RAW or JPEG - Which Do You Shoot In?

RAW or JPEG – Which Do You Shoot In?

Raw-JpegToday I’d like to try something a little different on the blog and open up a topic for some disucssion.

This one could cause some ‘energetic’ conversation but I’d love to do an informal poll on it anyway.

What image format do you shoot in – and why?

Some of you will have to answer JPEG because your camera doesn’t offer you RAW – but those of us with the choice – I’d love to hear your opinion and some of the reasoning for you choice.

There’s no right or wrong ultimately (although I know some readers hold strong opinions on the matter) – but hopefully in the discussion and reasons for your answer we’ll have some good learning.

Further reading: RAW vs JPEG – Which is Best?

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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

  • MrC Photographics July 24, 2013 01:43 pm

    Both.. :) But if it's important... RAW. After I discovered Lightroom, it's been nothing but RAW for my photo shoots. I try not to really do a large amount of post processing.... My feeling is... If you need to spend an hour on every photo in post, you didn't do it right in the first place.... Go back and learn your camera. After having said that, there are times to tweak the exposure, smooth the skin, so on.... Shooting RAW gives you the ability lost when only shooting jpg.

  • Nate Mishaan May 11, 2012 10:26 pm

    I shoot in both. I have my clients use the jpg as "proofs" but then tweak the raw shots, convert to jpg when I have prints made. It's the best of both worlds....

  • Skytouchephotos May 6, 2012 05:36 am

    I have shot over 150 wedding in just 4 years...I have shot RAW n I have shot JPEG,...this idea that RAW gives you more flexibility to fix shots in Post Processing is Pure horse poop. I have used Jpeg to print out pictures almost the size of billboards,...n if u need so much changes after you take a picture,...I advise you spend more time learning how to take the picture right the first time,....I run a photography business and deal with hundreds of clients everyday,....while RAW photographers are adjusting white balances,...I'm out n about looking for a new way to build my clientele n get more money in my pocket. JPEG all the way!!!

  • Turnstile Hopper March 6, 2012 06:28 am

    I shoot JPEG for the most part because I usually get the exposure and white balance right anyway... But sometimes I use both in case I know I might mess up a bit...

  • Tile Ready Shower Pan December 18, 2011 02:27 am

    I do trust all the ideas you have presented to your post. They're very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for starters. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  • Martyn Holden July 6, 2011 12:50 am

    I keep my camera set on "manual" I have learned enough to have my pictures in a "RAW + Jpeg" setting. I always use this for I can use the raw software if I need to. My picture setting are right on now or close to it, so I'm using less and less raw editing. On my excellent photos with the composition looking great, I will use my raw picture to tweak them up. Over all I have enough hard drive to keep both. (2.5TB) on my laptop, and1TB on my PC.) That will keep a lot of pictures.I have so many pictures that I keep the files in years -months,-days and monthly edited pics. I also have requested photos with a excel work spread sheet and the links to the files.

  • Dewan Demmer May 7, 2011 06:13 pm

    While many people swear by the flexibility of RAW I have never found a compelling reason to move over, when doing important shoots I shoot in both RAW and JPEG.
    JPEG allows me to skip over the specialized software and move straight to Management and Post Production, with RAW on hand should I really need something extra from the photo. When your camera has finished creating the JPEG is has assigned its own colour and white balance and as such thrown away some of the picture information while RAW does not of that, that said your software that you work with will usually end up doing something similar anyways. I have been able to get excellent results from JPEG and while at times there is a little extra work to achieve the desired result it still nothing compared to the amount of time I would spend simply getting all the RAW photos.
    Its personal, as with so many things, and at the end of the day if you have the result that makes you happy, does it matter.
    One point though,generally most of the work is done when you take the photo, and your post processing is pretty much cleaning up and enhancing, ...
    I know

  • jeremy March 9, 2011 11:54 am

    i haven't use raw to much and this has made me really want to give it a shot . thanks

  • Jenell November 19, 2010 09:23 am

    I usually shoot jpg but on events that I want to make sure to get the "best", I use RAW. BUT...I'm questioning my knowledge of processing the RAW. I edit in raw using Canon's DPP (and I agree with a previous post that it's pretty weak - especially compared to my friends LR3) and then save to jpg and delete the raw file to save space. Is this like totally defeating the purpose of shooting in raw? I understand I can never go back to re-edit the raw file, but hopefully I won't need to. Would love to hear some feed back on this method.

  • Yolanda September 9, 2010 10:13 am

    I used to shoot in JPEG until a few months ago I tried RAW and have used it ever since. I use the Canon RAW program for editing and hardly even use photoshop anymore :-)

  • Rick January 5, 2010 10:26 am

    I too am exploring the benefits of RAW vs JPG, and I'm going the route of RAW. What clinched it? Well, for starters, I already have good software, but I spent several hours on this site thread below reading about and viewing actual situations:


    It showed me the light (if you'll excuse the pun). It's a very eye-opening browse!

  • jdventer November 6, 2009 03:00 pm

    I shoot RAW except when using my F200EXR which does not shoot RAW. Even when I am forced to use JPEG I processing the JPEG with Adobe Camera RAW and save the file as a DNG or Photoshop file to preserve as much information as possible. I shoot RAW retain and use as much usable image data as I can.

  • Charlie October 22, 2009 03:45 am

    JPEG mostly because most of my shots are of the kids and family at parties and so on. I dont need the hassle of having to adjust each one of them after the fact. JPEG is good enough for them!

    If I am shooting for competition or am in a very tricky situation then I use RAW so I can make the best of my shots.

  • Taz October 14, 2009 12:28 pm

    @Irish - get the latest plugins for camera RAW for Photoshop Elements and it will support many of the newer cameras. I have a Nikon D90 for example and it is supported.

    I was amazed at how many shots I was able to save while shooting in Raw+JPEG. I can see some of the cool postprocessing it does in camera for the JPG but there were a lot of shots I was able to save due to the better dynamic range of RAW that I couldn't seem to do with the JPG.

    Without a doubt the best part of RAW for me is white balance though.

  • irish September 11, 2009 01:39 am

    I was shooting in both RAW and JPEG but was not successful in uploading the RAW files into Photoshop-Elements so I went back to just JPEG.

  • Silva August 21, 2009 09:43 am

    I shoot only RAW because I like 16bit quality and the freedom of editing in RAW now it's available, it's always been a challenge to gain the most quality compared to the old film reproduction and this is the closest it gets!

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married) May 1, 2009 06:55 am

    I shoot in JPEG Fine which is still a large file even though it's not RAW. I'm currently taking a photography class, however, and I may start trying RAW soon to see if I can tell a difference.

  • KBeat April 25, 2009 04:40 am

    This thread has become rather amusing. We've gone from "RAW is the only way to shoot" to "you're a moron if you shoot RAW" to "real pros only use JPEG" back to "Professionals only use RAW." No wonder new photographers are so confused about the format. For what it's worth, here are my 2 cents;

    RAW: There are some real advantages to using RAW, in particular with exposure, white balance, and highlight recovery. You have greater flexibility in changing white balance and exposure with RAW. That's not to say you can't do both with JPEG, but it doesn't give you the same degree of flexibility. When it comes to highlight recovery, RAW is far superior to JPEG. You can make the claim that if you know what you're doing when you take the photograph it's not necessary, but I know what I'm doing and I've been very grateful to have that ability when working in Aperture on more than one occasion.

    Working with RAW is completely lossless, unlike JPEG. You could save all your original JPEGs and only work with copies, thereby having an original to go back to, but it's unnecessary with RAW and programs like Aperture and Lightroom. Yes those programs will work with JPEGs and TIFFs, but you lose a lot of functionality when working with those formats. Save the conspiracy theories. Apple has nothing to gain by your using RAW over JPEG. If the exact same data was available in the JPEG as in the RAW file, you'd have the same level of functionality with the editors, and you don't.

    JPEG: The most obvious benefit is file size, and this is not a minor benefit when one event can produce thousands of shots. There are times when it's simply not practical to shoot RAW. Sports events are obvious, but there are plenty of others.

    The other, mostly overlooked advantage, is to take advantage of modern camera technology. Canon, for example, has added a lot of useful features in the new Digic IV processor. Peripheral Illumination correction, advanced noise reduction algorithms at higher ISOs, picture styles, highlight tone priority, lighting optimizer, etc. With RAW, you lose all of those features as none of them are applied to the RAW file. You could use DPP to apply them in post, but it's a rather anemic piece of software compared to Aperture, Lightroom, or even Photoshop which most of us use. Yes, most of this can be done, and done better, with a good RAW editor like Aperture, but it's undeniably more work.

    RAW is a fie format. JPEG is a file format. They are not ideologies. Each has advantages and most Pros I know, including myself, utilize both.

  • Stuart April 4, 2009 03:51 am

    RAW is the only real answer. Back when I used film (yea that thing with holes and comes in a metal case) post production of a photo from the negative was essential. Why would someone assume that you wouldn't need to do that just because the photo medium changed. The thing I like about my DLSR over my 35mm is only knowing instantly if I got the picture I was looking to get. I know that I will do some tweaking in post so I truly equate RAW to having the negative. Anyone that complains about the processing time of a RAW image should not worry about buying their full-frame DSLR, but purchase a computer with a better processor.

  • Andre February 7, 2009 01:04 am

    Hi J. Eaton

    Does Lightroom suport NEF , I always wanted to try it out and where do I get Lightroom?


  • J. Eaton February 5, 2009 03:11 pm

    I shoot almost exclusively in RAW (NEF) and process with Adobe Photoshop LIghtroom. I do most of my processing in LIghtroom, occasionally tweaking in Photoshop; export ot JPEG for Flickr etc. I've found that this workflow gives me a more and more organized set up and I always have full control on the editing. I do try very hard not to need to change things in LIghtroom: get it right in the camera is still the ideal.

  • Andre February 2, 2009 01:46 pm

    look on my coment on Andre Says:

    January 31st, 2009 at 8:56 pm
    I supose microsoft are also out to hook sukkers.(who prefer RAW)

    I'm openminded because I use Jpeg and Raw and sometimes TIFF

    Shure Jpeg is easy to proces. oyu don't need a hightech pc to proces and ofcourse you can getaway with half the space if you prefer jpeg. I use Raw as backup It will never let you down and you never know when you need it.

  • Sam February 1, 2009 12:53 pm

    Why do you think the megapixel count keeps rising on ALL cameras? Marketing...plain and simple. If a gullible public will buy it, they will sell it. So if a gullible sector of the DSLR market thinks RAW is the next best thing to Jesus coming back, they put it on ALL their DSLR cameras. And you're now also seeing video being introduced on high end DSLR cameras. How ridiculous is that? Well, to the camera makers if there are those stupid enough to think that will make their DSLR perform like a HD video camera, they'll slap that feature on there. Video, RAW, LIve View, built in microwave oven...whatever it takes to hook the suckers and reel em in!

