually quite drab and adding punch to it. It is part of the fun for me and with using Bridge it is very easy to sort which ones you want to play with by assigning a tag . . ...LIghtroom does a fabulous job of correcting WB . . ...love playing with the plugins . . .so why not shoot in RAW . . .. there is just so much more information in the basic file.

  • Todd Eddy August 21, 2009 03:35 am

    I'm thinking there's going to be a lot more people using RAW simply because storage is a lot cheaper now than it was in 2007. Heck terabyte drives are less than $100 now.

    I allways shoot raw because I never know when some random picture is going to be really good and I want to play with it some. Also because if I set it to jpg I'd forget to change it back to raw when I really wanted it to be in raw. I did start out with sRAW(~3MP) + JPG but then just went with full RAW. My 40D has a 10MP sensor so it's not bad. If I get a camera with a larger sensor I'd probably use an sRAW around 8-10MP as that's all I'll need most of the time.

  • Tanya August 21, 2009 03:32 am

    I have uestions!! I just spent tons of time going thru all the comments, and I am very interested in starting to shoot RAW, but honestly dont know where to start. I am very comfortable doing pp and use photoshop CS3. sounds like i am able to use that program with my RAW photos- correct?

    I have no issue with the extra storageneeded to shoot RAW, and agree that the cost of EHDs is really no big deal.

    Currently my post processing does take some time, do RAW images take less time? is there some sort of way to "batch" process photos when you are working with RAW?

    also, shooting in jpeg + RAW, does that give you 2 images of each photo? could you not delete one or the other depending on which you plan on using?

    thanks for all the feedback!

    What about workflow? anyone willing to share? I

  • Mandi August 21, 2009 03:32 am

    Currently I only shoot in JPG, but I am planning to start trying RAW after I get the proper software.

  • Douglas August 21, 2009 03:29 am

    I shoot in raw as the quality of colours, blacks and whites, for me, are important when editing photographs. It is more work, time etc - but I think it is worth it.

  • Harry Joseph August 21, 2009 03:27 am

    I'm not into editing very much. I'm a computer programmer by day, photographer by night & on the weekends so the whole thing about sitting infront of a terminal all day long editing pictures does not do it for me. When I first got into digital I noticed that there were slight differences and I mean very slight because I had to ask myself if I was seeing things, between Large JPEG and RAW. I favored the RAW files until I started running out of room on my hard Drive. So I went back to large JPEG to save some room. On weekends I shoot Little leaugue sports for a a Youth Sports photography company. Usually I shoot about 300 to 400 kids on a given weekend. Given that there are 20 other photographers, who shoot about the same rate, do the math. My boss could not afford all the flash cards if we shot RAW. For professional shoots other than youth sports, I do shoot RAW, but it is not a mandotary thing for me. I switch back and forth depending on the situation.

  • J.A.Lambert August 21, 2009 03:26 am

    I always shoot in RAW because this format provides me with a "negative" which I can copy and try experimental work. I also like to edit my images fairly ofen and RAW allows me to do that with no loss of resolution. The RAW format also provides a much higher resolution than jpg. The downside is, of course, the great size of the files. Storing them on an external hard drive solves that problem though.

  • Eric August 21, 2009 03:19 am

    When I use my canon point and shoot, I have to use jpeg. When I borrow my dad's rebel, it is always, always raw. I have LR2.4 you just never know. I have a terabyte hard drive that LR backs up to, and if I really really need the space, I'll delete a few of the oldest folders from the my laptop. I still keep the files in LR's catalog, though, because if I ever need them, I could copy the originals from the hard drive back onto my laptop.

    For those who are talking about turnaround time- LR has facebook, flickr, smugmug, and picasa export plugins. I can dump raw on my laptop and export them straight to facebook without even copying new jpegs. Those jpegs never touch my hard drive, and the mogrify plugin automatically adds my watermark whenever I export anywhere.

    It's pretty cool. :)

  • Allan Harris August 21, 2009 03:19 am

    RAW - why throw away most of the data? You can retrieve so much in RAW if you get the exposure wrong or if there is too wide a range in exposure in the shot, if the WB is wrong - then RAW it is. I use Lightroom, convert to DNG on import and then have no problems manipulating the image. JPEG looks OK on a computer but RAW results in a better print.

  • Russ August 21, 2009 03:18 am

    I invested in a 15 megapixel camera that captures 16 bit images. Shooting in JPEG throws away most of the capured information. Shooting in both Raw and JPEG simultaneously and comparing the results shows that there is a big diference. I'm a frugal yankee and don't like to waste anything.

  • Joanne August 21, 2009 03:15 am

    I am STILL shooting fine jpegs for majority of my work. I use fill flash and most of my shots are right on exposure wise so the ability to correct everything later isn't that important. I do however see the value in capturing more information - being able to shoot in adverse lighting situations - and some end customers require the raw file soooo I do some work in raw.. As soon as I can find a program that allows me to work as efficiently with raw as I can with jpeg I will probably shoot all raw too. It appears that MacKintosh users have an advantage with post processing raw images because of Aperature - switching from Windows platform would really cause havoc with my set-up right now.

  • Vivian Bedoya August 21, 2009 02:57 am

    It took a while for me to switch to RAW but once I did, I never went back. Yes, the files are large. Yes, they take a bit of post-processing. Yes, I'm running out of room on my SECOND hard drive - LOL! But I love having all of the detail that I shoot recorded and having more options to perfect (and even save) a shot than what jpeg offers.

  • Demoshane August 21, 2009 02:54 am

    Because I usually want to have raw file in hand if I want to make adjustments later on. Tho Im running very low on HD space :)

  • Katie August 21, 2009 02:51 am

    JPEG. I am not a Pro, so I do not feel the need to shoot RAW. And I could never afford the storage!!! I may change my mind one day.

  • Dan A. August 21, 2009 02:45 am

    If you had a photo that you shot for a client in .jpg that the color balance or exposure was off and you thought to yourself...if I had only shot in RAW I could have saved the image...you will never go back to shooting pure jpg.

    For those who are need image management - heck for $99 US list you can get PS Elements which does a really decent job of image management using RAW files.

    Why would you purchase a GOOD camera and reduce it's capabilities by shooting jpg..also..why would you trust the jpg conversion to capture what was REALLY there in terms of color and vibrance.

    It comes down to a matter of what givesus our BEST images! Would you really want to produce 2nd best.. and that is what .jpg is.

  • Bob Nelson August 21, 2009 02:31 am

    Thursday 20 August 2009

    I shoot in RAW and Fine .Jpg. I can send the .jpgs by email with a quick crop and sizing quickly.

    Then with RAW I can edit down to .tif or .jpg for printing or my web site.

    Bob Nelson

    San Francisco, CA, USA

  • GabeG August 21, 2009 02:31 am

    RAW + Small JPG FTW.

    I mainly shoot models and it makes it easier for me to have a JPG already so i can make a web gallery

  • Mark August 21, 2009 02:29 am

    I used to shoot RAW+JPG so I would have JPG's to upload to friends immediately. Then I found the program Instant JPG from RAW, which allows me to get those JPG's very quickly and gives me a little more room on each memory card since I can now just shoot RAW.

  • SMII August 21, 2009 02:24 am

    Will not wash, there are some don't know what RAW is.

  • Chris Alleaume August 21, 2009 02:23 am

    The only reason I see to shoot RAW is for post-processing.
    Sure, you have a lot of data available - but let's be honest - the better your skill, the less you will need to work on your post-processing...

    I seldom shoot RAW - Photoshop CS4 does a pretty good job of post-processing, n'est-ce-pas?
    Why struggle with the overheads of writing RAW files to your card, when a JPEG does just fine (provided you haven't porked the shot)?
    Space isn't that much of an issue. Cards at 16 - 32GB are widely available and much cheaper these days.
    Unless you're fortunate enough to shoot with a professional DSLR (eg 5D, 1D, D3, D3X) where writing is lightning fast, it doesn't make too much sense to me...

  • adfotos August 21, 2009 02:20 am

    The only time I shoot JPEG (being an amateur photographer with a rebel xsi) is in museums, to capture the artist and painting or sculpture name. Otherwise, everything I shoot is in RAW, especially now that I have an 8gb SDHC card and a 250gb hard drive in my laptop. It's more space, but the quality, oh, the quality.

  • Richard August 21, 2009 02:16 am

    Always RAW. Shooting jpg simply throws away too many post-shoot processing options. Sometimes - many times - it does not matter that much, but I have always regretted the occasional times that I, usually through my own error, have shot jpg instead of RAW.

