All of my cameras, including my pocket-sized cameras, are designed to shoot either jpg, which is the standard publication format for graphics on the Internet — or RAW, which is strictly data, but can capture subtleties of detail, color, and texture of which jpg is not capable.
I have always been advised to use RAW because it produces finer detail and gives you more room for advanced processing.
I don’t use it.
I did try it in the beginning when I got a camera that could handle it, my first Olympus. I was underwhelmed. Sure, you could process for those fine details, but since I wasn’t printing my pictures or publishing them in a book, the difference between RAW and jpg was invisible to most viewers and RAW files take up a staggering amount of room on ones hard-drive.
I finally asked a few people I knew well what they did with all that RAW data? Surely they didn’t try to store it on their computer — or even back it onto a hard-drive. Each raw image was at least triple the data quality for an equivalent jpg. The answer was the same, often a slightly ashamed and embarrassed “I don’t use RAW … there’s no point when you are using a computer and not printing.” Or, alternatively, “I transfer it into jpg then dump the RAW files.”
It turns out I was far from the only shooter who just couldn’t see substantive advantages to using that much memory. Memory may be cheap at the moment, but they will make changes to it and suddenly — again — we will all have to buy entirely new external back-up devices because the industry changes constantly.
Worse, RAW data is always changing. For me, that additional step of having to transfer the RAW into a processible image was one step beyond my time constraints. If I was doing this professionally, maybe. But maybe not. I rarely — if ever — have images that profoundly out of normal range to work with and since I overshoot everything anyway, I always have another, a nearly identical image with which to work.
All these are jpg images.
For those of you who have grappled with this RAW versus jpg issue for years, there are tons of articles about it all over the internet. But consider how much time you already spend processing and ask yourself if you have the time to do that much more processing on top of what you already do. Get back to me on that. I’m genuinely interested. I doubt I will change how I work, but I’d like to know how other people feel about it.
So I don’t shoot RAW. Sometimes, I have a guilt reaction about it. Maybe I should be using the format. “Everyone says so.”
Except that everyone doesn’t say so. Everyone thinks everyone else is saying so.