  • ricardo February 1, 2009 10:04 am

    I'm sorry, but it was not sarcasm...
    and it was not said for me. I just reproduced cause I agree...
    read the post I mentioned below

    December 6th, 2008 at 7:35 am

    sam says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    if you re open minded you will understand..
    And i won't argue with Industry because they need the easy "raw way", adobe need it too to sell software
    if you need to learn photoshop to correct exposure...argh!!
    it's easier in camera raw
    all improvements made in CS4 etc etc are just to push/pull slides or click a button...to turn it easier
    that's why....
    It is not more professional at all...
    read Sam's post

    But, if you want...
    forgot all these
    continue using RAW, it's much more easier

  • Andre February 1, 2009 09:31 am

    I don't appreciate yuor sarcasm. Im aprofesionall to. If Raw was so bad then why would Nicon 1 of the top cameras in the world and I have the D300 support Raw at12bit and 14 bt and the softwate to support it.
    The top cameras that are meant for profesionalls suport Raw for a reason.
    2) Why does the latest version of Photoshop support RAW ..because this is the way forward. Adobe and Nicon has realised that why don't you go argu with them?

  • Sam February 1, 2009 03:50 am

    This page is so full of opinions. Imagine if this forum were available during the "earth is round vs. earth is flat" debate hundreds of years ago. I'm sure it would have ended up sounding the same. But we all know what eventually became the truth now don't we? RAW= earth is flat. JPEG=earth is round. I just wonder how long it will take for everyone to get it? But you RAW shooters continue to do what you do...and listen to your tunes on 8 track and watch those videos on Beta. And hey, there's still time to go buy yourself a brand new "analog" tv at Circuit City.

  • Ricardo January 31, 2009 09:17 pm

    you're wrong
    I'm a professional and DO NOT SHOOT in RAW
    I use low-key sometimes
    and when i've under-exposed a photo, I use photoshop (NOT MERGE TO HDR, arrrg!!!) and , with just one photo i can save the image, all information are inside, even in JPG

    have you ask yourself: WHY CAMERA RAW OPEN JPGS FILES???
    if they do not have all information data...
    As SAM said above:
    "But for those who are firmly convinced that Elvis is still alive and that RAW is the only way to go, feel free to live out the fantasy. That’s what placebos are for…to trick you into thinking it actually works."

  • Andre January 31, 2009 08:56 pm


    Your outcome may have been little or no difference but you have not shoot in extreme conditions eg. if your photo is -2 under or +2 over exposed. These are things to consider when you become profesional and your end product can have no mistakes.

    Tip from Microsoft over RAW: RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer

    This software offers the following benefits to digital photographers:
    High image quality. This software uses the camera vendors' own processing libraries to provide the highest possible image fidelity for RAW images.
    Superior color fidelity. Windows Image Color Management (ICM) is used to render images in the correct color space as determined by the photographer when the image was captured.
    Familiar user experience. This software builds on the familiar Windows user experience and requires little or no learning curve.
    Performance tuned for rapid previews. The software uses background processing and other techniques to ensure a good preview experience even for large images.

  • erniehatt January 30, 2009 09:07 am

    It makes no difference whether it be Raw or jpeg, you can do the same adjustments in Raw converter, I have experimented with the same image shot in both modes, and the outcome has been little or no difference. I now shoot exclusively in Jpeg. Ernie

  • ricardo January 29, 2009 09:51 pm

    time is money
    who could argue that?
    .jpg so control than raw
    less time spent
    more work

    But, I know...JPG is more dificult to work .
    JPG is not only push buttons or slide controls. We have to know work with it.

    I understand that

  • Sharon January 29, 2009 08:55 pm

    I started shooting in RAW exclusively about a year ago. I have found it has saved my butt with a few shots but more importantly to me, it gives me so much more control over what I put out. One long-time professional wedding photographer who I have learnt from in workshops chooses to shoot in jpeg only.
    For me it was a simple choice - RAW - more control = higher success rate = more work = more money.........
    who could argue with that. lol

  • Sam January 29, 2009 11:29 am

    When digital photography first came out, it couldn't compete with film. In an attempt to lure film photographers to digital, the digital camera makers created the RAW format and claimed it was the digital equivalent of a film negative. Ohhh. Ahhh. Cool.
    Today digital photography has developed way beyond the early days. But the RAW format still exists. And those who use it are convinced that it's the way to go if you're a pro. But to me, those who hoot and holler about the greatness of the RAW format are simply stuffing a sock in their pants to puff themselves up.
    I've heard comments that "once you change a JPEG, you can't go back". Hello? Ever heard of making a copy? That's what you do with the RAW file; make a JPEG, TIFF or EPS. DUH!!!!!
    Digital SLR cameras have advanced to the point where the JPEG image has amazing quality. Yes, information gets thrown out when the camera compresses it, but if you're a photographer who knows what you're doing, you don't need all that extra digital information...not to mention the wasted flash drive and computer space.
    And if you're argument is, JPEGs look great online but not so good in print, I've been working with a print publication for 21 years and when we switched from slides to digital, we shoot in JPEG. And it looks great in the magazine. In fact, the images are as good (if not better) than the slide pics.
    But for those who are firmly convinced that Elvis is still alive and that RAW is the only way to go, feel free to live out the fantasy. That's what placebos are for...to trick you into thinking it actually works.

  • ricardo galvao January 28, 2009 10:04 pm

    I just use .JPG
    I do HDR with only one .jpg file (in Photoshop)
    Raw is the negative digital...yeh!!!
    JPG is Chrome digital...if you do wrong good bye...
    like some photographers who never use chrome film cause affraid of), people who use raw is the same...you do need to know nothing to work with raw.
    you go wrong and even so save your photo...in LR or Camera RAW.
    "Saying a lie repeatedly does not became it in true"
    what lie? RAW is more professional....

    you do not need to know nothing about phtography to work with raw
    you go wrong and even so save your photo...in LR or Camera RAW.
    (industry wants it)
    any one can edit in ACR
    just turn slide to right or to the left...
    (i made atest with a child 8 years old)

    Is this Professional????
    I think It's not!!!!!

    what I use?
    JPG of course

  • Andre January 28, 2009 09:47 pm

    I would like to share my secret:
    I did a wedding for Indian bride with dark skin tone and white wedding dress.
    Either the skin was to dark, or the dress overexposed especially in the sun.
    The trick: I used the raw pix and saved it twice to jpeg with the one exposure to -1.8 to darken and detailed the dress. I combine the two jpegs that lights up the skin tone and amplify the sharpness in the dress. Raw has made this possible for me.

  • Breff January 28, 2009 05:45 am

    Raw all the way. I mean who used to throw away their negatives before digital came along?

  • Andre December 8, 2008 03:35 am


  • Andre December 8, 2008 03:33 am

    I spoke to Matt from ivok. They and most studios shoot mostly in JPEG (because they have to many pix to process.
    Most SLRs can nowadays shoot in raw+jpeg so you get 2 formats/ photo. I use Jpeg for normal editing and for the pix I want to tweak the most the raw is available


  • ricardo December 6, 2008 07:35 am

    Surprise Me, the way photographers handle the RAW, as if there wasn't life before it...
    The fact is:
    The equipment industry and digital cameras needed the support of traditional and famous photographers, who were against digital.
    The industry, had the idea of creating a file that wouls be the "digital negative", a fallacy which was invented to please those who does not accept the digital photography.
    They made the program ACR (adobe camera raw), which opened only RAW at the beginning.
    The lie was that the RAW has more versatility because it has all the information there ... the JPG had not ...
    IT'S A LYE !!!!!.
    why nowadays the ACR opens TIFF and JPG if they do not contain all the information?
    it was only for the PRO came to digital ...
    JPG has all the information THERE, the only thing is "YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO WORK WITH IT"

    JPG is the CHROME film, if you do not know how expose...if you made anything wrong....SORRY....
    you lost you"re photos...

    I am sorry for those who do not like to hear truths

  • Adam Parker December 6, 2008 03:46 am

    With card prices falling like a rock, the answer has to be RAW all the way! The amount of flexibility you get with RAW is just unbeatable by JPEG. And a huge number of cameras support RAW+JPEG, so that almost makes it a mute point.

    I almost exclusively shoot RAW, I only shoot .jpg if I don't intend to print the shot and am in a hurry.

    More benefits to RAW are listed here:

  • Andre November 24, 2008 06:31 pm

    Don't fall into this trap of:

    Myth of DPI, the term DPI is a holdover from when this setting in a digital photo would set the paper output quality (resolution) of a printed image (number of printer dots per inch). This is no longer the case, but people still confuse DPI with PPI.

    A problem with using a JPEG file as your editing original is that each time you do a "save as" with a JPEG after editing it further degrades, even if the JPEG compression is set to the highest quality. The degradation is not severe, but those who wish to maintain the best quality of their images will first "saved as" their image into a lossless format such as TIF and then do all their editing in that format. The final image can be saved back as a high quality JPEG.

    Note that you can copy a JPEG file using your computer's copy function, multiple times with no loss of quality (like all digital files) - it is just the re-saving of a JPEG from any photo editing program after editing (or even cropping) that will add to the degradation of the image.

    Pros: small image size, very good photographic reproduction, best format for emailing or posting to the web, compatible with virtually every image editor and viewer. Supports IPTC/XMP data (with certain software - see Labelling Photos).
    Cons: "lossy" format, it compresses by removing information which can never be recovered, photo degradation on save (even at highest quality setting).

    Note: A new version of JPEG, called JPEG2000 is starting to be implemented. It compresses through "wavelet" technology rather than block technology and at 0 compression it is a "lossless" format. It compresses 25-35% better than a standard JPEG with higher image quality. It will likely be some years before we see full scale implementation of this standard. A 0 compressed JPEG2000 (.jp2 file) is about half the size of an uncompressed TIF.

    Tip: I have realized that I had to refrain from using JPG several times with different projects involving editing & copying ending up using BMP format.

  • Andre November 24, 2008 06:10 pm


    DPI is dots per square inch; Does this refer to image sensor or pint.
    The color space management has to convert RGB/sRGB pixels to YMCK dots for prints. The dots printed per square inch could never be the as the pixels used from RGB or sRGB especially after compression e.g. jpeg (size priority) where pixels gets lost.

  • Andre November 24, 2008 05:56 pm


    there is manny confusion about DPI and resolution? and what the heck is 12bit and 14 bit dept.

  • Mark November 24, 2008 09:52 am

    Think about it for a second. 300dpi vs 2400dpi...That's 8 times BETTER picture quality. EIGHT TIMES BETTER. If you're doing professional photography, ask yourself this: If you were the one buying the prints, which ones would you buy, the 2400dpi print or the 300dpi print?

  • Mark November 24, 2008 09:49 am

    The dots per inch in pictures and graphics is similar to the sampling rate of audio. Higher is always going to be better. In audio, for most audio equipment, the sampling rate for converting analog audio to digital is 16-bit 44.1kHz meaning the sine wave cycles 44.1 times per second with the sine wave being split into 16 different "samples" or sections of different pitch and tone. High-definition audio, or digital audio, can run as high as 24-bit 192kHz. BOSE sound systems run 24-bit 192kHz sampling rates.

