JPEG OR RAW?
Modern digital cameras record picture information in the standard JPEG format and theres a lot of advantages that come along with JPEG. JPEG images can be read by any computer, phone, or tablet. Its also easy to share JPEG with others through various means such as email. However, shooting in JPEG can often be limiting, while shooting your photos in RAW can open up an incredible amount of possibilities in your post production workflow. RAW is essentially an uncompressed file recorded directly off of your camera’s imaging sensor. Raw files are proprietary to your cameras make and model, and because they're uncompressed, the files can be many times larger than JPEG or even TIFF files. So why take on all that extra data? Why shoot in an uncompressed format?
1. Starting with the highest possible quality image file can yield the highest possible quality edit.
2. All of that extra data makes it much easier to adjust your exposure by many stops, you can recover highlights, open up shadow detail, and more precisely customize your white balance.
3. Sharpening unsharpened images and noise reduction can go so much further in a RAW workflow.
4. Its easier smoothing artifacting and banding in RAW post production.
5. RAW files are future proof. Photo aesthetics and editing techniques are constantly changing. By shooting uncompressed, you are able to go back and update old photos in the future. You always have the option of returning to edit again later with improved software.
These are some benefits to a RAW workflow. In summation, due to a lack of compression, RAW files are a lot bigger than their JPEG counterparts. However, theres a huge amount of breathing room in your post production as opposed to with JPEG where you are more restricted in terms of editing and quality. Keep in mind that since RAW files are quite large, size is an important factor to consider when choosing your memory cards or storage solution, should you decide to shoot in RAW.