  • ilyac August 21, 2009 02:14 am

    I shoot in RAW+JPEG
    I sort though the JPEG's to quickly get rid of what did not come out like i wanted or anything like that and then import the RAWs that I will keep or work with further. for pictures with friends most of the time i don't edit much of anything, so it's nice to just send whatever jpegs they want without converting.
    Even still, I like to have the RAWs just so that i have the option of editing if I want to. Space is cheap.
    the JPEG's just load faster so its sometimes convenient to load those first for te sake of sorting.

  • Pauly August 21, 2009 02:08 am

    I use JPG if I'm handling sports photography, for example (continuous shoot; camera bogs down writing to storage). Otherwise I love RAW.

  • Sarah G August 21, 2009 02:05 am

    Always in RAW, once I realised the power held within it to salvage a mediocre pic just by bumping a few little sliders, I've not looked back.

    @Doc Holliday - I got a round tuit from Hawkins Bazaar, can't see it on their website anymore but you can buy fancier ones here: http://www.quantumenterprises.co.uk/roundtuit/ ;)

  • Dr PJ Venter August 21, 2009 01:58 am

    RAW..... Always. I am a converted RAW shooter and hate myself for not starting earlier. Just imagine how much data I through away, data I could have used to do things my way.... gone forever!

    More space, sure. More work, absolutely. Better photographs, no doubt. I get what is available in terms of data, not just what the 'camera' decides is good enough. The analogy I read somewhere.... if you have a choice for the future, would you prefer a Polaroid Picture or the negative of a picture? Which one will scan/process the best?

    I am a photographer, not a MwC (man-with-camera). I made my choice.

  • Craig Nelson August 21, 2009 01:50 am

    You can shoot in JPEG? Ha ha laughable I shot an outdoor boxing event this weekend in Raw. Becasue it was so bright out and most of the fighters had dark skin the faces came out black on the original exposure. There is no way I could have fixed that if shot in JPEG. Just set it up in Light Room and in a few minutes I had a thousand usable images with faces I could see.......I also shoot with much more confidence knowing I can always go back and make adjustments. I find that doing anything with confidence always improves performance no matter what it is, RIGHT?

  • Doc Holliday August 21, 2009 01:42 am

    Because I have managed to accumulate 31GB of CF cards, (although shooting RAW & JPG just about cuts in half the number of images per GB), and because a friend who is a very good landscape provider told me I 'should' shoot in RAW.

    I keep meaning to try to edit RAW, but I haven't ever gotten around to it. I will when I get 'a round toit...'

  • Chet August 21, 2009 01:28 am

    SLR for pictures, P/S for snaps.

    What's the point of using any kind of creative process when taking a picture to hand it off to somebody else's creativity?

    Processing a picture is the second part of photography that many people forget about. When using film, the only time a photographer wouldn't process the film and print pictures is when the film and pictures belonged to someone else and that someone else would process it to their liking or the photographers themselves don't have the means to process and print. With digital, photographers now have the means to process.

    I go to the trouble of framing, choosing a Color Temp, work to find a combination of speed and DoF that would work well for me, and spend lots of money on lenses and lighting to aid this process...

    Why in the world would I give up the benefits of processing after all this? If processing, why not RAW? Seriously, how many times is 2x3 the best crop ratio for a picture? Exactly how true is any captured image in terms basic tone to real life?

    I am a believer in getting as much right as possible before I click but I'm not good enough or fast enough a photographer to adjust everything in advance in anticipation of how it will be jpeg processed.

    Now with Lightroom, basic processing is so easy and fast and you get the benefit of cataloging. Further, for the most part, I don't need web, High Quality, and 3 different print versions of an image. Just export as needed.

    I shoot Jpeg when it is specifically requested. When pictures are someone else's and they want them right away or are concerned with the speed (sports).

    I also shoot Jpeg when I have to work with a crappy workflow that cannot flow with RAW.

    Every time I shoot Jpeg, I wish I had RAWs.

    Here's the thing though...
    When jpeg photographers see me process a series of pictures, they start shooting raw.

  • Fletch August 21, 2009 01:06 am

    RAW - Because you have to be crazy not to!!

    With Lightroom the workflow is just as quick with RAW as if I shot JPEG. Combine that with the fact that perfect white balance is one of the most important aspects of digital photography and I can't see any logical reason no to shoot 100% RAW.

    The only reason not to shoot RAW is if you are never ever ever going to edit your pictures. And all DSLR photos should be edited.

  • Jim Stearns August 21, 2009 12:56 am

    Jpeg - RAW

    If you snap your pic in jpeg.... save a copy and convert the copy to tiff or psd to do your Post processing. Keep in mind that everytime you save a jpeg during post processing it compresses the file again from the orginial image. If you convert a jpeg file to RAW you have a copy the orginal jpeg that was snapped with your camera. The conversion will NOT obtain anymore data because you converted it to RAW!

    Work flow:
    Make a copy of the orginial and store the orginial in a safe place.
    Convert the orginial jpeg to another format, i.e. tiff, psd, etc., for processing
    Do any post processing you might need and save in the format, i.e. tiff, psd, etc
    Convert back to jpeg or what everr format you need to present the image.

    Have fun, shoot alot,
    Jim
    Member: NAPP, PhotoWorkShop (PWS)

  • Buckmiester August 21, 2009 12:52 am

    I use RAW primarily except for some action shots, such as flying birds, or moving people (sports) and animals.

  • Vlad August 21, 2009 12:41 am

    RAW, always RAW! Another benefir of RAW is that it allows you to process the images in sRGB (for web) or Adobe RGB (for print) at a later time.
    As previously noted, today's digital storage media bargain prices (both flash and hard drive) diminishes importance of image size.

  • Lizzy August 21, 2009 12:41 am

    I have only just started shooting raw as i have only just learnt how to process it and got software that will easily do such things! :D

  • Jim Stearns August 21, 2009 12:38 am

    I always snap RAW and also convert them to DNG in Lightroom which also saves a copy of the RAW file.

    When I get home from a shoot I down load via Lightroom which saves it to an external drive and the computer. I also do not leave the external drive connected to the computer. Lesson learned: Had the external drive connected to the computer and the computer power suipply blew. Power surge zappped one of my internal drive and the backup external drive.... :( $2100 dollars later I recovered the images images from the old external drive.

    DISCONNECT IT and place it in a safe place.... much cheaper! I'm in the process of backing up the backup external drive and it will be placed in another seperate location.

    Have fun, shoot a lot.....
    Jim

  • philippe99 August 21, 2009 12:10 am

    I always shoot in RAW, store my photos in their native RAW format (less than 80$ for 1 To storage capacity on the market, external hard drives are very affordable), but after processing them, send/share/online-print them on the JPEG format

  • D. Travis North August 21, 2009 12:01 am

    Always shoot in RAW, or at least RAW/JPEG combo. The exception is when I'm doing quick snapshots of family events, I won't bother with RAW. But for anything else...RAW gives you unparalleled control over your photos.

  • bearly August 20, 2009 11:56 pm

    no, unfortunately.

    the only reason for that however is that i only have a crappy point and shoot because i'm too poor to afford a dslr. :(

  • Steve August 20, 2009 11:46 pm

    I used to shoot jpeg when I first got my camera, but no longer. Too many photos needing to be touched up for others and you have very limited post processing ability compared to raw. Add to that the RAW format isn't degrading the photo everytime you work on it. I also use Adobe DNG converter to download to my computer so my RAW format can be used by anyone and Photoshop RAW processing is very good. Unlike many comments, I don't find RAW to be anymore time consuming than JPEG. One, other thing, you never know when the picture you really need is going to be that jpeg that can't be processed well.

  • Stone August 20, 2009 11:19 pm

    Most of the time I shoot JPEG & RAW at the same time.

  • Bernie Beck August 20, 2009 11:16 pm

    I shoot JPEG. Don't have the time or software to process the RAW files. Would like to learn how in the future though.

  • Veruschka B August 20, 2009 10:59 pm

    Raw all the way ! why shoot in jpg? am i missing something?

  • Maurice Prokaziuk August 20, 2009 10:52 pm

    Seems that most people that shoot RAW all the time have a lot of time on their hands to do post processing. I do at occasions shoot in RAW. I find that the Nikon Capture NX sofware works very well on JPEG images. My RAW shots are for those very difficult lighting situations were post processing is a must.

  • Stefano August 20, 2009 10:41 pm

    When possible I shoot in RAW+Large jpg.
    I then use the jpg for normal use and keep the RAW for future reference.
    But beware: I am not a photographer, just an enthusiast...

