In the words of ‘The Fro’, I Shoot [in] Raw. And you should too. What is RAW you might ask?
RAW is an image/file format that captures all of your camera’s data in its entirety by the sensor in your camera every time you take a picture. When you use JPEG as your format, you essentially compress your data in your images and lose quality due to compression.
So in the end, you are able to produce higher quality images when shooting in RAW. You also have the ability to correct issues in post (software after the fact), while still retaining that original RAW image.
I have compiled a list of reasons why you should shoot RAW vs JPEG. There are so many benefits to do so vs. JPEG, with one downside. File size. If you have plenty of hard drive space or cloud storage, then you should switch to RAW immediately.
Uncompressed image with no loss of data
- Highest level of quality
- Get better Brightness in your images
- Easier correction for under/over exposed images
- Better White Balance control
- Get better detail /also in prints
- Control over editing images without altering original file
- Export to any color space
- Works better with Adobe Lightroom
- It’s what the Pro’s use
- Larger file size means less pictures
- Creates the need for larger memory cards for cameras
- Creates the need for more disk space / cloud storage
Compressed image with data loss
- Smaller file size means more pictures
- No need for larger memory cards for cameras
- No need for more disk space / cloud storage
- Lower level of quality vs. RAW
- Not the best Brightness in your images
- Problematic correction for under/over exposed images
- Inferier White Balance control
- Lower level of quality in detail / also in prints
- No control over editing images without altering original file
- Cannot export to any color space
- Works with Adobe Lightroom, not as good as RAW however
- It’s not what the Pro’s use
You might be saying to yourself, well what does it matter if I shoot in RAW or not since I’m just going to export the image as a JPEG anyway? Well, even though the final image may be a JPEG to display on the web, or printed out, you still have all of that full quality data captured in the RAW file, which translates over into the JPEG file.
You can also order prints and do things with your RAW file directly. So there is no true loss of data here.
I could go on and on about file sizes but you get the idea here. RAW files are larger (sometimes 2-3 times larger than JPEG’s) but you have a better quality image. You’ll also fill the buffer faster on your DSLR shooting RAW vs. JPEG’s which means less FPS. But the trade offs with shooting RAW outweigh this issue, and most other issues.
All in all, this is just a brief breakdown of some Pros and Cons to both image formats, but if you value your work, do yourself a favor, and shoot RAW!