Did you know that when you take a JPEG image on your digital camera it is instantly compressed? JPEG is a lossy format, which means that image information is discarded in order to reduce the file size. The smaller the file size, the more information is discarded. This means that from the instant you have taken your image you have already lost information.
Shooting in RAW is a way to get around this. It will give you your image in an unprocessed state – like a digital negative. It allows you to do all the image processing for yourself – you will have all of the information that you need, letting you produce the image that you desire. But there are a few downsides to shooting in RAW:
Most of these problems, however, are easy to get around. Memory is relatively cheap these days so having a number of memory cards on hand can let you snap your RAW shots all day. And more and more jobbing photographers have laptops at the ready to process photographic information straight away.
If you are taking shots and doing a lot of processing then you should definitely shoot in RAW. Of course, if you’re going to shoot a 100 meter race you might need to stick to JPEG for that shoot.
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