  • FriedChicken August 20, 2009 09:07 pm

    I shoot JPG, though I'd actually really like to shoot RAW.

    Just that, at the moment, the digital workflow is not a practical option for me. In a month, probably RAW will be on the agenda.

  • Jeff Armstrong August 20, 2009 08:56 pm

    ALWAYS shoot RAW then use 'Instant Jpeg from RAW' (IJFR) http://ijfr.software.informer.com/. It's a great utility does does almost exactly the same compression that your camera does when shooting and it does it in seconds. You get extra files on your HD but you also get more space on your memory card (if ur shooting dual) and the original RAW's as well. It really could not be better! Try it. What have you got to lose?

  • Dennis August 20, 2009 08:47 pm

    I've been shooting in RAW ever since I shifted from JPEG to this format. It allows me some control over exposure.

  • Jeff Armstrong August 20, 2009 08:40 pm

    ALWAYS shoot RAW then use 'Instant Jpeg from RAW' (IJFR). It's a great utility does does almost exactly the same compression that your camera does when shooting and it does it in seconds. You get extra files on your HD but you also get more space on your memory card and the original RAW's as well. It really could not be better! Try it. What have you got to lose?

  • Richard X. Thripp August 20, 2009 07:20 pm

    Yes. Always have, always will. Except when I'm using my digital compact which only offers JPEG.

  • Pascal Parent August 20, 2009 07:05 pm

    Raw allows for so much more in post, why would anyone choose to shoot in anything else?

  • Steve August 20, 2009 06:40 pm

    I always shoot in RAW. Since I post-process my photos (even when you think a photo looks fine as it is, it's amazing how much better you can make it by bothering to process it), RAW allows me much more control than I'd get if I shot in JPEG. Also, it does allow me to 'rescue' images that otherwise would be lost (though I do try to take photos right in the first place!)...

    By the way, I use Aperture rather than Lightroom because Aperture's organisational features seem much more logical to me. However, I prefer to do most of my retouching in Photoshop CS3 (I haven't gotten around to upgrading to CS4 yet...) + Adobe Camera Raw.

    Steve

  • Martin Jamieson August 20, 2009 05:55 pm

    I only sometimes shoot in RAW. I usually use JPG because I am not of a standard where anyone would tell the difference anyway.

  • tommaso galli August 20, 2009 05:39 pm

    i alwais shoot raw, despite i still have to find a easy & fast way (on mac) to keep just raw for some pict and leave other just in jpg.

  • Kristjan August 20, 2009 05:14 pm

    I shoot in RAW because I am a happy amateur and RAW lets me fix my images afterwards if I get the wrong white balance or exposure with better results than a JPG. So basically it is a lifeline, I am too afraid of getting bad pictures.

  • Mark Ngui August 20, 2009 05:09 pm

    I shoot 100% in RAW now that I'm down only owning a DSLR. I sift through all captures using Lightroom and postprocess the "winners" there. Storage is cheap and I have a dedicated hard disk on the home network for photos. Other people have mentioned Lightroom and I am a relative beginner. But it is a powerful one-stop shop piece of software and like almost everyone here that does shoot in RAW - I simply cannot live without the post processing control that it offers and that has become quite an important part of digital photography. The only limitation I have is an old slow imac G4 which will soon be upgraded to a new 15' macbook pro with much better screen and processor. OK... so I don't shoot RAW all the time...My Lomo doesn't have that setting ;)

  • Amanda August 20, 2009 05:07 pm

    Once I got my DSLR, I never went back from RAW, it's great the post processing capabilities it has versus JPG.

  • Gaurav Prabhu August 20, 2009 04:33 pm

    I cannot shoot under RAW since my camera(Canon SX 100 IS) has no support for RAW :(

  • Todd August 20, 2009 04:12 pm

    I always shoot in RAW. It's the first setting change I made when I got my last two cameras.

    And why not shoot in RAW, if your camera supports it? RAW allows you to correct most mistakes in software later, although I think it is often better to get as much right in-camera that you can, and tune it in PP later. The end-result is better without heavy-duty fiddling.

    And for those of you with P&S Canons, you can enable RAW on most of your cameras. Check out this site to download and use a non-damaging Canon camera software hack that is so much fun!

  • Vilmis @ World In Snapshots August 20, 2009 03:30 pm

    As most of reader I shoot in RAW. In cases I know I will need straight away post or email some pictures I just switch to RAW+JPG mode.

  • Bostjan B. August 20, 2009 03:19 pm

    Since I started shooting raw, I did have some comebacks to jpg but only a few times and for only a short time. Last time I shot jpg was in combo with raw, because I was doing a wedding and they needed my jpg for on the spot picture development. RAW is time consuming, but it is the time I'm always happy to give, since there is so much learning experience when you have to convert RAW. Not just the technical side of the photos, but everything. It makes you look at your photos a little while and I find that great, because it gives me the idea of what photos please me and which one don't.
    A fellow photographer always bickers about shooting RAW, but when we've shot one wedding together, he forgot about WB and guess what? My photos were much better and I had so much easier job fixing white balance on my RAW than he had on his jpg.

  • ben August 20, 2009 03:14 pm

    Would like to shoot in RAW. Can't. Nikon P90 doesn't have RAW support :/

  • m.s. August 20, 2009 03:08 pm

    Shooting in raw is the best way to take an image as you are getting all of the allowable pixels into the image. If you compare RAW against JPEG you will find that Jpeg lacks the clarity and colors that RAW can give you. Not to mention that when you edit a raw image you have to use special software that can correct your image without destroying the quality nor compressing it. I've been shooting in raw for years. It's the only thing besides using "manual" that makes sense in photography.

  • Sune Trudslev August 20, 2009 02:54 pm

    Being able to selecting things like exposure, whitebalance and many other things without loss of quality makes it a simple choice for me. I always shoot in RAW when it is possible. The only situation I can think of where I use JPG is if I need to capture action.

  • Jason August 20, 2009 02:04 pm

    RAW all the way - I can't live without the control I have on the file afterwards.

  • Braden Lynch August 20, 2009 12:37 pm

    Never. I do not have the time or inclination for post processing for an acceptable image. If I do not shoot it right in camera than it is my loss! It forces me to think before I shoot and to often vary my shooting modes, bracket, change aperature and shutter speed.

  • DAVE ID August 20, 2009 11:51 am

    When I purchased my stand-by carry-along compact camera, RAW was a feature that wasn't negotiable, it had to have it.

  • Sandro August 20, 2009 11:29 am

    Nearly always. The main exception for me are signs for cars. I find myself periodically snapping pics of cars at car shows. No need to shoot the sign that identifies the year, make and model in RAW.

  • Jen August 20, 2009 11:20 am

    I'm all about creative choices being left up to me, and not the camera. Way back in the day that's what turned me on to manual photography. RAW is just another way to let me make the decisions, and I love that.

  • Deranged August 20, 2009 11:16 am

    I always shoot RAW just as a 'just in case'. I could always convert some jpegs from the RAWs but i am not going to recover that extra detail if I only had a jpeg.

  • MeiTeng August 20, 2009 11:06 am

    I always shoot in RAW and I don't think I would want to go back to shooting in JPEG. RAW gives me greater flexibility and control over my images.

  • johnp August 20, 2009 10:52 am

    I used to shoot RAW but have an issue with it at present. My Pentax K7 Adobe RAW files do not convert as well in photoshop as my old K10D files did. The out of camera premium JPEGS seem to have more detail (on average 1mb) than I can achieve in converting RAW files in photoshop and look better. As long as I keep an eye on white balance I really cant see any valid reason to shoot RAW. I know that shouldnt be the case but there you go.

  • Desmond Williams August 20, 2009 10:35 am

    I mainly shoot in RAW. I only use JPEG when I want to increase the number of snapshots captured during burst mode.

  • Zim August 20, 2009 10:12 am

    I'd shoot always in RAW, but those files are considerably big; so I'll stick with sometimes right now. Anyway, I have ony a point and shoot, so it won't take raw images :(

  • --Deb August 20, 2009 09:16 am

    I did use RAW for a while, but the files took up too much space, it took too darn long, and I couldn't share the pictures with anybody before manually processing them all to jpegs. And, since I've discovered I can use the Raw Converter in Photoshop even with jpegs to adjust white balance and such ... and since I'm not remotely a professional photographer ... I've switched back to jpegs except for Very Special Occasions.

  • Jacob Wighton August 20, 2009 08:08 am

    I only recently started using RAW (on my 40D) and although I don't notice a huge amount of difference in quality, it makes editing the photos to a point where I want them to be, so much more easy and achievable.

