Shoot in RAW?
One distinct advantage in using RAW is the high degree of control
that one retains over the captured image.
Having made the decision about ISO,
aperture and shutter speed combination other 'in-camera variables' at the time
of shooting remain under our control.
Once having captured a scene in RAW one
has the ability to virtually revisit the scene and make changes to the camera
settings, these include:
Changes made at the RAW editing stage retain quality as they
are not 'destructive' to pixels. Once the image is opened within Photoshop, the
original RAW file itself remains available for further editing if required. By
using RAW one retains a 'super-negative'.
about JPEG and TIFF?
When shooting in JPEG the camera processor makes decisions
based upon the amount of 'compression' required for the image. The image looses
data during this process and thus fidelity is eroded.
TIFF files are very much
larger than JPEG, the processing isn't 'lossy' but the image captured remains
'as is' without the advantages of adjustment and editing as to be found in RAW.
bit and 16 bit
Most 'serious' camera's capture a 12 bits per pixel per
channel. Unfortunately JPEG has a limit of 8 bits per channel - so a JPEG discards
around one third of the data - hardly good news for image fidelity!
An 8 bit
image will present 256 levels of greyscale (and this translates for colour into
8 bits per channel - Red, Green & Blue - to give 24 bit total - hence '24
in (RAW) - 16 bit presents some 32,000 levels of greyscale - a considerable improvement!
shot in 16 bit are therefore smoother and their integrity is greatly retained
during adjustment and editing.
there a downside to RAW?
The downside is confined to the time it takes
to write the image to the camera memory, though this is speeding up almost daily
and the consequent amount of file space the image occupies (larger than JPEG but
smaller than TIFF).
shooting speed is important as opposed to quality, then choose JPEG - you'll certainly
get your pictures - it's a matter of 'horses for courses'.
do I do?
I shoot RAW as a matter of standard routine, swapping to JPEG
only when necessary. You never know when you're going to need to squeeze that
extra amount of image quality out of a seemingly ordinary shot.