    The same idea holds true for graphics and pictures: A 2400dpi print is going to have better quality than a 300dpi print. The human eye will detect the 2400dpi print as a sharper, clearer image that looks as real as technology can make it.

  • Mark November 24, 2008 09:42 am

    Standard Definition analog TV is 480dpi. HDTV is upwards of 1080dpi. Photos printed professionally are done at 300dpi. Photos printed by the photographer in a desktop inkjet can be done at 2400dpi. The human eye can easily see the difference between all those resolutions.

  • Mark November 24, 2008 09:33 am

    Now, compare prices: The cost of ink for the Pixma iP4500 is $15/cartridge and the printer takes 5 cartridges. You have enough ink for 50 prints with the printer taking 30 seconds per print. 50 prints at 30 seconds per print is a total time of 25 minutes. That's $75 worth of ink and 25 minutes of your time for 50 professional-quality prints. Add to that the best photo paper Canon has to offer (the Photo Paper Plus Glossy II) priced at $13 for a box of 50 4x6 sheets. The printer itself is $120, but excluding that one-time payment, the cost to do the prints yourself would be $88 for 50 4x6 prints at 9600x2400dpi quality.

    The cost to have it done professionally: $1 to $5 for 50 4x6 prints at 300dpi quality.

    For those of you who want a visual comparison of what the finished product would look like: Standard definition TV is 640x480dpi and high-definition TV is upwards of 1280x1024dpi.

  • Mark November 24, 2008 08:48 am

    For comparison: A Hewlett Packard industrial printer has a maximum resolution of 2400x1600@5picoliter, while a Canon Pixma iP4500 and Pixma iP4600 have a maximum resolution of 9600x2400@1picoliter. The downside to printing at such a high resolution on the Pixma printers is you go through ink very quickly (you can only do 50 to 75 4x6 prints before you're out of ink), but the advantage is you have much better photo quality. Its a huge trade-off...But if you're going pro, its a trade-off you have to make...You want the best quality photos you can make, but the cost to that is you use up a LOT of ink to accomplish that. A saying we gamers tell each other in situations like that is "You gotta pay to play".

  • Mark November 24, 2008 08:42 am

    The quality of a photo depends on several things. Here is a list:

    The resolution and quality settings on the camera, the skill of the photographer, whether or not the image is compressed during the transfer from camera to computer (A jpeg image at the highest quality is uncompressed), the maximum resolution of the printer and the resolution you set it for when you print the picture, the type of paper you use (that is more important than you think; not all "glossy photo paper" is the same), the dot size in picoliters that the printer produces, and the type of ink used (pigment-based inks are better than dye-based ones).

  • Mark November 24, 2008 08:36 am

    Also, what I just found out is industrial printers used for printing photos professionally have a maximum resolution of 2400x1600dpi, which is 3.8 megapixels. Compare that to modern digital cameras, which are upwards of 10 to 12 megapixels, and you see that you lose a LOT of the photo's quality just having them printed in an industrial printer. The 9600x2400dpi resolution of the Canon Pixma iP4500 and iP4600 printers is 23 megapixel resolution, and as such, the quality of the picture actually INCREASES when it is printed.

  • Mark November 23, 2008 12:27 pm


    Copy and paste that link to your browser to see the picture of the sunset that I took in JPEG format. And just so you know, the colors you see in that picture are exactly the same colors that the sunset was in real life. The JPEG format DID NOT wash out the colors. The only downside to that picture is it looks slightly out of focus, but that was due to where the autofocus was aiming, not to the JPEG format.

  • Mark November 23, 2008 11:28 am

    Also, those of you with high-capacity memory cards (2GB or larger) can run the highest resolution and quality and still have ample room on the card. 8 megapixel resolution at superfine quality will give you approximately 200 pictures or so on a 2GB card, so unless you're one of those trigger-happy photographers who just has to take a picture of every little thing, you can afford to run the highest possible resolution and quality the camera can do. Of course, if you're that type, a 16GB flash memory card runs approximately $70, so if you can afford one of those monsters, then you can run the highest resolution and quality and still be as trigger-happy as you want to be because those 16GB cards will hold well over a thousand pictures at 8 megapixel resolution.

  • Mark November 23, 2008 11:00 am

    My camera can only do jpeg images, but thanks to Canon's own ZoomBrowser photo editing software, I can edit the jpeg files to get rid of red-eye, add sharpness, change the resolution and quality of the picture, add a date and time stamp to the photo, and even click "auto adjust", which adjusts the luminosity of the original image to be better than what it came off the camera with, reading the data from the Brightness Histogram that the camera encodes with every picture. Fortunately, ZoomBrowser will NOT let the user edit the picture itself except for cropping it or rotating it, and it offers two rotation options - rotate according to the camera's own rotation information or digitally rotate the image without using the camera's own information. The camera also encodes the shooting information with every picture, which is then downloaded into ZoomBrowser along with the picture. I also have a Canon Pixma iP4500 inkjet photo printer that is rated for a maximum resolution of 9600x2400dpi color or 1600x1600dpi black and white. The printer settings themselves are what determine the final quality of the picture, as the printer offers the option of photo noise reduction, increasing the intensity, brightness, contrast, and vividness of the colors, full-page image enhancement, borderless printing on compatible paper, and even offering the option of Absolute Colorimetric quality.

    With Canon's ZoomBrowser software, there is no loss in resolution between the camera and computer - what resolution the camera is at when the picture is taken is the exact same resolution and quality the picture is at when imported via ZoomBrowser, and image sizes at 5 megapixel resolution range anywhere from 4MB all the way up to 7MB depending on what I take pictures of. I have an unedited picture of a very beautiful fiery sunset that is 6.1MB in size (that's at the 5 megapixel resolution) with the camera settings at 2592 x 1944 resolution SuperFine (maximum) quality running off a SanDisk SecureDigital Ultra III 2GB high-speed memory card (15MB/sec read 10MB/sec write sustained speeds), and at that resolution and quality, the card can hold 772 pictures according to the camera's own display.

    As far as the difference between RAW and JPEG, in an unedited picture using ZoomBrowser, one JPEG copy and one RAW copy, assuming the resolution and quality are the same, the only difference between the two formats would be that JPEG images are sharper and more vivid right off the camera. As far as which one is admissible in court - You can't automatically claim RAW's better than JPEG because JPEG's higher quality can easily override RAW's ability to resist editing. If the RAW image is poor quality, and there's a higher-quality JPEG image of the same incident, the court is more than likely going to use the higher quality JPEG one as that one is more detailed and can better remove doubt of a crime. Lawyers may try to argue that the JPEG format image can be edited and as such should not be used as evidence, but the quality of the JPEG image will speak for itself.

  • Andre November 6, 2008 03:16 pm

    I must admit Raw takes all yuor CPU- power and memory.But thing are getting better. Pc's and memories are getting faster and cheaper.

    Before you know Raw will be treated as Jpeg.2000RAW pix on a 32Gig card (Sales Marsha Yuan Tel:0086-0755-61635100)

    Ok this is what I do alt+shift+ctrl+s (save for webdevices)
    I usualy change the size but keep the quality at jpeg 100%, don't save layers.(instead save extra file as PSD format) I keep icc profile.
    Color space can also affect your pix. Is your cam,cs3 and printer set to RGB,sRGB? Have you tried picasa.com

  • Katy November 5, 2008 02:29 am

    I have just started shooting in RAW. I started off with RAW+JPEG, then moved to just RAW. I love the fact that all manner of corrections and alterations can be made. However I am experiencing a fairly major issue with RAW files. Any file that was originally RAW, when processed in Camera Raw and CS3 and converted to JPEg, look fabulous and vibrant on Bridge or photoshop. Upload them to Flickr or facebook or whatever, and they look flat, bland and washed-out. Is this a common problem or am I doing something wrong?? It has put me off using RAW as my JPEGs are more reliable and consistent, but if I could solve this problem I'd love to carry on shooting in RAW.

  • Sam November 3, 2008 03:46 am

    I've shot using RAW+JPEG and can't for the life of me see any difference in the quality "after" post production. Straight from the camera to the printer obviously the JPEG wins out all the time. But when I do all the corrections to both files, I end up with the same quality photos.
    So I shoot JPEG because it's faster and I can hold more images. Any corrections I need to do can be taken care of in Photoshop CS3. I keep hearing that RAW files save information and JPEG throws it out. Again, I can't see that in the final product. A corrected JPEG image looks just as good as a processed RAW file.

  • Andre October 27, 2008 10:48 pm

    First of all we are not acting.
    I did some macro shots of my flowers in the sun 13pm.The sun was to bright to analyze the shot's so I adj. my camera screen to +2.
    I have shot a photo of my friend’s baby using the T.V as a light source. On the camera screen the photo looked to light so I dropped my exposure compensation not realizing that the screen was not giving me a true exposure (set on +2).
    So what is the moral of the story? This photo was so dark.
    There is no ways that PSP or any other program could rectify this photo without noise. Fortunate I was using RAW and rectified the dark photo.

    I was so impressed with the print 8x10" that I put this photo on page 1 of my portfolio

  • Terence September 4, 2008 01:11 pm

    But can't you just get PaintShop Pro and do white balance, exposure, and all the good stuff with a jpg file. Some of you guys act like you can only do that with RAW files.

  • Andre August 10, 2008 07:04 pm

    Hi i got 300D about 7 months ago and shot about 4500 jpeg shots that i edited in psp7 to compensat on white balance and exposure.

    I then upgraded to photoshop7 with the new Auto color and auto balance.I also played with RGB curvs.Also used picasa.

    Well I now upgraded to Capture NX, has:
    Color Mode
    White Balance:
    4000 K – 3000 K
    = 1000 K 83 mired
    7000 K – 6000 K
    = 1000 K 24 mired

    Camera Adjustments are more natrual.

    Tone compensation;Saturation ;Sharpening;Exposure Compensation; Hue Adjustment;Color Moiré Reduction;DustOff
    My D300 can do all these setings but I can change these setings even after taking the shor eg if my sphapening was set on cam to 5 then with Raw format I can change seting from 5 to 8 r 9 It's like going back in time to adjust camera setings before the shot was taken.

    More features ;Auto Color;Color Moiré Reduction
    Aberration;Vignette Control; and at last but most of all COLOR POINT CONTROL with U Point® Technology.

    with all thes veaturs I don't think I will switch back from Raw to JPEG i use 12bit and not 14 bit (at 14bit I can onley do 3pix a second) take nef at higest raw compresion 20meg a Pix but with todays hi-tech mem cards are cheaper and biger. with my 12G scandisk I can have over 600 photos, with the new 36G 3 times as much.

  • hym August 5, 2008 03:18 pm

    with CHDK hack on my PowerShot S2 Is, I use both. I get a 10 bit RAW and an 8 bit JPEG with CHDK.