  • jeremyjace August 20, 2009 08:07 am

    I shoot in RAW as a precaution. Even though I don't usually have the need to post-process my photos I do like having the option to do so.

  • Rachel August 20, 2009 08:06 am

    RAW ever since I got the memory cards to hold it.

    I put always, but its more like "when I remember" because i'll forget to switch to it if I reset my camera settings. The only other exception is for school event photos where I take too many and don't care enough to use anything other than jpeg.

  • NathanaelB August 20, 2009 07:55 am

    As I'm not a paid pro photographer most photos are just for me, so JPG is fine ... however if I'm shooting something tricky that I know I'll need to post-process for exposure/cast then I'll shoot RAW, such as low-light, high-contrast or weird-arse lighting situations.

  • Bruce August 20, 2009 07:54 am

    When I got my DSLR (D60) I was shooting exclusively in RAW, and using Lightroom 2 for processing, but I grew tired of seeing the wonderful colours wash out as each photo loaded. I understand this to be because LR loads the JPG first, and then the RAW file. Unfortunately, I could never get LR to match those vivid colours, and so I switched to shooting JPG. However, there is still a lot of processing in LR that can be done on JPG's.

  • Sean August 20, 2009 07:36 am

    Raw, almost all of the time, except when I need to email pictures that day.

    @Chad - You are right 90% of the time that the extra bits don't add much to your shot. Its that 10% (for me) where I like to shoot dimly lit scenes or I set the white balance incorrectly that raw does matter. For dim scenes, you can achieve better color accuracy (still a lot of noise) when boosting the exposure, the same shot with a jpeg will wash out towards gray. For white balance, it just works better with raw.

    Your mileage will vary according to the scenes you shoot and the quality of your camera's jpeg converter. As far as photography goes, what looks better IS better. After all, it's about your perception of the image.

  • Trevor Sowers August 20, 2009 07:33 am

    I shoot jpg if I am absolutely sure about white balance picture style exposure level of sharpening etc. If I am unsure about any of these I will use raw. The picture styles in canon DSLR's is a fantastic tool for setting up your "edits" in camera before the shot. Give it a try if you have a Canon. The portrait picture styles are capable of making stunning skin tones in portrait photography and I have trouble duplicating that look in post processing. Give it a try you may find that jpg isn't as bad as many like to believe. One of my favourite portrait photographers (Audrey Wolard) shoots only jpg and here shots are some of the best out there!

  • Noel August 20, 2009 07:31 am

    With the onset of Lightroom, it is now convenient to process RAW and still share JPG files with friends and families. RAW always have the advantage of being very forgiving when it comes to photographer's mistake. So much more flexibility. Also if you are still learning, like me it gives me the opportunity to go back and redo my photos. Only disadvantage I see with RAW is the size, but with the onset of DNG , external hard disk with pennies to a gigabyte. Size does not seem to be too much of a problem anymore.

  • pahprint August 20, 2009 07:11 am

    I find bracketing in RAW gives me a little more pp elbow room with shadow info. None of it is great on any so-called semi-pro camera. No offense Chad, but I still see current generation 12+ mp cameras that block up and go black in the shadows past X stops between high and low. Depends on the camera and the shooter but the flaw is still there. Go back a generation and a half and the flaw becomes a problem.

    In reality though I don't care a tinker's damn about knowing the bells and whistles of digital image processing. Neither did I care for all of the technical truths that were thrown up when digital sound first hit town (so to speak *smile*). Analog sound provided more usable sound information in the early days; it sounded better.

    Even though I don't use it anymore, I was formally trained in silver technology 25 years ago. RAW or JPEG, doesn't really matter, old fashioned film photography and properly processed negs provided, and still provide, a broader range of information to work with if you knew/know what you were/are doing. It still looks better.

    In the mean time I believe that RAW provides a little more opportunity to fine tune or tweek any digital image.

  • Dawn in NJ August 20, 2009 07:08 am

    With the advent of decreasing prices of higher capacity memory cards, and my purchase of Lightroom 2 which seems to render my shots close to what I need, and allows me to make changes in bulk, I have become an all RAW shooter. Thanks goes to those RAW evangelists who touted the ability to change basic WB, and exposure settings as well as those people who have created presets that have made "processing" my images on my own sooo much more efficient...

  • Thomas Dral August 20, 2009 06:52 am

    Yes I have both my DSLR camera's setup for RAW

  • Laura August 20, 2009 06:51 am

    My current camera doesn't have the capability to shoot in RAW, hence my "no" answer. :)

  • Kelly August 20, 2009 06:30 am

    I shoot in RAW because of the flexibility of editing in Adobe RAW. White balance and exposure are the two main things I tweak in RAW editor. I'm not a pro on photo shoots, so my 4GB memory card is more than sufficient between times I can get to the computer and download the images. I tried to go back to JPG and use the RAW editor on them when I couldn't get what I needed out of Photoshop, but it's not the same. So I went back to RAW. It's WELL worth the increase in file size.

  • dwk August 20, 2009 06:27 am

    Why NOT with Lightroom??

  • Rick August 20, 2009 06:24 am

    Chad, my camera - Canon 40d does capture more dynamic range in a scene in the raw than what can be represented in the converted jpg. Thus I have taken images in raw and used HDR software to make the details in the dark and bright areas visible in the picture and greatly improved the overall shot. You could not do this from a jpg going back to a TIFF. Once you get to the jpg, that extra dynamic range the camera captured is gone and that part will be washed out/blown out or black.

  • Larry August 20, 2009 06:20 am

    Always Raw. Having the three stops under and three stops over is a nice security blanket when a your paycheck is on the line. and using the Image processor in photoshop .. it takes no time to convert to jpg. or web size .jpg to sharing if you're in a hurry. I agree about getting it right in camera. But .jpg degrade and don't store well.

    I hear more from people doing reprints for a wedding client that have corrupted jpg's. that they stored on disc or hard disc. I find raw to be more stable, and I love that I can switch color space without worry of image degradation . Going from , RAW to LAB to sRGB to Adobe and to CMYK for a print job and I ALWAYS have a stable raw file to go back to. Personal preference I suppose. I just thinsk it suits my work and work-flow better. and the three stop variable does a lot more than cover your but if you don't get the shot in camera.

  • Kim August 20, 2009 05:55 am

    I resisted shooting in RAW for a long time due to the added step in post, but when I finally tried it I kicked myself for waiting so long. I spend much less time in PhotoShop now and if you do it right there are a lot of shortcuts in ACR that make batch processing pretty quick. You do need to develop a very deliberate workflow, only because you have so many options. The thing I love most about RAW is the ability to recover blown out skies. I get awesome HDR-like effects between Adobe ACR and PS3 without shooting multiple exposures. Like so many others here have said, once you go RAW you'll never go back.

  • michael August 20, 2009 05:49 am

    For RAW conversion in increasing order of cost:

    Look on the CD that came with your camera. All major manufacturers provide the software with the camera. Most of it is clunky but will get the job done.

    Use your operating system. Macs have RAW conversion built in if you use iPhoto (version 08 or 09). For Windows you may have to download the Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer.

    For cheap, do a search for shareware RAW converters. I haven't used any but some look decent and will probably be easier to use than most manufacturer's software.

    Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 or 7 (list $99 but is often discounted) comes with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) which has most of the conversion features of Lightroom (List $299). The full Photoshop is not cheap but CS3 and 4 also include ACR.

    On Macs, there's Aperture (List $199) a program similar to Lightroom. Another Lightroom alternative is Bibble, http://bibblelabs.com/. Bibble Lite is $90, Bibble Pro is $160. Bibble works on Linux.

    An interesting photo editing program based on the zone system, LightZone ($99) can work with RAW files: http://www.lightcrafts.com/lightzone/

  • Mark Kenny August 20, 2009 05:37 am

    With my 450D I always shoot RAW and convert to DNG on import into Lightroom. With my iPhone I shoot JPG. Waiting for the iPhone 4 upgrade to include RAW shooting ;-)

  • chad August 20, 2009 05:33 am

    To clarify, I meant simply that you could convert your JPG from the camera into a lossless image format with a higher bit density. TIFF for example, has a lossless 48-bit mode that would be better than most RAW formats.

    Those of you who state that you're getting better image quality from RAW are mostly being impressed by the bit densities in the file you're editing in post-production, not in the original pic. Note that just because your camera has 12 or 14 or 700 bits of resolution per color per pixel doesn't mean that the last few bits are getting any information other than noise. It is very common for devices to be designed with more bits than they can actually resolve; so much so that there is an acronym "ENOB", which defines the effective number of bits. The ENOB, by the way, is ALWAYS less than the number of bits available.

