Please share some brief comments on your experiences with Raw file format, and why you might or might not use it.

Editor's picture
Raw file format is both an opportunity and, for some, a challenge. There's no doubt that it provides the most image information, but some still feel it is more trouble than it is worth. If you shoot with a Raw-capable camera, do you:
Please share some brief comments on your experiences with Raw file format, and why you might or might not use it.
Shoot Raw file format only and process each image.
49% (95 votes)
Shoot Raw + JPEG and process the Raw images when you have time.
31% (59 votes)
Shoot only JPEG or TIFF, as Raw is too much trouble.
20% (38 votes)
Total votes: 192
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Comments
Philip Mizdal's picture

The manufactorer's set selections of all the raw's controls for tiff and jpg's are just fine and don't require all the fussing.

Eric Ramos's picture

I currently shoot with the Pentax *ist DL and to shoot in RAW exclusively (without photoshop, only proprietary software) is LIMITING. I really love the black and white filter on the DL and use JPEG mostly. JPEG is more limiting yet, but for black and white, I use the filter on camera.

Dave New's picture

Only recently did I get a camera (Canon 20D) that made taking RAW + JPEG a useful endeavor. The Digital Rebel I had before would not save a full-size JPEG, so it was a useless option for me. I used to shoot exclusively RAW with that camera. I strive to nail the exposure, if possible, by retaking shots, or checking out exposures before hand, but I almost never bother to white balance on site, prefering to correct for that after the fact in the RAW converter. I just let the camera auto balance the in-camera JPEG, and 9 times out of 10, it will be close enough for non-critical work. Other than that, I get a large percentage of shots that are 'good enough' for posting, emailing, etc. that keeps me from having to fool around with them as RAWs. On the other hand, having the RAW originals means that I can fiddle with a select few to my heart's content, particularly if I want to 'print large' and display my work, or if I'm working on panoramic stitching, or high dynamic range bracketed exposure situations.

Tim Gray's picture

Major adjustments - color balance, exposure, curves, levels in the raw conversion - then save to jpg and minor processing from there.

Tim Thurston's picture

I use Adobe Camera RAW in PS CS2 to process my RAW images. Batch processing is often possible which is very fast and the automatic correctionsoften are very close. The end result is a much more consistent final product that requires little additional correction in PS.

Richard A.  Auchter's picture

Make sure that you have enough room in your system to handle the HUGE file requirements that you will face using.The time for a download into the system also seems to take forever and I have made the mistake of using a micro-drive card because it had a lot of room in it's file. BIG Mistake as midway through the download into my Mac, the card got hot and just stopped the download, screwing up some of the information at the point of the incident. I eventually had to take the card and put it in the freezer to get to the rest of the images.

Mark Trent's picture

With the Raw file format I have all the data from each photo. Why accept anything less?

Harold Crowe's picture

I find a difference in sharpness and tonal quality in raw vs jpeg fine. I use it for macro shots and some landscape photos.

Mark Coons's picture

I love RAW! I was often times dismayed with my JPEG shots because I would forget to reset the WB when I changed location. Now if I forget I can save the image when I convert it.

Howard Martinez's picture

As a freelance nature and fine art photographer I shoot only in raw with my Nikon D2X. I use Nikon View and Nikon Capture to review and "tweak" my images. Those I select for use I then process in Photoshop CS2. I ahve found that the raw file format gives my the control I need over my images without losing the original data set.

Pete's picture

RAW is as good as it gets. A little more work flow but the diffrence is worth every second.

Christopher V.  Calderbank's picture

For full time work photography I use only raw. For pictures with real meaning I use raw. For family snaps and picture of this years Xmas tree I use JPG. It will still be there in 20 years time or longer. it will never need to be blown up or anything. My work photography will be used in a catalogue, maybe a bill board, maybe on the web, maybe in a fly adverstisement. probably all of the above. RAW KEEPS ME FLEXIBLE AND NOTHING GET NEAR TO IT, It also keeps it smaller than tiff's which take up too much space. EPS is good much smaller bit for some reson the world preers big tiff's, RAW WINS IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

Stacy Loy's picture

It is too much trouble because I have to purchase a separate program to work with RAW for my Nikon - and it is too expensive for a hobbyist, like myself.

Don Dement's picture

I archive the RAWs on CDs as fundamental backups; use high-quality JPG if there are no serious adjustments necessary; process RAWs if there are.

Hal Muhrlein's picture

I use the jpeg to have 4X6 proofs printed at Costco. I like raw for the flexability it provides when editing images.

George Braun's picture

Started shooting RAW + JPEG, now RAW only. Made the mistake of once shootin JPEG only. A good RAW convertor is easier to use than PS, so why not shoot RAW?

Dennis Walton's picture

Comparing images shot on my recent trip to Tibet has comvinced me to shoot only RAW from now on. You have so much more control on the processing.

Ted Wade's picture

It's possible to do so much more with RAW images when they're being processed.

B.M.  Schletty's picture

I find, using my Nikon CP 8700, JPEG works great for almost any situation. However, when doing time-lapse or 'bulb' nighttime photography, I prefer RAW. I have also found that RAW works better when shooting in high-altitude situations, i.e., 20,000 feet or higher, as it seems easier to tweak the intense blues/blacks encountered while flying at extreme altitudes.

Donald Garland's picture

Different jobs call for different solutions. I want a digital negative (raw file) on file for everything that I shoot, but there are plenty of times when a jpeg is all that's needed for the immediate assignment. Might as well capture both formats at the same time.

Robert Hooper's picture

I shoot so many images that I just don't have the time to process Raw files. Besides, every manufacturer has their own Raw file format that not all software processes equally. JPEG is easy and universal.

Lurdys Gordon's picture

The format I use depends on the end product. For my high end portraits and product work, I use Raw files only. For my low end portrait and event work, I use jpeg because I don't spend the same amount of time on the images to retouch, enhance, etc.

Susannah Sofaer Kramer's picture

On the rare occasions when I shoot jpg's I always regret it as I am a former darkroom addict and really like to be able to control every aspect of my image.

J.  Talvan's picture

I shot RAW exclusivley. Better safe than sorry. To an extent you can double expose a RAW file almost to the point of the same exposure lattitude as film. I batch process all my RAW files to JPEG and then look at those to see which ones I want to spend a little time massaging.

Cecil Webb's picture

Use jpgs for preview & edit only.

D.  Fulks's picture

If I'm shooting more than snapshots (ie. intending to make framable photos)then I find RAW is the way to go. Otherwise high quality JPEGs are usually sufficient. Really like DXO Pro for the RAW conversion. Only problem is that I need a much faster computer to do all of the "processing" work.

Joel P Black's picture

Raw is the only way to go unless you must send images shortly after shooting them. In that case consider shooting both raw and jpg. Raw file give great controll and better final images.

Harvey Morgan, II's picture

Raw is the best, just as doing it your self in the darkroom used to be the best. (at least for black and white)How much time I will have to fuss with things is sometimes a factor in deciding on a file type. For fast action I can't use raw and jpeg as the write speed is too slow.

R.  Redd's picture

Raw format adds no new difficulty. Even on my Linux computer, which does not run the camera maker's supplied software, there is open source software to process the images.

Gary M.  Simmons's picture

While it is certainly true, best shot first time. If not then I believe that raw can be a friend! What happens when one's camera doesn't always shoot the perfect exposure? Do you just ditch it?