  • Buckmiester August 5, 2008 01:41 am

    I use RAW primarily except when procedures I want to use won't allow it.

  • Pentax user July 11, 2008 09:22 am

    You must shoot wildlife in JPEG. You simply don't have enough time to wait for the camera to store a RAW file, lest your subject leaves before you're ready.

  • John March 10, 2008 08:24 am

    Not sure if this thread is still alive, but I stumbled upon it. I shoot jpeg exclusively after much trial and error. I have shot raw (nef) and raw+jpeg. I have done prints, 100% zooms, everything you can think of to make sure. I have decided jpeg is excellent and actually better for my needs. There seems to be overkill online and in magazines about using raw and it kind of reeks of marketing. Companies want you to buy their software, and use there products. Nikon wants nothing more than you to use a Nikon camera, Nikon Capture NX, Nikon View NX. The problem is, it causes photographers to become overly fixated on pixels rather than the image. A jpeg can be easily manipulated with good results using Photoshop. I can colour correct white balance, add contrast, adjust shadow detail with little difficulty or loss of quality. Yes, if you are going to be doing serious modification of image you may require raw files, but for my needs, which includes gallery displayed 20X30" prints there is no difference between the raw or jpeg. The main problem seems to be from lack of ability in Photoshop. People, quite frankly, don't know how to use it and what it is capable of.

  • Mike January 20, 2008 09:27 pm

    @Ron Bell

    "In 20 years, will software exist to let me easily open the archived RAW files I took on my Rebel XTi?"

    Another consideration is whether you will switch camera brands at some point. For example, I have 30,000 Nikon files, mostly RAW. I don't like the idea of having to keep buying Nikon's Capture NX program for the rest of my life just so I can properly open their nef files. I realize Adobe and other softwares can open the files but they do not look nearly as good nor are they as quick at rendering them. Nevermind 20 years from now...


  • Ron Bell January 17, 2008 02:48 pm

    I primarily shoot in RAW--or in JPEG with a custom white balance setting.

    One thing I'm wondering about, which I didn't addressed here, is whether RAW files ought to be converted to JPEGs for final storage once processed to the photographer's satisfaction?

    I say this not only because the RAW files take up lots of space (which is less of a concern these days than it once was), but also because RAW files are not standardized and require camera-specific converters. In 20 years, will software exist to let me easily open the archived RAW files I took on my Rebel XTi? I'm not so sure. I am confident that the JPEG format is standard enough enough that converters will still exist.


  • Gordon Patton December 21, 2007 02:25 am

    I've been doing professional work for nearly 30 years and was (perhaps still am) a purist, preferring film. However, times and circumstances change, so here I am with my digital camera.

    RAW v JPEG. For 95% of projects, JPEG is fine, especially if you do wedding and event photography where you may shoot 500+ pictures. Time is money and JPEG is faster. I do shoot RAW but find myself spending 15 minutes or so trying to get an image 'just right' when in the end, the print difference is minimal. Shooting natural light in tungsten? OK, perhaps RAW is better because you can 'tweak' the white balance.

    I guess, as a newbie to digital, I'm still confused as to the advantages of one over the other. Film--I knew where I stood. Digital--I'm not sure.

  • Sally December 20, 2007 03:29 pm

    I am new to photography and want to learn as much as possible. I know what JPEG stands for and how to use it, but what does RAW stand for and how does one adjust the camera to that setting. I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-fz-10.

  • C. Swatzell December 6, 2007 01:35 pm

    I have shot both jpg and raw, into the 10's of thousands. I recently had a lab a jpg printed at 20X24, it looks fantastic. I have read a lot on the subject of raw vs. jpg and I find the same argument, I can adjust w/b and exposure. If you take 1 minute to set a custom w/b or properly set a w/b, there is no need to adjust it later, same goes for exposure.

    Modern in camera metering is highly accurate this is especially true when using advanced p&s or dSLR cameras. If you use the metering system properly there isn't much need to adjust exposures outside of the levels and curves options.

    I have also consistently heard the "jpgs degrade each time you open, edit and save", my question is why do you save over the original jpg? I agree with many of the others here, learn to use the camera as a tool to get proper exposures first and not a "photoshop" pro.

    The higher dynamic range is also a bit of a falsehood. RAW is 12 (or sometime 16) bit images but they are liner versus the 8 bit log, gamma corrected or some other non-linear transformation based on the 12 bit (or 16 bit) linear data.

  • Mark October 9, 2007 11:46 am

    I went from JPEG to RAW (processed in Capture NX...ACR and Lightroom are garbage for Nikon NEFS) and now back to JPEG. On the D200 there is essentially no difference in quality. I am able to set white balance and expose properly so that it is not necessary to shoot RAW. I would definitely not call RAW "the lazy approach." I personally don't have time to work on the PC after shooting, nor do I want to (I frequently come home with 500-700 photos after a days shooting). I would rather import as quick as possible, pick the selects, make perhaps slight adjustments, and be done. If the shot is "make it or break it" due to the white balance being slightly off, it's crap to begin with. There's plenty of time to take more photos and sometimes I laugh when people speak of their photos as if they are going to be featured in the MOMA soon. If you screwed up the shot, that's life...move on and take another. If anything, it makes you a better photographer since you know you bloody well better get it right the first time and not rely on post-work to fix your sloppy mistakes.

    Last thoughts...do any of you really think you'll be able to dig out your old NEFs and CR2 files 20-30 years from now and open them?

  • James September 11, 2007 08:23 am

    I use high quality jpegs. I haven't had any trouble editing or printing up to 8x10. RAW seems to waste a lot of time and I personally don't notice any difference. Nine out of ten times the files are converted to jpegs in the end, so why waste the time. I have talked with great photographers who shoot only in jpeg and claim that the newest technologies (jpeg size and quality) are making RAW a thing of the past. I even read that photographers for magazines like Time have made the switch to jpeg.

  • Chris August 10, 2007 10:31 pm

    If you're spending $1000+ for D200 and lenses, you obviously want quality so why shortchange yourself with jpegs in the end.

    For those with more economically priced dslrs and for p&s, jpegs work just fine. For portraits and slow synch night photog I still shoot raw. But for most everything else that I don't expect to print I shoot jpgs. Heck I even shoot downsampled 1 Megapixel jpgs knowing that I'll never print and only post them.

    In nutshell, for stuff I print I shoot raw. For stuff I don't print I shoot jpg and exactly at the resolution I need. Best of both of both worlds. Everyone should do the same.

  • Ricardo Galvão August 7, 2007 04:11 am

    I do only use .JPG files.
    Faster, lighter, smaller as easy to use, less space in a memory card than .RAW
    And there is not a sense about it:
    Adobe DNG, Canon (.CRW), Nikon etc etc etc....
    That's why ADOBE Camera RAW now open .JPG files. .JPG It's better
    In my opinion, .RAW it was only to purists photographer who dislike digital...that's why industry call "digital negative" (laughs)
    If I have to post-process an image, i prefer did it faster.
    If you see my site, you notice that I can run .JPG files for o good (very good indeed) response.
    If you work in LAB mode you'll solve the "color" 'PROBLEM' OF .jpg (I DO NOT THINK THERE IS ANY...)

    I simulate velvia in PS, i Do better BW in PS, all in .JPG

    why shoot in .raw?
    Use modee LAB, use LEVELS, use CURVES....

    Forget .RAW

    Ricardo Galvão from Brazil

  • Alby August 1, 2007 12:04 pm

    I work mostly with jpegs because shooting in RAW is the easy way out. Shooting jpegs forces me to take my time and make sure that all the settings are "correct" for whatever I want to shoot. Don't get me wrong, I'm a PS nut, but I'd much rather be a photographer than an editor.

  • Lacy May 23, 2007 11:16 am

    by the way...I just reread my comment and it sounded a little harsh...I didn't mean for it to be! I'm really a nice girl ;)

  • Lacy May 23, 2007 11:13 am

    What kind of time and energy do you people have?!?! I usually shoot around 200 images for a location/environmental portrait session, and do my darndest to make sure that I'm getting my exposure right the first time, so I DON'T have to do so much post processing.

    First of all, using JPEG saves so much time, energy and space, and honestly, the compression and supposed image quality loss is so miniscule, I challenge anyone to really identify differences of real significance..

    I can't imagine trying to shoot, load, and process six hundred raw images a week, and tweak each one. JPG totally serves my purposes and does so quickly, efficiently, and at high quality. Not to mention, you can achieve the kind of color changes you are looking for in photoshop with levels.

    I hope this doesn't sound derogatory, but it sounds like RAW makes us lazy as photographers. Perhaps we shouldn't have to do so much correction afterwards if we were really trying to get the shot on site?

  • Ryan April 24, 2007 11:49 pm

    I go back and forth between the two depending on what I'm shooting. For personal photography where I'm shooting for fun or to test out something new I'll use JPEG. I'll also use JPEG when I'm trying out new techniques because it gives me less room for exposure problems which forces me to get better. When I'm shooting for money, weddings and portraits, I use RAW. Most of the time I don't have to do any adjustments, but for those 2 or 3 images from a wedding that didn't quite come out right but can be brought back with RAW it's worth it.

  • Luis Matias April 13, 2007 06:57 pm

    I'm a recent user of digital photography and I'm using JPEG but the recent Carl Ebray post (RAW Workflow: A Pro’s Approach) and this interesting debate it caused me serious doubts. The RAW has doubtless advantages but the post processing is longer, so the choice is conditioned by the amount of time spent on the computer (even with JPEG is long enough...). As I don't know the available softwares I don't know which one should I by. I'm thinking on: Nikon Capture or Adobe Lightroom. Which one has a better learning curve? Which one provides faster workflow? Which one is easier to use (I'm a above media computer user)? CaptureOne is a choice?

  • Jonathan April 13, 2007 04:09 am

    I shoot in raw + jpeg high, but don't ask me why. I just recently started shooting raw, so I'm still learning all of the intricacies of working with a raw file, but I really like it. The only down side is that you have to convert every raw file to another format to make it very useful.

  • Wade Flake Jr April 13, 2007 03:08 am

    I shoot both with my Nikon D80. But I also carry 5 gig., of storage along, and can buy more if needed. Each file is around 17mb when shooting both at the same time.
    The JPEGs are for sharing the rest are for my own enjoyment to work with.
    If I decide to share a RAW photo I convert it to a TIFF file which most everybody can open. As for storage at home I use the Sea Gate add on hard drive, I think it is 260 gig for around a hundred bucks. You can add as many of these as you need.

  • Shyamal kumar Roy April 13, 2007 02:59 am

    Actually Raw files are more effective than Jpeg, because in Raw file there is ample scope to correct the shots afterwards, and that will not hamper the quality at all. Because in my opinion in raw files the pictures are recorded as data file & by changing the value of the data we may easily change the effects of the pictures, which in Jpeg file the scope is very limited.

  • Mark B - NYC April 13, 2007 01:23 am

    No question RAW. It can be much more forgiving. In fact highlights that may be blown out in a JPEG can often be recovered successfully with a RAW image. The workflow management of a product like Lightroom makes working with RAW files rather easy, not to mention the extended felxibility you have with the image.