    Everyone here is correct that you will lose some information when you do the original conversion to JPG in the camera. However, I'm getting the impression from reading these comments that most people don't know a thing about digital image processing and are instead working from what they THINK looks better. Recommend paging through a good course on digital signal and/or digital image processing.

    For example:
    http://tinyurl.com/ydkgd9

  • Elmer August 20, 2009 05:13 am

    These are my thoughts, that does not make them correct or wrong. They just work for me. Next let me say that I try to do as much as I can within the camera. So why shoot RAW? Because I am far from perfect. I may want to do an HDR or a Pano. Some times I like to make changes within the photo. RAW just works for me. If I want to e-mail a photo to someone I just export it in JPEG. I don't believe there is any correct answer here. It is just what works for each person. Like cars, cameras, fast food, and many other things. If it works for you, it is correct. I say lets just enjoy the results. Getting there is only part of the fun. So get there the way that works best for you.

  • Kerri August 20, 2009 04:57 am

    Raw. Always. Unless I'm using a camera that doesn't support it, and then I feel lots of pain! ;-) (In fact, when I bought my most recent p&s, I went in to it know that the camera didn't natively support RAW, but with CHDK installed, it could... )

    What I like most about RAW is that I have so much more control over the final result. With my dSLR I have 14 bits per channel to play with, a VAST improvement over the 8 bits JPG supplies -- which translates to being able to rescue shadows and/or highlights and have smoother gradations of color.

    Plus, shooting RAW has saved many a photo because I was dumb and forgot to check my white balance (wb of tungsten while outside is NOT pretty), or if I was a bit off in my exposure. With the addition of Lightroom, I don't really see the need for JPG even for a preview, since I live in Lightroom most of the time.

    I could really only see myself using JPG if (and this is a big if) I needed to burst a lot of frames without filling up the buffer. Some sports are really the only place I could see this happening, and even then I'd be a tad worried about not having the wiggle room I get out of RAW.

    Yes, they take more space (15-20mb for my dSLRs), but 1TB drives are cheap, and I've loads of SD cards (in total I have usually have about 46gb on hand, sufficient for at least 2,000 images. And when that runs out, I've a Lacie 250gb hard drive I can transfer files to and reuse the cards.) The only problem like TC said is the offsite backup which is upload nearly continuously. (But this is why I have a second drive onsite and use Microsoft's SyncToy to keep them in sync. You can never be too careful!)

  • Dominique August 20, 2009 04:55 am

    I shoot raw because of the flexiblity. Also, since memory is cheaper by the day, I don't that that the fact that it takes more space is much of an issue, even for backups.

  • Jeff August 20, 2009 04:36 am

    I always shoot in RAW because it lets me make minor corrections (exposure, white balance, saturation) to photos I'm taking while I practice photography and gain experience (in composition, framing, lighting, camera functions) during my quest to become a better photographer.

    And while I learn, RAW allows me to salvage some "simply adequate" photographs.

  • Chris August 20, 2009 04:28 am

    The only time I don't shoot in RAW is if I am using a point and shoot that doesn't give me the option.

  • TC August 20, 2009 04:25 am

    Raw always.

    Only part of my system that has problems keeping up, is the off-site back-up. It's pretty much maxed out uploading all the time...

  • Giancarlo August 20, 2009 04:19 am

    Almost always JPG.
    I don't like doing post-production (hate that part), so RAW would be a waste for me.
    Also, RAW files are too big for my laptop (which is my main computer). Don't want to bother changing laptops just to shoot RAW (I'm using the largest disk the BIOS can manage). Yes, I could buy an external HDD, but then the laptop wouldn't be as portable as it is now...
    By the way, I do use RAW, but only when white balance is too tricky.
    And yes, I do have a modern (less than a year-old) DSLR.

  • Corne August 20, 2009 04:07 am

    I allways shoot in RAW and Large JPG.

    The large JPG lets me view the photo's quick on my computer to sort out the first photos.

    I use the RAW files for editting. I had a misfire with one of my flashes a while back, and working in RAW still made it possible to make it a good picture.

    RAW is the best for me.

  • JP August 20, 2009 04:06 am

    For commercial work and weddings & portraits I'll shoot RAW. Past that I shoot jpeg.

    I find that alot of my clients especially sports editors or anything sports based, turn around time has to be quick and I don't have time to edit down.

    When I set a good white balance and get good exposure on my shots, I can't tell the difference when the final product comes out of print. Of course the biggest I've ever had to print for a client is 16x20.

    I still use raw to save myself when it comes to whack lighting conditions but as long as I can get setup, there isn't much advantage to RAW over jpeg in terms of quality of print in the end.

  • Helen August 20, 2009 04:00 am

    I always shoot in RAW. Although my photos take up a lot of space, I really can't convince myself that the decrease in quality is worth the extra card space.

  • Tyler Ingram August 20, 2009 03:55 am

    I always shoot in RAW. Why?

    I can afford the space. Each RAW file I shoot at is roughly 15MB in size.
    Adobe Lightroom allows me to easily view all my libraries and edit them, while giving me an easy route to export to JPG/Tiff whatever I may need when I upload to a site such as Flickr
    More information to help tweak the photos.

    Downside - I have to go through Lightroom or another program that can read RAW files to export to JPG to share. It doesn't take long, but if I am on a computer that doesn't handle RAW files (Canon's CR2) then it can be tricky!

  • Ste_95 August 20, 2009 03:52 am

    Sure! I always shoot in RAW. It is better editable and I've two SD memory, so I have enough space.

  • Anthony Brothers August 20, 2009 03:51 am

    I'm also a big fan of Adobe's Lightroom 2. I was using iPhoto for my needs, but it was way too slow for when I started shooting RAW. Being an Apple fanboy, I really wanted to like Aperture, but I found Lightroom to be much better for me. You can also get Lightroom 2 for $99 if you are a student or have kids who are. Just google Lightroom 2 education discount. I think they also have a 30 day trial on Adobe's website. I STRONGLY recommend trying it out!

  • Josh August 20, 2009 03:51 am

    I shoot in jpeg because i don't do any post processing, and 99% of my pictures go strait to facebook or into a folder to show friends and family on a rare occasion. I don't see a reason to use RAW because it fills my memory card up faster, slows my consecutive shot speed, and slows the time it takes for me to post pictures online, with no added detail or clarity without first modifying the image.

  • Nancy Nally August 20, 2009 03:49 am

    I always shoot RAW. It gives me more room for error, especially when shooting under difficult conditions. I can process quickly in Lightroom and so it doesn't have to slow me down too much.

    If speed to a usable file is absolutely of the essence (such as during trade show coverage) I will often shoot RAW+JPEG. This means I have a usable file ready to go immediately, but if it needs significant tweaking before using I have the RAW file sitting in reserve.

  • Zack Jones August 20, 2009 03:45 am

    Raw 99.999% of the time of the camera I'm shooting with supports it, otherwise I shoot L Fine JPG. The only exception I make with a DSLR is when I'm shooting shots for eBay stuff.

    @Chad - You can't go from JPG -> RAW that I'm aware of. Even if you could you wouldn't have as good of a RAW image as you would if you had shot RAW to begin with. How are you able to convert from JPG to RAW?

  • Jeremy August 20, 2009 03:39 am

    I shoot in RAW because I come from a Graphic Design background and I am better at Photoshop than I am at photography. I also like the controls available in Camera Raw and I get better results when I start with a RAW file than I do with JPG or TIFF

  • Smacky August 20, 2009 03:37 am

    So many of the people above require post-production. Learn how to use your camera and you won't be so concerned about changing temperatures, exposures, etc which in turn doesn't make shooting in RAW a 100% requirement.

  • Steve August 20, 2009 03:34 am

    https://digital-photography-school.com/forum/before-after/66935-why-you-should-shoot-raw-not-delete-bad-photos.html

    This is what I posted a month or so back regarding shooting in RAW. I always shoot in RAW, no matter what, and this is why.

  • Mario August 20, 2009 03:18 am

    I used to shoot bot JPG and RAW 'till recently. Since I wanted more pictures on my card, I now only shoot in... RAW, of course!

    For the conversion, this is no more an issue, even Picassa is able to read and show pictures from RAW...

  • Heather Kitchen August 20, 2009 03:17 am

    I always shoot in RAW except when I'm just taking snapshots of my kids. I need the ability to edit my photos without any loss of quality so that my clients can order images from 4x6 sized prints to 30x40 prints. Shooting in JPEG only would greatly reduce the quality of the final product.

