Is it worth the effort?

This is the question I’m asked most. Now the answer, in my opinion, is a very definite yes, but the answer most people want to hear is no, there’s no difference. JPEGs straight from the camera are just so much easier, it would be great if they also provided the best quality results, but they don’t. 

Shooting RAW means better results - It’s as simple as that.

Look at the 100% crops below - same camera, same everything - but one was processed from RAW. The argument against RAW is that the difference isn’t noticeable in a small print. Fair enough in terms of sharpness at A5 or smaller it would be hard to tell, but if you take your best picture ever as a JPEG there’s no way to get that quality back. The in camera processing and sharpening are permanent - there’s no undo - whereas if you shoot RAW you can just batch process everything straight through to JPEG if you want, but, for that one really special picture, you have the equivalent of a negative which you can go back to anytime and get the very best out of it - even years later. Seems like a better plan to me. Processing  RAW files takes time, but with good software it can be painless and fast.

 A simple test - Try this with your own camera.

Full frame - Nikon D70 at 200 ISO

Full frame house02

To me there’s no question it’s worth the extra work. The difference varies from camera to camera but I’ve yet to try one where the difference wasn’t this sort of level or more.  Why pay hundreds of pounds for great lenses and then throw it away by shooting JPEGs? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Why Shoot RAW?

Full size 100% crops

D70 basic JPEG crop

Nikon D70 JPEG

D70 ACR crop

Nikon D70 RAW

© David Gold
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