  • George Anchev April 11, 2007 12:57 am

    We all know the ultimate answer to questions regarding photography: It depends! :)

    There is never "best" in photography - even for formats.

    I usually shoot in high quality JPEG because photography for me is generally using the camera as a tool, not the computer. If you can't do it in JPEG - you are cheating :)

    I use RAW in special situations. For example - when the scene has a higher dynamic range and I notice that a JPEG will not do. The disadvantage is that RAW usually has less sharpness and is large in size - hence slow... not very good in continuous mode for example. Even with a fast camera/card - JPEG is always faster!

    What I like about JPEG is that I don't have to develop it after I download the pictures - they are just ready for publishing (the good ones :P). The cons is that it doesn't give the flexibility of RAW for post processing.

    The pros of RAW is it gives flexibility but for the price of speed/size and later you have to work on it... often just because you were lazy enough not to use your camera :)

    Actually I even prefer AE bracketing to a single RAW for HDR things but it's a matter of personal choice IMO.

  • Kerri April 7, 2007 04:08 pm

    Raw, oh yes, only raw if you have a decent camera. My present combo (best I can afford for now) is a Nikon D50, memory cards are 2 x 2gb UltraII SD. They're faster than my old SD cards, so I can still shoot fast and raw.
    Nikon's new CaptureNX software gives you unreal control over post processing. The learning curve is steep, but I'm loving the results I can achieve when I want to tweak an image. Lightroom is excellent too, I went to the Adobe Seminar here in Aus recently. But CaptureNX has the edge for me, as it's made for my camera. I suppose it's like the difference between developing your own negatives or taking them into a photo processing store for a generic batch process. The great thing is that we have a choice, so much cool stuff at our fingertips. Aren't we lucky?

  • Stephan Morais April 6, 2007 07:54 pm

    I debated this question for some time, and was initially swayed to JPG by a post on Ken Rockwell's site:

    Since then, however, I've switched to RAW for many of the reasons already outlined above. But as great as it is to be able to correct things like WB and exposure after the fact, it does make we wonder if this makes it too easy to be sloppy about these things when I'm shooting. I sometimes wonder if I forced myself to shoot JPG, I'd be forced to get these things right "in camera". Thereafter, shooting RAW with that much better of a feel for the dials would cut down on the post processing workflow. Not dissimilar from the addage that you should crop "in camera", not in Photoshop.


  • Dave New March 15, 2007 04:19 am

    The first dozen 'test' shots from my original 300D were JPG. Since then, I've shot only RAW, or more recently with my 20D, RAW + JPG, although I may discontinue the JPG part, because I can't recall the last time I bothered to even look at them.

    I've yet to get a nice non-DSLR as a 'pocket' camera, because the RAW speeds on most of them are way too slow to be useful, or they are out of my budget (Leica). For that, I still shoot film with an Olympus waterproof go-anywhere compact camera.

    The most amusing comment was the one from a person that had purchased a Nikon D200, but only had room on their memory card for 20 RAW shots. What were they thinking? The memory cards that Nikon packs with their cameras is just so you can do some test shots. Memory cards are cheap, these days. Once you've bought a D200, the price of a couple of 2GB cards is miminal in comparison. My 'rule of thumb' for card size is to be able to get the equivalent of about two rolls of 36-exposure film on each. In my 20D, taking RAW + JPG, I get about 86 shots on each 2GB card. Last time I checked, you could buy Sandisk Ultra II 2GB cards for less than $50 each.

    Also, if you are going to get in the RAW game, you need to spend some money (at least $200-$300) on software. For those that got Photoshop Elements packed with their camera, a lot of them come with a certificate to upgrade to full-bore Photoshop CS2 (soon to be CS3) for $299, direct from Adobe. After that, you can buy full upgrades when they come out for about $150 each. Considering the $659 list price for this software, it's an outstanding bargain.

    Digital has its own special problem compared to 35mm film. It used to be that it didn't matter if you used a pocket camera to shoot film. It still took a 35mm size-frame on full-resolution film, and within the limitation of at least a half-decent lens, it would enlarge to about the same size print as one taken with someone's pricey SLR. Not so with digital. Most pocket digicams have tiny sensors, and even with the increasing amount of megapixels, they still won't make as nice an enlargement as what most of the current crop of DSLRs will do for you. Sometimes just printing 4x6 snaps of shots from digicams is all the justice you can do to those cameras.

    I know that I'm straying from the original question, but there is a mixture of folks shooting digicams vs DSLRs, and a number of people that have spent a small fortune on a DSLR, but aren't getting any more use from it than if they had saved about a thousand dollars and bought a cheap digicam.

    The mind boggles...

  • Les March 14, 2007 01:41 am

    I shoot in JPEG because I don't want to be spending time at the computer messing with them. I find it takes enough time to sort through and delete the crap, tag and upload to Flickr. I work as a web designer, so I spend enough time in front of a monitor. I want to spend more time with my kids and behind the camera.

  • Yudie March 14, 2007 12:46 am

    I use Canon 30D. So far I'm 99% satisfy shooting with jpg. After reading this pool I might consider to try RAW more

  • Przemek March 13, 2007 08:52 pm

    I have a RAW-enabled camera (Canon 300D) but I shoot only JPEG just because I haven't had much luck with playing with RAW in the beginning. Now, looking at the majority shooting RAW, I'm going to reconsider RAW. I'm thinking of shooting RAW and converting everything to JPEG and saving the RAW files as "negatives" for getting more out of the few photos I like.
    What processing software would you recommend?

    To the DPS team: I'd love to read a summary and/or statistics from the comments.

  • Fa11en1 March 13, 2007 04:23 pm

    Both. JPEG for previews and emails and RAW for my editing, i usually arry 6 4gb cf cards so space isn't a worry. i may switch to to HD Photo... NOT!!

  • Antonio Correia March 13, 2007 07:27 am

    I have a 20D, a 350 D and 3 L lenses.
    CF cards Sandisk Extreme II.

    I shoot RAW most of the time but I also shoot JPG when the occasion comes.
    RAW is for situations when the available light is more difficult like night shots under artificial light.

    JPG is for sports (outdoor) where I need speed and the light has no problems.

    RAW is time consuming sometimes on processing but it gives far more flexibility.

  • Richard March 13, 2007 06:13 am

    The Pros of RAW have been well stated, so have the Cons of JPEG. I shoot mostly RAW and save everything, 10,000+ images in 2006, mostly on backup hardrive the "Best of the Best" on multiple DVD/CD's.

    That said, sometimes JPEG is the way to go, here's the only time I shoot them. When you need to use burst mode to get the shot, RAW fills up your buffer much quicker than even JPEG large/fine. Shooting @ 5 fps I can only get about 6-8 RAW images before I have to wait, L/F JPEGS about 12-15, Med/fine about 20+, smal fine don't seem to ever fill the buffer, I counted up to 50 testing once.

  • Eye_Doc March 12, 2007 09:00 pm

    RAW - mainly because of the white balance correction.

    However I do convert ~50-60% to jpeg after shooting to save some space.

    Using Aperture there are no extra steps at all and it is just like using JPEGS.

  • annetics March 12, 2007 07:53 pm

    I shoot whatever one suits my needs at that time. Depending on how high priority the project or capture is and what needs to be done with it afterward. If there needs to be a lot of flexibility in an individual file for shadow and highlight tweaks, than RAW is the only way to go. But if it's pretty much going straight to print, or doesn't need a whole lot of tweaking, JPG is just fine with me.

  • dgibbphoto March 12, 2007 03:00 pm

    JPG 90% of the time.

  • sint March 12, 2007 08:58 am

    i don't like raw. its waste in space and time, if you know what you're doing when you push the button. i tried it and i'm not happy .. so i usually shoot jpg all the time and don't care much about "superspecial" post processing.
    don't know if i change my mind later, but thats for now!

  • sandman March 11, 2007 06:53 pm

    RAW is okay but I find it largely unnecessary. I try to make sure that checking my white balance and exposure is right before I shoot so that particular added feature isn't all the necessary.

    What I really dislike about RAW is the added steps in the work flow that come with it. In addition, I'm using PhotoShop 6 so all the EXIF data gets stripped off.

  • Beth March 11, 2007 09:58 am

    Thanks for a really fascinating thread... I just upgraded from 35mm to a Rebel xti and set it to RAW+JPEG when it came out of the box. The flexibility of having each shot in both formats seems, so far, to be best for me. One of the reasons I love this camera is that there's really so little post-production to do; most of the shots I've taken I've been ecstatic with right off the bat (film will train you to do it right the first time!) so being able to go directly to web or printing without having to fuss with it is nice. But having the non-degrading RAW originals on hand is reassuring, and I'm sure that I will eventually work with them more. I've got a lot to learn about the world of DSLR, so I'm keeping my options open as I go.

  • Caroline March 11, 2007 06:18 am

    Well, since Lightroom got available you can change whitebalance and exposure etc. the same with jpegs as with raws, unpunished by not losing quality. Still, I do prefer RAW because I'm used to it for over a year now. Even if it eats dvd's to backup (which are very expensive in belgium due to taxes) I like RAW better...

  • Mike Panic March 11, 2007 03:57 am

    White Balance and exposure flexability in an instant, I can’t even consider JPEG anymore.

    That is really sad. Take the few extra minutes to use a preset white balance or a grey card to do a custom white balance. Learn to use your camera's meter and exposure compensation. Be a photographer, not a photoshopper. The lattitude of digital is near as narrow as chrome film, you have 3/10ths of a stop under and 2/10th of a stop over, that is about it. Outside of doing HDR, you should be trying to hit a properly exposed photograph all the time. It will draasticly cut down on your post processing, you will get better quality images and you will be shooting more, not slaving over a computer for hours.

  • Liz March 10, 2007 05:22 pm

    I shoot about 95% in jpg. I have the capability to do RAW but have not had much that I wanted to spend that amount of time on. I am learning some photo editing software slowly and as the need arises I may go to RAW. I have plenty of memory sticks so space is not a problem...I'm just not sure I need it yet.

  • Todd Sieling March 10, 2007 09:15 am

    Raw all the way. I just never know when I'm going to want everything I can from a particular photo master, and so it has to be Raw. It also makes me feel like a bigshot :)

  • Ilya N March 10, 2007 08:23 am

    RAW only. I've discovered it's given me a GREAT deal of control over white balance and exposure compensation without losing any data at all. I'm very glad I switched to it.

  • eyun March 10, 2007 07:21 am

    Without any questions it is RAW 100% of the time. I was converted to RAW when I was shooting outdoors and took a shot that was very overexposed. Had I been shooting in JPEG, there would have been way too much information lost to salvage the picture. By using RAW I was able to salvage the picture and nobody would even be able to tell the difference.

    White Balance and exposure flexability in an instant, I can't even consider JPEG anymore.

