I used to spend hours and hours in the dark trying to get the very best prints from my negatives. Seems a long time ago now. Over the last few years my world has gone digital. Now my darkroom is my PC and rather than smelly chemicals, which I don’t miss, I now process my images with RAW conversion software.
Like most pro’s I shoot RAW all the time with my Canon, Nikon or Fuji digital SLR cameras. Why RAW rather than JPEGs? Simple - It’s better. In the old days I used to spend hours shading and dodging prints in the darkroom just to get that 1% better result, now shooting RAW gives me that edge - and I’d say the gain is more like 10%. Camera RAW to give it it’s proper name stores all the information from a camera’s sensor All of it. If you’ve set your camera to JPEG it takes that information and processes it instantaneously from a 12 bit unsharpened file to an 8 bit sharpened and more contrasty JPEG. Every step in that process reduces the amount of detail stored. The process is final and can’t be undone. RAW gives you a digital negative from which you can create a far better JPEG or better still a TIF. Rather than the camera making a guess as to what you wanted, why not control the process yourself - on screen - and get exactly the result you think is correct? If you are in pursuit of the very best image quality from your digital SLR camera - whatever the maker -
Camera RAW is the way to go!