I don't know what prompted me to raise this old chestnut again but it has been on my mind again lately and I came to the conclusion that the RAW file format is there to be used so why not just use it? Why wouldn't you use it?
RAW capture offers a number of advantages over jpg when it comes to image quality and the only objections I hear are that the files are bigger and take longer to process. I admit there are times when this needs to be taken into consideration. I shoot "normal" jpg at medium quality when I shoot events for instance to speed up wireless file transmission and also printing. They are only going to be printed at 9x6 inches so the files are more than adequate.
However, for studio and wedding work why not shoot RAW all the time? Does the file size really matter with memory card prices being so reasonable? Does it really matter that the files taken longer to process?
12 or 14 bit RAW files are going to contain more dynamic range than jpgs and even if you choose to batch process the lot using your favourite RAW converter at least you can choose which part of that range to preserve rather than let your camera decide. White balance can also easily be altered before the conversion.
Ok so I used to shoot RAW plus jpg when I did a lot of media work. I used the jpgs for speed and kept the RAW files in case one or two images were needed at full resolution. I hardly ever went back to the RAW files to be honest but it was noce to know they were there if needed.
Yes, it is better to get the shot absolutely right in camera but it is still reassuring to know you have a couple of stops leeway when shooting RAW.
Shoot RAW. You know it makes sense.
Member since: 10th February 2010
Chris Martin is an award winning photographer based in Southampton (formerly based in Guildford) and is the 2009 Master Photographers Association Events Photographer of the Year.