  • Patrick March 10, 2007 05:45 am

    I have been wanted to enter the world of RAW for quite some time. A couple of weeks ago I purchased my first Digital SLR, The Canon Digital Rebel XTi. My past digital camera was great for it's time and I'll still use it for some projects but after reading the comments here I am going to commit to using RAW more for most projects.

  • sande March 10, 2007 03:39 am

    I just started shooting in RAW and love the ability to alter the photograph as if working with a negative. But with the new software that is coming out such as Adobe Lightroom, you will be able to do that with JPEGs as well!

  • Jersey Guy March 10, 2007 03:02 am

    I shoot in RAW because it is open-ended. IOW, as the various RAW converters improve, my old images improve to some degree. I am getting good results now, for example, from images that I shot with a 2.6mp Canon PowerShot Pro90 5 years ago. Results that were just not possible with the converters supplied by Canon in those days. Once you commit an image to jpeg, you lose that advantage.


  • Jason March 10, 2007 03:00 am

    Just recently switched to RAW and I can't go back. Ordered a much larger CF card because of it.

    RAW saves me in almost every shot I take doing concert photography. In small venues the lighting isn't good 100% of the time.

  • Taavi March 10, 2007 02:50 am

    I shoot only RAW. I couldn't do without the exposure and WB options it offers. I have been thinking about switching to JPG on longer trips, but I'll rather buy a bigger memory card (1 GB currently).

  • smthng March 10, 2007 02:32 am

    Raw+Jpeg for me. I like the 16-bitness of RAW for when I really need to tweak highlight and shadow details and I like the speed and ease of Jpeg for posting online or emailing. Having the RAW file also makes sure I don't hose up my originals, which I've been known to accidentally do when working on Jpegs.

    The only time that changes is when I'm going to be "out in the wilds" somewhere and know that I stand a chance of exceeding my storage. In that case, I'll take RAW+Jpeg of things that I think will be good pictures, but will take just jpegs of stuff that I just want a record of, like vacation shots and such. I need to buy a few 8GB cards before my next vacation so I don't have to worry about it.

  • Wayne March 10, 2007 01:17 am

    I use RAW always - actually .nef as I use Nikons - because it gives me the maximum information possible in any given picture. I then am free to interpret this as I wish. The only negative is that the files are larger, but storage is very cheap.

  • imelda March 10, 2007 01:06 am

    I use jpg with my Canon SD630.

    My next camera will be my first DSLR in the next few months and I plan on shootting RAW from the get go.

  • Seshu March 9, 2007 11:45 pm

    RAW - always. It is like having a negative to work off of. I am a bit old-skook, I suppose, wanting to have the original capture. True, RAW and JPEGs may look similar, but JPEGs simply lack all the information that a RAW image has (and one never knows when that will be crucial - I am talking about professional photography here folks, not being a weekend shutterbug).

  • diveboy March 9, 2007 09:13 pm

    I shoot both. I prefer raw for the white balance flexibilty.
    Sometimes choosing a different white balance just makes the difference between ok and great in a landscape.When I shoot in jpg and I get a great photo I save it as a tiff right away, that way as I open edit and save I won't be working with a lossy format.

  • Matt Barker March 9, 2007 08:07 pm

    I used RAW for quite some time, but after processing both RAW and JPEG in Lightroom, I honestly don't see too much difference anymore. I switched back to JPEG primarily just due to the smaller file size, but I go back and forth for no reason other than I feel like it. :-)

  • Bob Rommel March 9, 2007 07:57 pm

    I shoot mainly, but definitely not always RAW. I usually set the white balance properly in the camera, so I use exposure fine-tuning much more than white balance.

    JPEGs are great though - in most cases, the JPEG image is very good right out of the camera, whereas the RAW will take some processing to get to the same level. There are times when I am at an event and people want as many shots as possible. In these cases, I may take 500 shots - and I am definitely doing them in JPEG.

  • chriss March 9, 2007 06:43 pm

    Raw - mainly for the increased flexibility but also because of it being so much faster than jpg.

    I store my shots on a network drive and access them across a wireless connection. Keywording & previewing raws is significantly faster than doing the same with large jpgs as the system only needs to access the preview file or the xmp sidecar file.

  • daryl March 9, 2007 06:13 pm

    Shot in JPEG forever. Just started shooting in RAW+JPEG (XTi) and getting ready to just shoot straight RAW. Why? Because it is what everyone says you should do. Shoot in RAW, that is. Hopefully I'll really figure out the true, full benefits for myself one day.

  • utnapistim March 9, 2007 05:54 pm

    I used to take JPG, but in the last few days I stated shooting RAW.

    At the moment, it depends how many photos I plan on taking before I reach my computer and how much space I have left on my card.

  • Paul March 9, 2007 05:33 pm

    Raw all the time!!

    It allows for mistakes of which there are many,

    When processing, ou do not loss the original, therefore you are able to have any number of tries to get the picture the way you or your customer wants it

  • La Vaughn Fields March 9, 2007 05:03 pm

    Hi, my camera shoot both GPG AND RAW I have the option to shoot in JPG SO IF I DO NOT HAVE PHOTOADOBE I HAVE TO FORGET IT I chuse not to use that funchion

  • Triglav March 9, 2007 04:51 pm

    It is getting boring, but RAW. Altering whitebalance and correcting exposure is enough reason to go for raw imho

  • rivetgeek March 9, 2007 04:15 pm

    I shoot in raw unless im just taking snapshots. If I'm just taking snapshots like at a house party or something i shoot large jpeg to save time in post processing.

  • Jason March 9, 2007 04:00 pm

    I have yet to make the switch to RAW.

    I got so used to PP with JPEG I developed a workflow in CS2 that is really hard to get out of. I need to step out of my comfort zone lol.

  • muzik316 March 9, 2007 02:38 pm

    I use JPEG becuase well my XTi does not shoot in RAW

    just kidding.

    I use it because the software I have to use at this moment is i photo & becuase I can't afford better. iPhoto does not support RAW for my camera. I could use the stock software that came with the XTi but it does not organize they way I like. I want to get PS3 & Lightroom but I need to spend the money on a good 70-300 lens when I can afford it.

  • Jerry Bradway March 9, 2007 01:46 pm

    RAW about 75% of the time the balance JPEG. My conversion to RAW was primarily because of curosity, photography has always been a challenge that I could not resist and after hearing and reading about the results that one could get from processing photos in the RAW Format, I could not resist. To date my talents have not given me any great prints, but they have certainly shown improvement that I would not get from just JPEG. A great and rewarding format for me, just can't resist RAW any more. Please forgive the spelling.

  • Ryan Du Bois March 9, 2007 01:34 pm

    I shoot RAW all the time - it offers flexbility.

    I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, post every last photo that I take on the web. If I want to make a dramatic post, having the extra exposure lattitude and quality of post-processing a RAW image far outweighs the space savings of shooting in JPEG.

    To go a bit further, I can think of many occasions where a shot, when viewed on the camera, looked like total crap. But, once I got it into my post-processing environment, tweaked the white balance (which is harder to do for JPEGs), and adjusted the exposure (which is pretty much impossible for JPEGs), the shot ended up being marvelous.

    That flexibility, coupled with the ability to revert all my adjustments and start over, even months or years later, compells me to shoot in RAW on a day-to-day basis.

  • Keith March 9, 2007 01:08 pm

    RAW, RAW, RAW :)

  • Puplet March 9, 2007 12:56 pm

    JPEG for everyday, RAW for Sunday-best. JPEG qualities varies greatly from one camera model to another though.

    Then again, what do I know? Derek decided I was inexperienced a couple of posts ago.

  • Tiberius March 9, 2007 12:39 pm

    I actually use both depending on the situation. For important shoots, or shots where I am worried about the light levels, or any shot that I want to have the most control over, I use RAW for the extra flexibility it offers me over JPG. But I use JPG for everyday use, such as the average happy snaps, or when I expect that the image will require very little post work. The benefits of JPG are that it takes less time to save to your storage card, and you can fit more pictures on. In cases where you plan on using burst mode a lot, this is a huge benefit.

    So I don't see why people should feel they should use only one file format. The advantage of digital is that you can change so easily, and it's foolish not to take advantage of it when you need to.

  • Mike Panic March 9, 2007 12:22 pm

    OK I didn’t read all the replies but I definitely went through a lot. There are a lot of misinformed people in here and a lot of sloppy photographers. To preface, I work in the camera industry and have been shooting for nearly 10 years now. I also think a LOT of people on here could benefit from attending a shootsmarter.com seminar.

    RAW is not to save yourself later, it should be used when shooting fine art or when you cannot control your white balance. We’ve done (my work) extensive testing shooting known subject matter (think a coke can red, box of colored pencils, etc.) in RAW with auto-white balance, then the same shot (camera on tripod) doing a custom white balance. Open up the photo in CS2’s raw processor and tried to adjust the white balance of the AWB compared to the custom white balance, the AWB didn’t come close, no matter what we did to it. Not only that, we wasted a lot of time doing so. Use a grey (or white) card and do a custom white balance whenever you can – they take less then a minute and will save you time post processing.

    JPG can be used whenever you know what your final output will be OR whenever you have control over your lighting. A Jpg shot on the highest setting will produce stellar quality prints. The place I work uses a Noritsu minilab, the quality just doesn’t get much higher for laser printers.

    RAW is not a save-all grace… the digital real is much tighter then film is it is much closer to chrome – so you must hit your exposure and white balance. Learn to shoot first, post process second. If you don’t need to do 2 hours of post processing because you nailed the shot in the first place, why?

    I’m not dissing RAW, it has a time and a place and I use it quite a bit, but know what you are doing before you think you will “just fix it later”. Lastly, buy a color calibration tool; I prefer the eye-one software over most others out there. If you are not color calibrating your monitor, you shouldn’t even bother doing any sort of adjustments for color or density. Don’t borrow your friends either; it needs to be done at least every 30 days.

  • Paul March 9, 2007 12:20 pm

    Thanks to all of the above, being new to dslr most of my photo's until now have been in jpg, but....as from tomorrow i'm going "raw"........:D

  • Kyle March 9, 2007 12:20 pm

    For most situations, I shoot JPEG+RAW or JPEG on my Nikon, depending on the situation.

    When I get home, if I want to email or share photos I'll quickly touch up the JPEGs and send them off. If there are some pictures that I really want to take some time with in development, I'll use the RAWs and save to a lossless format, like TIFF. For most archiving I'll keep the JPEG version, to save disk space.

  • Pete March 9, 2007 12:14 pm

    80%-RAW, 20% jpeg. Not much I can say for RAW that has not already been said. I like the way that you can edit with RAW and the results that it gives. Jpeg is still good for the soul of most viewable shots posted on the web and through email.
    The final say so for prints is through the RAW process.

  • Kinho Pizzato March 9, 2007 11:03 am

    JPEG mostly. Since I mostly take picture of everyday things, sometimes I have to take 3 pictures in 10 seconds. Shotting in RAW won't give me the speed I need.
    Also I don't like the post processing step that much. I rather spend time shotting then editing.