  • walter August 20, 2009 03:17 am

    Just sometimes, when I know I`ll use the picture for something more than just showing it to relatives or friends.

  • Steve Jones August 20, 2009 03:17 am

    I have a D300. When I bought the camera, I set it to RAW...And RIPPED THE BUTTON OUT!!!...Not really, but I wish I could. :-)

  • Rick August 20, 2009 03:13 am

    It is all about flexibility and getting the best out of your images. You have the ability to adjust color, noise, etc with much better results than using an .jpg from the camera. What you give up is extra card space (not a big deal -- go buy a bigger one) and extra processing time. This means you need to get software that optimizes your workflow and lets you work with images in batches easily. To me shooting jpg is like throwing away our negatives. If you shoot only .jpg it is like in the film days deciding you don't like how it was printed, you can't go back to the negative (or raw in this case) and change it. Now I do believe there are specific cases where you want to optimize your time and will never revisit the images again. For example you are doing a shoot of a model and you make sure you get your white balance, etc. all spot on in camera. This still means you can't go back but it does save you some time which could be worth something to a paying customer.

  • Martin Barabe August 20, 2009 03:07 am

    RAW always, I don't care about how much space it takes with a 16 gb card, i will never fill it up anyways befor reaching to my laptop. It just guives us more flexibility for touching up the shots without loosing any image quality.

  • Josh August 20, 2009 03:07 am

    I said always because that is closer to the truth than sometimes.

    It's probably like 90% of the time.

    The only times I don't is if I am taking a picture for work (I'm in construction) just to show someone and discard, no need for the extra processing time.

    Or those rare occasions I am in Full Auto mode because my camera won't shoot RAW in full auto mode.

    Usually I convert my RAW files to DNG, then I start my processing. I save both the DNGs and the final JPGs

    I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to photos that I never thought I would use because of an idea that popped in to my head. Having RAWs gives me more flexability to edit them later when I come up with random inspiration.

  • James Riordon August 20, 2009 03:06 am

    Just starting shooting RAW about a month ago. This site convinced me to do it, and I wouldn't ever go back. The extra ability to fine tune my photos that RAW format gives me, is sooooo nice to have. Thank you DPS for being here.

  • Teewinot August 20, 2009 03:04 am

    For the last year I was shooting in RAW+JPEG, but just recently I decided to shoot RAW alone. Why? I now use Lightroom 2 and find no more need for JPEGS, plus I'm a lot more comfortable processing and working with the RAW format.

  • Greg Easton August 20, 2009 02:56 am

    Chad, I don't know how you're 'converting' JPGs to RAW files and somehow reclaiming all the data that was lost when the camera created the JPG image in the first place, but I'd love to hear how.

  • chad August 20, 2009 02:53 am

    Frankly, I think you're all crazy about this RAW stuff. Shoot in JPG and then convert to RAW for editing, but only for the shots that need it. Don't convert back to JPG until you're absolutely sure that you're happy with the results. It's true that JPG doesn't have the bit depth per pixel that raw has, but all this means is that you'll get a little extra (and undetectable) noise in the image. Once you convert to RAW for post-production, you'll get all the control you would have had if you'd stored in RAW originally. You will have lost some of the "information" in the original conversion to JPG, but, again, this will typically not be noticeable even by the trained eye.

    Before you all go off on me, this is NOT true if you're going to use an older camera with a low pixel count for large prints. But, with current 12MP+ cameras, even an expert will have trouble telling the difference without a magnifying glass even on poster-size prints.

  • musicx August 20, 2009 02:48 am

    Well, I don't shoot RAW because it takes too much storage space, and it takes more time to open for viewing, though I know it is better.

  • Eric August 20, 2009 02:47 am

    RAW is the equivalent of a 35mm negative. I don't know anyone who ever threw out their negatives after getting a print, so it boggles my mind that anyone would effectively throw away their digital negative by shooting JPG. Especially since terabyte hard drives are under a hundred bucks now and multi-gigabyte flash cards are similarly cheap. There's no reason not to shoot RAW.

    I did used to shoot RAW + JPG, but I've found that with Lightroom it doesn't give me any extra benefit to have the JPG, so I dropped it and just shoot RAW. I just import the RAW files into Lightroom, do whatever tweaking suits me, then export to wherever I'm exporting to. I keep an archive of my JPG's exported from Lightroom, but letting the camera do it never seemed to have any benefit to me.

  • Hans August 20, 2009 02:43 am

    @Dan Says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 1:43 am

    I use Zoombrowser and Picasa for the batch RAW-editing and Digital Photo Pro with Photoshop for the special shots. Although I must say that Photoshop isn't in use much these days since I'm quite mobile now.
    Aside from Photoshop, these programs are free (DPP and Zoombrowser came with the camera) and I's suspect Nikon to have a similar software range for its users.
    Picasa and Gimp will also handle RAW-files very well, by the way.
    Off course, you could also spend € 850,- on a Photoshop license..

  • Jenny August 20, 2009 02:41 am

    I always shoot in RAW. The only reason NOT to is if you plan to use your images straight out of the camera with no further post-processing (which for me is like, never). If you're doing post-processing anyway, why not start with an image file that gives you the most versatility? It makes absolutely no sense not to shoot in RAW if you're doing Post-Processing anyway. That is, I guess, unless you don't have / can't afford / don't want to learn how to use the software needed to process RAW files.

  • Athina August 20, 2009 02:39 am

    once i switched to RAW, i have not looked back. the ability to tweak and save pictures is a lifesaver for me!

  • Em August 20, 2009 02:38 am

    I have never shot in RAW, but I am able to adjust all of those things that Patrick mentioned (exposure, saturation, etc.) in lightroom with the images in JPEG form. I am not very familiar with RAW format, but is the degree to which those things can be modified really that much more measurable?

  • Tim A. August 20, 2009 02:38 am

    I shoot RAW 99.9999% of the time. However, on rare occasions where there is need for fast turnaround time and we're dealing with hundreds of shots, I will compromise and shoot JPG. Most recently it was for a 5K run sponsored by my company. I was shooting most of the runners in rapid succession and candid shots during warmup and the award ceremony and everything else in between and I was flying out of the country for a business trip the next day. So, for those 400+ shots, it was shot all in JPG and burned to a DVD less than an hour and a half after the event.

    Otherwise? RAW. Even with my point and shoot, since I use the Lumix DMC-LX3, I shoot RAW on that guy too :)

  • cristiano007 August 20, 2009 02:36 am

    I use a firmware hack to get raw files from my compact. Technically, they have 4 times more color levels than JPGs (is true I have made tests). In the other hand, you can make you're own choices of levels, sharpening and compression, not the camera taking the final decisoion. Don't take me wrong manufacturer's choices are very good most of the time, but they don't cover all the situations or your particular taste or intention.

  • GatorArchitect August 20, 2009 02:33 am

    I shoot RAW+JPEG almost exclusively. That way I can share immediately if need be, but also have more room to process later. I will, however, shoot JPEG only when shooting sports or any time I need to shoot extended burst shots. I also like the ability to choose white balance later, especially when shooting in difficult locations with changing lighting conditions.

  • rodbotic August 20, 2009 02:30 am

    it depends on the type of shot. if I am doing a shot where I want more colour range or more dynamic range, i shoot raw. if I am shooting something where I want to be able to shoot rapidly I shoot normal, so I can get a faster rapid shots.

    if I am shooting with a manual lens and I know the light conditions are changing constantly I shoot both.

  • Forrest August 20, 2009 02:27 am

    I've yet to shoot in RAW for 2 reasons: 1) I don't know what I am doing with post processing yet so I haven't had the need. 2) Disk space. I need a new storage solution just for all the 12MP JPG images I have. I can only imagine if I shot in RAW (or more likely RAW + JPG) how many more external drives I would have sitting on my desk for storing and keeping a backup copy of everything.

  • Eric August 20, 2009 02:26 am

    I'm shooting more and more in RAW+jpeg to get the best of both worlds but I still sometimes use the "easy" modes on my camera so I only get jpeg.

  • Greg Easton August 20, 2009 02:25 am

    I always shoot in RAW. You never know where the next award winning photo is going to come from. It's almost foolish to shoot in JPG anymore. The camera is capturing all that data, why would you throw it away? And SD cards are cheap ($9 for 4GB on Newegg.com) and I carry about about 30GB of memory with me at all times.