  • ophoto March 9, 2007 11:00 am

    raw raw raw..more creative lattitude= more fun.

  • sisiay March 9, 2007 10:36 am

    I'm shooting mostly with a Lumix L1 right now, and in RAW mode (which I always use) it also makes a JPEG as well, so I guess I shoot in both...the RAW is great for reasons most people have already mentioned, particularly when you forget to change your white balance, or when you don't have time because there's a shot you just have to get.

    Having both formats allows you to find a particular shot quite fast on a card without knowing the filename (since I don't seem to be able to make OSX preview my RAW images in the Finder).

    I also edit all my photos (even JPEGS from my point-and-shoot ) even if just to check levels, and rename them and save them in a particular folder, so it's not much extra work for the shots that don't need much tweaking.

  • gkg123 March 9, 2007 10:34 am

    My canon rebel xti allows me to shoot in a 'raw and jpg' format, so i use that.

    the jpgs are great for easy download / posting for fun, the RAW files are better for manipulating later. I actually seem to get better results sharpening after i convert to .jpg though.

    raw also makes it easy to create three "exposures" for use in uploading to photomatix (HDR tool).

  • Phl March 9, 2007 10:34 am

    I always shoot in JPEG as I don't know what to do with a RAW image.

    I already do a lot of post-processing using PSP and have hit the wall of its limitations a few times now. Perhaps it's time to switch.

    Can we have a tutorial on the basics of RAW (i.e. plugins, techniques, basic workflow etc)?

  • Lanny Partain March 9, 2007 10:26 am

    I shoot both at the same time. My camera supports RAW plus JPG and storage cards have such high capacity now that I find it practical to just use both files. If the JPG serves my purposes for a picture I use it. If I need the flexibility of RAW then I have that also. It's the best of both worlds with very little extra effort on my part. I use a Nikon D70.

  • Elber March 9, 2007 10:13 am

    I shoot RAW in the studio when I can offload shots to a nearby computer.

    When I'm shooting weddings, however, I use JPGs simply because I don't have that many CF cards on hand.

    I would love to shoot everything in RAW, but my budget, as of the moment, won't really let me do that. Everybody says storage is cheap, but unfortunately for me, it's not quite cheap enough.

  • Carl March 9, 2007 09:48 am

    (Upon proof-reading that last comment I realise that it's full of spelling and grammar errors. Sorry about that. Hopefully people can make sense of it anyway.)


  • Carl March 9, 2007 09:47 am

    I still find it amusing that people use jpg unless they're "going to get that really good shot". Unless you're a landscape or studio photographer who has either thoroughly studied the weather/subject in advance, how can you possibly now whether or not that grab-shot is going to be that "really good shot"?

    Particularly amusing, for me at least, is Peter's view. Shooting jpg until you get good at it and /then/ converting to RAW is a bit like learning to swim in the deep end in order to do lengths in the kiddie pool in my opinion.

    Ultimately, it's a simple choice. Like it or loathe it, *everyone* shoots RAW. The only difference is that some people configure their cameras to convert the RAW to jpg before they get their hands on it. Other people prefer to leave that task to their far more expensive & powerful computers, where they have control over the output.

    That ought to ruffle some feathers! :)


  • Paul March 9, 2007 09:46 am

    Always in Jpeg on the highest setting for quality.

    I may consider using RAW in the future but at the moment programs such as Picasa and Lightroom give me a good bit of flexibility to alter my images. I am interested to find out what the major benefits of RAW is. Do they produce any better image quality with regards to prints?

    I am hoping to take a photo with my Pentax K100D that might one day be good enough to 'blow up' to somewhere round A4/A3 size and wondered if anybody knows whether or not that is possible and whether RAW increases my chances of being able to print at that size?

  • Ron March 9, 2007 09:34 am

    I have a Ricoh Caplio GX - it only has jpg and TIFF as options to save in .. mainly use jpg for snapshots but occasionally TIFF which is slow to save to memory card and big but quality is much better than jpg

  • Niklas March 9, 2007 09:15 am

    I have a EOS300D and I shoot RAW exclusively since microsofts rawfile viewer came out. Before that i thought it was time consuming to open Photoshop every time i wantet to see a preview of my shots. Now i would never go back to JPEG.

  • Rob March 9, 2007 09:08 am

    I bought my Fuji S5600 because it is one of the few cameras that offeres RAW in it's price range.I had the intention of using RAW in the future. I've had it a year and used RAW on 2 ocassions. Jpeg does a good job for me because I prefer to take my time to get the right image via the lense and sitting at the pc in post production doesn't make me feel like a photographer. I can barely tell the difference between my good jpegs and my RAW files except that the RAW's are huge and take time and space.
    I'm of the old school where i consider my camera my first and main tool, not the pc. Thats also why I got the Fuji, I know the saturation, WB and contrasts are pretty smart.
    I dare say one day I may go over to RAW but I can't be bothered with it at the mo..Cheers..R

  • Mary March 9, 2007 08:59 am

    RAW, always. This allows for the maximum amount of information for processing, whereas JPEG gives a compressed file to start with. Also, with RAW one can correct white balance if necessary and make other corrections prior to processing that is non-destructive.

  • Scott March 9, 2007 08:14 am

    RAW for a number of reasons

    1) being fairly new to the digital SLR world, I learn a lot from post-processing RAW files: how good auto WB worked & how I need to correct it; how far off my exposure was and what I had to do to fix it; what types of photos i like more contrast in or more saturation; etc.

    2) if I want to make prints, this gives me the option to make 16-bit tiff files.

    3) I find the RAW editing software to be more conducive to post-processing than things like photoshop. There aren't hundreds of features for me to get lost playing with.

    Sometimes when I'm shooting more for fun (e.g. family) I'll throw it over to jpeg and just let the camera do its thing.

  • Chris March 9, 2007 07:40 am

    I have recently switched to RAW with the intention of learning more about post-processing. So far, have not really learned much :-( but have been able to save a few shots that were badly exposed. I use Picasa, which probably explains why I have had limited success in post-processing as I am not sure how good the algorythms are, but it does read RAW natively in the browser and automatically converts to JPG if you try and e-mail the photos so it gets over hassles some previous posters mentioned.

  • Eric March 9, 2007 07:39 am

    I have used RAW and prefer it 100%

    However my MacBook is slow to process them. Painfully slow. So now i use Large Jpeg 98% of the time, then when there is a 'perfect shot' or something that isn't quite right and i want all the editing possibilities at a later day then i shoot RAW.

    Unfortunatly i often forget to switch between. So after remembering to swith to RAW often means the next few days worth of shots are all in RAW

  • Fay March 9, 2007 07:04 am

    I shoot RAW. I take some digital infrared shots and jpeg does not keep the valuable white balance data I need to process. I, like some of the others, believe that data storage is cheap so the larger file size is not a problem as I can use a portable storage device and a few compact flash cards. I have not run out of memory yet, even after nearly three years of shooting.

    When I first got my camera I shot in jpeg, however, someone told me to shoot RAW and I have never gone back. I can view NEF files in Picasa with no problems, and a plug in allowed windows to recognise them as thumbnails. I can process them with photoshop and it takes no longer to process a RAW file and a jpeg file, so why limit myself to a lower quality first image?

  • Peter March 9, 2007 07:01 am

    JPEG now, RAW in the future.

    I'm currently shooting in JPEG until I get a better handle on the camera and it's settings. In this way I am forced to get things "right" the first time without having to make corrections in post processing. It also speeds up any touch ups that I do make since I am more limited in my options.

    Once I get better at that I will shoot RAW for all of the reasons mentioned above.

  • Bob Z March 9, 2007 06:53 am

    Sorry, not as experienced as your first participants. I am fascinated by the whole concept but somewhat ignorant at this stage. Where my Nikon D200 can take 83 images in jpeg top quality it can take and only some 20 something in RAW. What am I getiing for thise enormous memory difference? Why should I even bother myself moving out of Photoshop (Elements 4 dealing with jpeg) to RAW format?

  • Tom March 9, 2007 06:52 am

    I rarely have done RAW - but I know I should use it more. I'm a hobbyist and have thousands of pictures (I only throw away the really bad ones). My biggest concern is hard drive space and long term storage. I use a 300 GB hard drive and then also back up to CDs and DVDs. My hard drive is almost full so I need another drive.

    However, I recognize that I should do more with RAW because of the quality and flexibility it provides. Managing all the large files is my challenge.

  • Kyle Heon March 9, 2007 06:29 am

    I used to shoot primarily all in high-res JPG but since I started using Lightroom (back when it was beta 3) which I pre-ordered when they announced it I have switched over to RAW exclusively. I don't see any reason to not use RAW at this point. Large CF cards are coming down in price and disk space is pretty cheap these days.

  • Hitesh Sawlani (hitkaiser) March 9, 2007 06:13 am

    As we move away from snappers to photographers, JPGs become less relevant as they simply don't give you the same control.

    Sure, there are a million ways in photoshop to achieve the same results, but why bother when RAW converters have all the essential tweakers right there?

    RAW also helps with version control... you may be tempted to save changes on your only copy of your photo to later wish you hadn't cropped so much, with RAW you CANT permanently write over it, you can always revert so no need to keep multiple copies of the same pictures!

    Then there is the issue of JPEG.. if it is replaced by a more efficient format in the future, it will be easier (less quality loss) converting from RAW to this new format than it is from JPEG.

  • Nicodemus March 9, 2007 06:02 am

    I was read in the signature of a photographer's mail: "shoot raw, because memory is cheap and memories are priceless" :-)

    I shoot RAW because of all the extra options it gives me in postproduction. I'm not such a good photographer and being able to adjust the exposure afterwards has saved many of my pictures.

  • Gary Thom March 9, 2007 05:55 am

    RAW always:

    1. RAW = lossless, JPG every time you open / change / save the JPG it degrades in quality.
    2. White Balance, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has needed to fix this after the event.
    3. Exposure, better dynamic range in RAW allow more post processing options.

  • JR March 9, 2007 05:24 am

    That should say "Always Raw."

  • JR March 9, 2007 05:23 am

    Always. My camera has never been jpeg mode (maybe from the factory, but that didn't last long)

  • aChamp March 9, 2007 05:10 am

    Always in RAW. it's essencial for a good post production( exposure compensation, saturation, contrast, light levels and co. )
    The memory cost don't exist with 2x2gb and 1x4 storage always with me :)

  • Eric March 9, 2007 05:01 am

    I was shooting in JPEG for a few months and I recently started to shot in RAW.

    The advantages of RAW are great, and you can really work the photos the way you like it. That's probably the format that any Pro or serious amateurs will go in.

    The drawback, is that you should edit every shots to just have a decent picture while in JPEG you can often have a final photo that is totally usable right after the shot.

    Another problem I found, is even if the storage media is cheap, if you go on a trip a for a week or two and you shoot in RAW with your nice 10MP DSLR you will quickly fill up the cards (We're maybe too used to shot alot!). JPEG will probably gives you alot more shot to take.

    Still with the storage media, the cheapest media are slow and and can sometimes slowdown your multishot capabilities. I know that my small Rebel XT isn't as fast in RAW as it is in JPEG.

    Bottom line, I'm currently using RAW and will probably stay with it. But sometimes I'm sure JPEG can be just fine for most of the users.

  • Don March 9, 2007 04:53 am

    I just started working with RAW...the size hit on the media has been a issue with me, until I found a source of really cheap CF cards. On my camera, an Olympus E-300, I could get ~550 shots JPEG vs the 54 w/ RAW+SQ.

  • Carl March 9, 2007 04:53 am

    [quote]but when I just want to have a couple fun pictures of the kids at a party, I’m not going to sit down and edit them.[/quote]

    So don't. Drop them into the RAW convertor of your choice and export them straight away. Job done. One of the things that made me shoot RAW all the time was when I took an absolutely fantastic landscape shot that I later wanted to print big. I shot it jpg, not expecting to come away with such an amazing shot, only to end up wishing I'd shot it as RAW.

    The point is that even when you're shooting kids at a party, you never know when you're going to grab an amazing shot.


  • mdwsta4 March 9, 2007 04:53 am

    RAW. always. like others have said, the ability to adjust exposure compensation, but the other color limits it offers you are a no brainer. with the increasing size and decreasing cost of memory cards there is no reason not to shoot this way. if you don't want to process all the images right away most programs have a batch process where you can easily convert the RAW images into JPEGs in a matter of minutes.
    back before i shot RAW i didn't see what the big deal once. once i started i knew i'd never go back.

  • JackB. March 9, 2007 04:50 am

    I went thru a period where every photograph I made, I made it in RAW format.

    It takes forever to download all those RAW files onto my computer, and longer more to edit all of them.

    Many times I would take the companion JEPG file and edit it along with the RAW, then bring them both up on my screen side by side to compare.

    Well, sometimes the RAW would be a little better but not that much. As I compared more and more like this, I became evident to me that my JPEG files were comming out just fine, and with a lot less effort and time.

    Now, if there is a very special photo I want to keep forever I will resort to RAW so I can keep a large TIFF file.

    But mostly now its just JEPG for 90% of my photos.

  • Jack Foster Mancilla March 9, 2007 04:48 am

    RAW. ... Many people still stay in jpg because it was the way their camera was setup initially, and they are used to it. It is easier to stick with swomething you think you know, and are comfortable with, than to learn something new.

    No matter what the rationalizations to shoot other than RAW, the bottom line is that, with RAW, you have every piece of information available to you that the camera had. ... If you shoot something else, you have a compressed interpretation of that information (less information).

    Just like making the purchase of a car, or of a house, the more information you have, the better decision you can finally make.

  • Crapouilleau March 9, 2007 04:44 am

    RAW. I'm still a beginner and I found RAW to be more flexible and really useful to repair a missed shot.
    RAW is the best of anyone who is learning photography.

    I hope that I've been clear. My french is better than my english. eh.

  • Josh March 9, 2007 04:40 am

    Shooting in raw offers up such a great amount of fexibility within processing that I generally shoot in raw when it makes sense. Unfortunately if I am shooting an event which needs me to be quick my camera's automatic functions don't offer the option to shoot with raw .jpg only. So if I have time to really set up a shot and if it is one that I need a great amount of flexibility with and need to be a perfect image then I always shoot with in a manual set up and in the raw format.

  • Alniner March 9, 2007 04:39 am

    Depends completely on the situation.

    Where I would normally have used a point and shoot camera, jpeg. For a special event, or where I know I will want to tweak things afterward, RAW. Storage media is very cheap these days, but when I just want to have a couple fun pictures of the kids at a party, I'm not going to sit down and edit them.

  • Chris March 9, 2007 04:33 am

    I shoot a mix of RAW and jpg. If it is just going to be something quick to throw on a website for friends then I usually shoot jpg. If it is something I care about and think I might make prints of then it is always RAW.

    I find that if I am shooting RAW, I also shoot a small jpg just for quick email purposes. Just yesterday I took the RAW file and the jpg file and decided to do a test and see how good I could make them. There was no contest, the RAW images was far superior when I was done working on them. It had far more shadow and highlight detail among other things.

  • Steve Berley March 9, 2007 04:33 am

    I've had RAW save my hide a number of times. Especially when you shoot where there's consistent lighting, such as an event. Under these circumstances, if your exposures, white balance, or flash settings are off - all of which are surprisingly easy to do, a good RAW workflow will let you fix all the images at once. Once one image is corrected, the changes can be applied to all with a couple of clicks.

    While while some tools might let you do at least part of this in JPEG, a good RAW workflow also lets you undo the changes equally quickly (again to all images at once) since the actual changes are made only in metadata (and to the rendered presentation) without manipulating the actual stored image data.

    A related topic is: if you shoot RAW, what format do you use for storage and manipulation, once the image is retrieved from the camera - native (CRW/CR2/NEF, etc. with sidecars) or standard/general (DNG).

    I would argue strongly for DNG since it saves the headache of tracking images in pairs. Think of the hassles of keeping file pairs in sync through rename and moves. Yes, some RAW processors don't support DNG; and others have their own sidecar formats (ex: Bibble). While Bibble is a fantastic product, using it with Bridge and Photoshop will necessiate you having to track your original raw file, plus an .XMP created by Bridge as well as a .BIB from Bibble. Now think of the headaches of tracking file triplets through moves and renames. Yes, there are tools that will do all this, but if you use a DNG-based workflow you can bypass the whole mess.

    This is why I'm heading towards using DNG & Lightroom - fewer tech headaches and more time for pictures.

  • Nacho March 9, 2007 04:30 am

    RAW always I'm not shooting in auto mode -- only the WB and exposure options worth while the extra file size.

  • Ryan March 9, 2007 04:28 am

    RAW on cameras that can do it. Unfortunately they've stopped putting that capability in virtually all point and shoots so if I use one of those, I'm stuck with JPG.

  • Columbia March 9, 2007 04:20 am

    First a disclaimer - while i've been involved in photo since grade school (digital for about 7 years now) I still am an amateur, so take my comment with that knowledge.

    I shot JPG for so long, then I went to italy, shot JPG and came back and really learned some of the benfits of raw. Lesson learned? So I start shooting in RAW, and then sharing pix became a nightmare (had to convert each one to jpg anyway... ) So now, I am shooting RAW+Jpeg (Nikon d70). The quality of the jpeg is fine for sharing, and I know I've got a better "negative" in storage for any I really love and want to experiment with. I look the added cost of storage as an investment in the future (I don't mind my files being a little more sophisticated than I. ;)

    I think back to all those 640x480 pix we took in '99... :)

  • Jacques March 9, 2007 04:19 am

    JPG - not realy had time to play around with the raw mode. Still learning a lot...

  • Paolo Amoroso March 9, 2007 04:13 am

    I shoot in JPEG because it requires less processing to get acceptable results. Interestingly, I explicitly purchased a compact digital camera with RAW support (Fuji FinePix E900) because I planned to use it mostly for simple astrophotography. But it turned out that, despite the wider tonal range, the RAW format requires too much processing for my simple needs. Life is short.

  • Cefeida March 9, 2007 04:10 am

    RAW. Call it the lazy approach, but I love the easy editing possibilities it gives me later. I shoot a lot of photos, and I'm not a pro- I need room for mistakes.

    Of course, I later get complaints. "My Photoshop won't open the party photos! What's a plugin?"

  • Jamie March 9, 2007 04:09 am

    RAW here, too. It lets me turn way too many mistakes into keepers for me to consider turning back to jpg. I've had shots where that would have otherwise been ruined because I either forgot to change the white balance or exposure bias or I didn't have time to do it in the face of a fleeting shot.

  • Mark B - NYC March 9, 2007 04:05 am

    It comes down to speed and conevenience vs. optimal image quality. If you are going to producing high quality prints, then RAW is the way to go, and with today's high capacity storage devices, file size is no longer an issue. However, RAW processing does take some time. If you need to deliver moderate quality fast, then JPEG will certainly suffice. The trained eye can easily see a difference between RAW and JPEG, but 8 of 10 people on the street probably wouln't know the difference. I shoot RAW + JPEG so I'm prepared for either option.

  • Brian March 9, 2007 04:02 am

    RAW - If you do any amount of post-processing, once you go RAW there's no going back. It offers such a wide range of control over the image, from exposure to color balance to contrast to saturation, that you can change in the smallest degrees that I can't see going back to jpeg, ever. Of course, my only quibble is that RAW images are naturally soft, and I have to add more time to my processing by adding some sharpening, but I think it's a small price to pay.

  • Rick March 9, 2007 04:02 am

    I only recently switched to RAW as being new to digital SLR's didn't feel the increase in file size to be worth the hassle as the JPEG's are arguably superb in their own right. However, after trying the format and realising that there was much more scope for post processing I switched over.

    From a technical standpoint it now makes more sense to me to work with RAW as it is lossless. The files are big but I feel the end results and the greater range of adjustments available (that actually look good) are worth it.


  • Ryan Dlugosz March 9, 2007 03:52 am

    RAW almost 100% of the time. The only other setting I use is Small JPEG & that's just for goofy email stuff that I use my cell phone for nowadays.

    RAW has a huge advantage over JPEG in terms of white balance correction and Exposure adjustment. Some of the new PS3 tools allow you do make similar adjustments to JPEGs, but you still don't get the kind of control that you have with RAW.

    With storage being as cheap as it is, and Lightroom/Aperture being such a good workflow, why bother with JPEG?

  • Carl March 9, 2007 03:52 am

    RAW all the way. For me the exposure latitude inherent in RAW makes the difference in file size worth while. Storage media is cheap -- cheaper than film ever was -- and for me shooting RAW vs jpg is similar to shooting negative vs polaroid: you can do a whole lot more with your neg.

    This is always a contentious topic, for some reason, so it should form some interesting discussion. I know that some of the top wedding photographers in the country shoot jpg and don't see the point of RAW.


  • Brian Lewis March 9, 2007 03:44 am

    Primarily it will be in RAW. This does two things: it gives me the flexibility to change the exposure and whatnot with a bit more latitude than JPEG, the large file sizes keeps me separating the wheat from the chaff by necessity (I shoot largely from my laptop and it's limited drive space.)

  • Phil R March 9, 2007 03:39 am

    I made the switch to RAW a few months ago and haven't looked back. The ability to do white balancing after the fact was reason enough.
    Plus I do just enough processing to warrant the extras that come with uncompressed. Now I just need to buy some bigger CF cards.

  • Keenan March 9, 2007 03:36 am

    Well I shoot in jpeg because my old powershot a400 doesn't support RAW.

    But I'm probably going to upgrade to the Fujifilm s9100 which supports RAW and at that time I'll start taking RAW shots whenever there is an especially spectacular sunset that I really want to be perfect, etc.

    I'll still use jpeg as the primary format though.