  • Patrick August 20, 2009 02:24 am

    I shoot in RAW because I'm not yet technically proficient enough to have images come straight out of the camera the way I'd like. I always need to adjust exposure, white balance, saturation, etc. in post processing. I would eventually like to get to the point where I'm good enough to shoot in JPEG and eliminate most of the post work.

  • Dave August 20, 2009 02:21 am

    RAW and Jpg. I use the option that saves my pictures both ways. My portable viewer does not support RAW, so this way I can review the pictures quickly. I also use the Jpg files to quickly scan thru the pictures in Windows, then pick the corresponding RAW to edit.

  • SexyNinjaMonkey August 20, 2009 02:20 am

    Too much hassle to convert them all for use, just easier to shoot jpg as long as i make sure i get shot right. Most of the time i play with the settings until i get it right on location as i cannot be arsed with post-processing.

  • steakhachai August 20, 2009 02:18 am

    I always shoot in RAW mode. It takes less time at the postproduction stage to process a RAW file than a JPG file through Photoshop or Gimp.

  • Bob August 20, 2009 02:17 am

    I agree with William Rackley. What is the real distinction between shooting "for a specific shoot" or "for artistic merit" and shooting at a family event? Do you specifically take worse photos when you're at a party?

    I see that as a self-imposed limitation - "its just a snapshot, so I don't have to worry about composition, exposure, color temperature, post production". Why not?

  • Martin August 20, 2009 02:10 am

    I prefer to shoot JPEG, as I don't like spending the time processing those RAW files. I want to see and use the photos straight after I upload. If you know your camera's settings well, there will be little need to adjust exposure or colour later anyway. If needs be I can do still do that in Photoshop, which runs much faster on my computer than Lightroom or Aperture.

    Maybe when I get a faster computer I will see if the RAW workflow is still so much of a drag.

  • NightAngel August 20, 2009 02:10 am

    RAW of course, exclusively !

  • Ray August 20, 2009 02:10 am

    For me, half the work of shooting with film is done in the darkroom. RAW gives me that darkroom freedom to push and pull exposure without compromising the quality of the image.

  • WIlliam Rackley August 20, 2009 02:08 am

    The only reason that I can think of that someone should *not* shoot in raw is if their memory card was ridiculously small by today's standards, or if they don't know what it is.

    For all the people that shoot jpg for family parties, etc: I've gotten some nice freak-luck shots at family gatherings. You might get things like 3 kids airborne just about to hit each other. You might get a dog running from children with grandma's teeth in his mouth (I wish... maybe I should stage that one). While I understand your positions, I always shoot in RAW just to be on the safe side ; )

  • Bob August 20, 2009 02:06 am

    I, too, am new to DSLR and the RAW option. I like having the capability to make adjustments, but I need lots more experience with the after-adjustments to feel like I have helped the final outcome. Until I have more time to learn and experiment with it, I will probably continue to use the both JPEG and RAW settings.

  • Nicky Hurt August 20, 2009 02:05 am

    I can't wait to start shooting in RAW, but I am using CS2 and it doesn't have ACR to work with, so I don't bother. When I upgrade, I'll definitely start!

  • Jan August 20, 2009 02:03 am

    I always shoot RAW; as someone else already pointed out, high capacity SD cards are pretty inexpensive, so why compromise the quality of your photos?

  • archivist August 20, 2009 02:02 am

    My major problem with RAW has to do with long term preservation. Thirty years from now, there will be a somewhat greater likelihood that I will be able to retrieve my images in a format such as JPEG.

  • Walter Wimberly August 20, 2009 01:59 am

    I've started shooting RAW a lot more recently, especially since I picked up to 4 GIG CF cards. Using it for art shots and pro shots as I can work with the color ranges so much better, But for the kids at the park, family get togethers, and simple personal things like that, JPG is still more than good enough.

  • Karl August 20, 2009 01:50 am

    Ever since I started using Lightroom, RAW makes a lot more sense. Beforehand I didn't think I could see any difference, but now that it's so easy to tweak the various parameters, the difference in results between raw and jpg is HUGE!

  • Brian August 20, 2009 01:48 am

    @Dan
    If you're looking for the best value (combination of the 3 things you mentioned), I'd recommend Lightroom. It is an amazing program with tons of flexibility. It's available on Mac and PC. It's relatively cheap ($300) and can be picked up quickly (and then mastered over time).

    The best part here is that you won't have to re-learn something in 6-18 months when the really cheap tool you chose is no longer working for you. I'm a professional photographer and LR does what I need and hopefully always will (in conjunction with Photoshop, but that's another topic).

  • Mike August 20, 2009 01:47 am

    I shoot in RAW for most situations, but fast action sports is the one time I'm usually forced to shoot jpeg because my 40D just doesn't have a big enough buffer or fast enough write speeds to keep up with 6fps in RAW. As the action unfolds I easily capture 10 frames over a few seconds, and if my camera's buffer is full and it's writing to the card I can't shoot! So, I would DEFINITELY prefer to shoot in RAW, but my equipment isn't capable. I have noticed however that if I take my time with my exposure settings and white balance setup I don't normally need much PP, so I've made it work okay for now.

  • Tony Davis August 20, 2009 01:47 am

    You should have had one more option in the poll => 'Yes - Almost Always'

    I shoot RAW as much as possible, but there are situations where shooting raw isn't practical or needed to be honest. One project I was into was shooting a local Soccer club's games for the parents of the team. Shooting RAW would have limited me to only 6 shots before my camera's buffer would fill. Action was too fluid and fast at times to risk being held up for the buffer to clear, so in this case putting the mode on Sport and shooting jog worked great for the need.

    You don't always need to shoot RAW, but anytime I can I do.

  • Adam August 20, 2009 01:45 am

    I would...but my current P&S does not offer it...once i get a DSLR i probably will...

  • Photos August 20, 2009 01:44 am

    i use raw for important projects and things i know for a fact i will process later (like my latest B&W portrait project for an exhibition). mostly though, on everyday shots, i won't be bothered and can expose/compose well enough to get the results i want without the extra effort. bottom line - if you have the time, shoot RAW.

  • Lisa August 20, 2009 01:43 am

    I shoot RAW when I am taking photos for artistic merit. When I am shooting shots of my family that I want to share immediately, I shoot JPEG because it is quicker and easier to post them to Facebook or to email them.

  • Dan August 20, 2009 01:43 am

    I've been shooting with my nikon d60 since March, and I'm a little ashamed to admit I still just shoot in JPG. I've been thinking about RAW for the past few weeks though. Any thoughts on the best/easiest/cheapest way to break into RAW? Hopefully a piece of software that is best AND easiest AND cheap?

  • Hans August 20, 2009 01:42 am

    RAW. Always.
    Once you go RAW you never will flaw.
    Well, almost never, don't forget the person holding the camera.
    But as mentioned earlier, you can easily adjust temperature, even do slight correction on the exposure and do miracles with under exposed images.
    If you can bring up the extra effort of post-processing your work you should use RAW.
    As an added bonus, using RAW will kind of force you into thinking your workflow through thoroughly.

  • Amy H. August 20, 2009 01:40 am

    I always shoot RAW + jpg, so that I have the option of accepting the sooc shot, or doing some editing on the RAW image. I much prefer to edit a RAW file as opposed to a jpg - so much easier!

  • Austin August 20, 2009 01:40 am

    I always shoot RAW. Too much opportunity for a lost shot by shooting in JPG. Patience in processing and forking over a few more dollars for larger harddrives isn't an issue in the long run.

    4 16G CF cards keep me in business.

  • mark m August 20, 2009 01:38 am

    I just bought my first DSLR a few weeks ago (aside from my point and shoot), I read a lot on this website and others about the various file types.
    So I shoot with the RAW and JPEG settings on, that way I can play with the RAW pictures, but also see what happens with JPEG. IT is a great learning tool, but takes up a lot of memory.
    One day I hope to only shoot in RAW, but not today.

  • Chris August 20, 2009 01:37 am

    If I am using my DSLR, I am shooting in RAW. Bigger memory cards are cheap, so why compromise on quality?

  • Spotpuff August 20, 2009 01:36 am

    I don't have time to pp every photo I take. So, I don't shoot raw all the time. Agree with karrel, except I use jpg basic.

    I recently made 8x12 prints from my 6mp D40 and they looked fine. People who complain about artifacting: can you see them in photos? If yes, I guess there's a problem, but so far no issues for me with 8x12's.

  • DJ Vorreyer August 20, 2009 01:34 am

    I don't shoot in RAW for a few reasons:
    As a person with a full-time job, teenagers, and a second career as a writer, I simply do not have the time to process every single photo I take - I barely have time to read this stuff on my Reader a couple of times a week.
    Also, part of the joy of photography for me is getting the shot at the moment - I rarely "set up" for a shot or wait for a certain time of day. I shoot on the fly and do minimal processing - if I get the shot, I get it. If I don't, I don't. Life's too short...I guess I am the true definition of amateur...

  • Daisy August 20, 2009 01:34 am

    I don't shoot in RAW, I haven't taken the plunge yet, mainly because it takes up too much space. And because I hear once you start shooting in RAW it's hard to go back and I am just fine with what I am doing now with JPEG. "What you don't know won't kill you"

  • Karrel August 20, 2009 01:34 am

    I shoot in RAW when I am shooting stuff for photography's sake. But if I am shooting my grandkids parties, sporting events, etc. I shoot in jpg Fine.

  • Chris Nixon August 20, 2009 01:33 am

    I always shoot in RAW. It just gives me more freedom to touch the shot up (stop sniggering) in Lightroom afterwords.

  • Raymond August 20, 2009 01:28 am

    I shoot RAW if it's for a specific shoot, ie. an event, special occasion, weddings, receptions, etc. If I know I'm just going to use the images for myself, I stick to JPG.

  • bcarter August 20, 2009 01:26 am

    I use RAW for all paid or artistic photography. I will use JPEG or TIFF when shooting events and non-formal gatherings. For professional images and quality reproductions—RAW is the only way to shoot.

  • Graham August 20, 2009 01:23 am

    Some shots just don't need it - I'll take my SLR to a party for the DoF, for example, but the people I'm showing the results to (including me) really don't care - or want to care - about the subtleties of the image. Sometimes the content speaks for itself.

    Most other times though, I'll use RAW if I can. The UFRaw importer for the Gimp makes it easier to edit RAW files than huge JPGs on an underpowered laptop too (you can do your adjustments before loading the entire image into memoryspace), but we'll see how it goes when I upgrade to some new hardware/software...

  • C.Post August 20, 2009 01:19 am

    I use a function on my camera that allows a picture to be saved as both a jpg and a RAW file. That way, I can quickly upload the jpg's to an online photo location, and use the RAW photos for prints. It takes up more space, but I tend to bring my computer with me on shoots so if my card fills, I can dump it.

  • SebD August 20, 2009 01:18 am

    I don't because I can't. But I would if I had the opportunity. Not for every shot though.

  • Maggie August 20, 2009 01:18 am

    My answer would be almost always I shoot RAW. The only time I don't is when using on camera flash (I have GOT to get a speedlite), I will sometimes shoot jpg, or if I realize I'm running low on memory, I will shoot jpg.

    Otherwise, shooting RAW allows me to do as much or as little post-processing as needed for the photo and the situation.

  • Martin August 20, 2009 01:16 am

    Almost all the time. Why not? 10 MP and good viewing and editing software together with tiodays high capacity SD cards make it an obvious choice for me.

  • outcast August 20, 2009 01:12 am

    I don't use RAW. I don’t do any post-processing. I’ve been perfecting my straight-out-of-the-camera techniques for quite awhile and am generally satisfied with my shots without doing anything to them.

  • outcast August 20, 2009 01:11 am

    I don't do any post-processing. I've been perfecting my straight-out-of-the-camera techniques for quite awhile and am generally satisfied with my shots without doing anything to them.

  • boukou9 August 20, 2009 01:08 am

    I've gotten into shooting RAW lately due to my interest in HDR's. Not a huge fan of the extra space they take up, or the extra processing time, but the added ability to tweak a photo comes in handy.

  • Arif | DebugLife.com August 20, 2009 01:08 am

    I have flipped flopped quite a bit. But these days, I'll shoot RAW when it is a paid gig or a shoot that I think I want to spend some energy on.

    But if it's just pictures of family, friends and informal events that I know will end up on Facebook, then it is just easier to shoot in jpeg.

    Better yet, get a memory card big enough so that you can set your camera to dual capture and have both RAW and jpeg captured.

    -Arif

  • Ryan August 20, 2009 01:07 am

    I am a hack amateur. I started in RAW, but was annoyed that I could not see my pictures easily. I have gotten a couple of pictures lately that I wis I would have used RAW to recover some washed out details. So I starting to see the reasons.

  • Lee B August 20, 2009 01:05 am

    I always shoot in RAW even though I endeavour to get the exposure etc spot on at capture RAW gives you that little bit extra in post processing to get the photo right.

  • Sergio August 20, 2009 01:03 am

    I mostly shoot in raw, due to my 8gb SDHC memory card I can shoot in raw all day. RAW format is especially useful to bring out the whites, blacks etc in Photoshop's Camera Raw 5.0.

    Love it!

  • Corey August 20, 2009 01:03 am

    The only time I have shot in JPG was during a low light rodeo shoot. My buffer would get full to quickly with RAW.

  • Karey August 20, 2009 01:03 am

    I shoot in JPEG and almost always edit my JPEGs in Adobe Camera Raw. I would call myself a knowledgeable ameteur - I shoot mainly to record the passing of time in our family and commemorate things we've done and milestones we've reached. I find that editing JPEGs in Camera Raw gives me more than enough latitude with exposure and white balance and gives me the final product I'm looking for. I can't justify the extra time and memory space for RAW considering where I am in my photography.

  • Matthew Musgrove August 20, 2009 01:01 am

    I chose "Yes - But Only Sometimes" because their wasn't an option for "Yes - RAW+JPEG".

  • Jeff August 20, 2009 12:59 am

    Why wouldn't you shoot in RAW? It's like flicking a switch in your 300hp car to only deliver 50hp.

  • Matt W August 20, 2009 12:59 am

    I am just beginning to play with a camera. My current post-production software consists of auto-correct in windows. Until I learn some basics of digital photography (and general photography), I don't think I'll be needing any advanced post-production. I do understand the advantages, but I'm just not at that point in my photography.

  • Malechite August 20, 2009 12:57 am

    I'm waiting till i pick up a 5DmkII and a 16gb card before I shoot in RAW. I'll also need a new HD to accomodate the images. Right now its all about space limitations and processing time on my camera.

  • Miguel August 20, 2009 12:57 am

    A few years ago I discovered how flexible it is to manipulate RAW files using software in my computer. Ever since then I have shot every photo in both RAW and JPEG formats. Most of the new digital SLRs have this capability. I set up my Canon camera (either the EOS 40D or the EOS 5D Mark II) to take photos in both formats, using the lowest setting for the JPEG shots to save space on my CF cards. This way if I want to share copies of the photos I just took, I don't need to go through the trouble of converting the RAW files into JPEGs.

  • Bashi_B August 20, 2009 12:55 am

    I miss the option Yes, most of the time. I don't shoot RAW only when saving on memory space or when doing long series of pictures (sports - continuous mode).

  • Flip August 20, 2009 12:55 am

    I always shoot RAW, memory is cheap and it lets me be a bit lazy about settings like white balance. Getting the exposure exactly right also isn't as big of a deal since there is more latitude to get the detail back post processing than shooting JPEG. I can spend more time getting the shot rather than worrying about if I've got my camera settings exactly right.

  • Alexander Artemenko August 20, 2009 12:54 am

    There is no option for me, cause I shoot use a film. :)

  • Boyd August 20, 2009 12:53 am

    After shooting for a while in JPEG after buying my DSLR, I switched to shooting entirely in RAW. I never know when some of the crap I shoot can benefit from the advantages of RAW, and I'd hate to miss it.

  • Mantis August 20, 2009 12:53 am

    All i got to say is once you shoot in RAW it is hard to go back that is for sure

  • Zach August 20, 2009 12:51 am

    For everyday shots I use JPG because I know I probably won't be doing any post-production on them and they take up less space.

    If I am going to be doing HDR or family portraits or something a little bit more important, I use RAW.

  • David August 20, 2009 12:50 am

    Even with at 25MP camera, RAW allows me more options when I get to processing that using JPEG can. Recovery of whites, blacks and the ability to change the temperature all come into play.

    I'm willing to sacrifice the number of images I can take to make sure that those I take can be the best possible.

  • revs August 20, 2009 12:45 am

    I always shoot in RAW, I see no reason not to.
    By shooting in RAW I have the option to then do as I wish with the image.

    The only downsides I guess are that RAW images can be a bit slow to load/process, and storage space - but storage is cheap nowadays!

  • Tommy August 20, 2009 12:45 am

    Well, sometimes I didn't shoot in RAW because I love to share pictures with my friend and processing it takes sometime. RAW also took too many memory space